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Sightings

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Recent whale sightings in the Salish Sea

(Puget Sound, Northwest Straits, Gulf Islands and Georgia Strait)

Sightings Summaries Archives

Sighting Report Archives
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To find viewpoints along shorelines from Deception Pass to Olympia, go to:
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The purpose of Orca Network's Whale Sighting Network and Education Project is to encourage observation and increase awareness and knowledge about the Southern Resident Community of orcas (J, K and L pods), and foster a stewardship ethic to motivate a diverse audience to take action to protect and restore these orcas' critical habitat.

The orcas' steep population decline of 20% from 1995 to 2001 is a reflection of the problems and issues facing the greater Puget Sound marine and watershed ecosystems: declining salmon runs, PCB contamination, and the effects of a rapidly increasing human population including habitat loss and resource depletion. Through a volunteer Whale Sighting Network, sightings and observations of this orca community are gathered and disseminated to researchers and volunteers, and posted on our website.

Summarized Sightings map HERE

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July 8

Humpback whales - July 8 - The Salish Sea is coming alive with Wild Life! At least a dozen humpback whales and one mom with a new calf from Sooke to the Rock Pile, Elephant Seals, Dalls Porpoise, Eagles, & seals today! -Paul Pudwell
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Gray whales - July 8 - 6:00 a.m - Good morning, had an opportunity to see the gray whale just now. Moving very slowly towards the shallows north of Jetty Island from mid channel. -Photo by Lori Christopher, July 8, 2018

July 7

Coastal killer whales - July 7 - 7:00 p.m. - Killer Whales off Coos Bay, Oregon. Tucker and I were walking the beach last night and saw killer whales! I was so excited to see them! I was able to see 6 whales, including one male. Unfortunately they were too far offshore for me to be able to get any kind of identification photos. However, they were spread out and exhibiting foraging behavior. One breach. I know there were reports of salmon in the area yesterday. Watched them forage for almost two hours. -Elizabeth Seely
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July 7 - 11:20 a.m. - single humpback travelling south (west?) between North Pender and Prevost islands (south Gulf Islands). steady travel at the surface for 3 or 4 breathes then a long dive (10 minutes +). it was being closely tracked (all at 200M) by about 6 whale watching boats. -Frank Gee
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July 7 - There was a humpback in Haro Strait near Henry island heading south about an hour ago (~4:30). Doing long 8 minute dives. -Chelsea Lope
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July 7 - 5:00 p.m. - Gray feeding at Polnell shores. Heading across to Camano Island. -Photo by Terra Parham, July 7, 2018

July 6

Southern Residents - We've gone another week without Southern Residents in inland waters, but we've heard reports over the last three days that all three pods (or at least members of Js, Ks, and Ls) have been actively foraging in the western end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Here's hoping they're finding a lot to eat, and that some of those fish start making their way to the Fraser with the whales behind them! -Monika Wieland Shields
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Bigg's killer whales - July 6 - Around 8:45 this morning we saw a small pod of Orca (at least one adult and two calves/juveniles, no adult males) on the North side of Navy Channel by Henderson Hill (in Mayne Island), Traveling east. Playing, traveling. No photos, have not seen whales in this area before. Yay! Rare to see in Navy Channel! -Katherine Littlefield
(The T124As were picked up in Plumper Sound at 10:45 so that was likely them - cool! - Monka Wieland Shields)
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July 6 - 12:25 p.m. - just northwest of Montague Harbor, mid channel in Trincomali Channel, we saw 4-5 blows and a fluke. It was too far to tell if it was one or two, or what kind. (2 humpbacks were in Trincomali -alb) Lori Patch
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July 6 - 4:00 p.m. - Gray Whale Sightings / Utsalady Bay, Camano Island (48.269428, -122.477549 +/-) : 2 Gray whales, traveling: NW, W, however they stayed in this vicinity for quite some time feeding. I assume they were feeding on the bottom; crab/shrimp, repeatedly coming to the surface and spouting. This is the first time I have seen Gray's in July. -Phil Kezele
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Unidentified whales - July 6 - 12:25 p.m. - just northwest of Montague Harbor, mid channel in Trincomali Channel, we saw 4-5 blows and a fluke. It was too far to tell if it was one or two, or what kind. -Lori Patch
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July 6 - Saw the blow multiple times last evening (6th) in Holmes Harbor north of Beverly Beach then off of Dines Point - never close enough to confirm a Humpback but that was my assumption - so amazing to see in Holmes Harbor. (Another strong possibility is one of the gray whales who are still residing in north Puget Sound -alb). -Anne Cushing
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Unidentified cetaceans - July 6 - 8:00 p.m. - Orca sighting Tacoma Narrows...It's possible that they were dolphins, unfortunately I was not able to get any pictures. They were circling not traveling in any one direction. -Robert Wormley

July 5

Another special day with humpack whales off Sooke and Race Rocks. BCX1068 Split Fluke by Secratary Island...just out front of Sooke.. -Photo by Paul Pudwell, July 5, 2018
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July 5 - 9:30 a.m - Humpback spotted feeding in the northbound shipping lane of Rosario Strait just now. West of Deception Pass about a mile or so. -Jennifer Greiner Clark
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July 5 - Possession Sound - 1845: Saratoga leaving PCFG #185 northbound on southeast Gedney. Looks like he's heading over to the delta again. -Renee Beitzel
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9:26 a.m - Still a Gray Whale near Everett, off of Jetty Island currently. Looks like the same very pale individual photographed recently. -Josh Adams

July 4

We spent July 4th with the T37As as they traveled north from Lopez Sound to San Juan Channel. They continued north along the shoreline of San Juan Island. We left them around 9pm to sail back for the fireworks. Photos enclosed of the orcas passing Friday Harbor. (Note - these orcas along with T51 were in Eastsound on Orcas Island last year). -Cheers, Barbara and David Howitt, All Aboard Sailing
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Happy 4th! We caught up with our humpback friend, "Scratchy" just west of Deception Pass, and followed him/her heading north. After a trip around Smith and Minor Islands to see puffins, California Sea lions, harbor seals (including a nursing pup!) and eagles, we spent a bit more time with the humpback, then headed back towards the marina. But wow! we got a call that there were orcas in Lopez Sound, so were able to see the lovely T37A family! Her three calves are growing up! They were in traveling mode, changing direction within the Sound. What a great way to celebrate Independence Day! -Bonnie Gretz, volunteer naturalist.
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The hot streak continues. We have had an awesome stretch of encounters lately including tonight when we had the T065A's, T175, T176s and the T124A's right in Cowichan Bay!! At one point, T065A2 breached right in front of the boat and I managed to snap this one. -Photo by Gary Sutton, July 4, 2018
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Here is our sighting today, July 4, 2018 - 2pm. Seen off E. Vancouver Island, Canada, travelling north up the Saanich Inlet, through the Satellite Channel, continuing north towards Cowichan Bay. 5 adults, including 1 male (I believe) plus 1 youth. -Marg Woolley
(Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research reviewed many of Marg's photos: "That's T175 and T65A2 in the first four frames plus others. Looks like the group included at least the T49As, T65As, T176s, and T175.")
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July 4 -...We caught up with our humpback friend, BCYUnk "Scratchy" just west of Deception Pass, and followed him/her heading north. After a trip around Smith and Minor Islands to see puffins, California Sea lions, harbor seals (including a nursing pup!) and eagles, we spent a bit more time with the humpback, then headed back towards the marina...-Bonnie Gretz, volunteer naturalist.
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July 4 - Oak Harbor area - Grey just passed my place 245 pm here on Whidbey and is headed towards Polnell Shores/Point area! Happy 4th everyone! -Marcie Barney Goldberg
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July 4 - Possession Sound - 1:40 p.m. - We found a sleepy gray whale SE of Gedney Island. Kept a low surface profile and didn't fluke but surfaced regularly every minute or so. I'm guessing it's #185 again. -Justine Buckmaster
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July 4 - 9:28 a.m - 2 dolphins heading north from the Edmonds beach, about 150 yards from shore. -Shelsea Eney

July 3

T036A1 breached 4 times in a row after the T036As and T099s had temporarily split up into two groups and each made a kill. This was right after the T099s and T036A1 had finished off a harbour seal. Strait of Georgia. -Photo by Gary Sutton, July 3, 2018
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Thanks a lot for your message. meanwhile, a new passage today, very beautiful in Active Pass. They went slowly with lots of turning around and splitting in 2 groups. The pod was either 5 or 6 strong. I assume they are also transients. Photos show the T36As and T99s. -Cheers, Yves Tiberghien, Mayne island
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July 3 - Humpback MMZ0004 off Sooke, BC. Our morning tour had the pleasure of visiting a couple humpback whales today..the first a few minutes from our docks! -Photo by Paul Pudwell, July 3, 2018
(ID by Alisa Lemire Brooks, ON)
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July 3 - 11:00 a.m - 2 humpback whales just south of Partridge Point, Whidbey Island milling, mid channel. One is Heathcliff/Dalmatian the three year old calf of BCY0160. -Bart Rulon, MV Saratoga
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July 3 - Oak Harbor area - 2:01 p.m. - The white gray (pale in color -alb) whale has returned to feed between Polnell Shores and Mariners Cove (NW of Oak Harbor, Whidbey Isl). -Terra Parham
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Photos around 2:30 pm Polnell Shores. Gray head and fluke tip! Gray whale 2018Unknown#2 fluke tip. -Photo by Greg Parham, July 3, 2018.
(ID by Alisa Lemire Brooks, ON)
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12:38 p.m. - Grey whale in Polnell Shores area moving quickly going east. -Marcie Barney Goldberg
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July 3 - Possession Sound - Howarth Park around 2:30-3:30pm ...a whale first heading north along the shore towards Everett, then headed back towards Mukilteo. I have lots of video! Facebook video at Howarth Park when whale was traveling southbound at 3:13pm. -Kirstin Mueller
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1:49 p.m. - Watched PCFG 185 come very close to shore, circle back around and head right for the Everett Pier where he surface about a third of the way in. He next surfaced minutes later on the east side of the pier and may have gone through the pilings. PCFG 185 is now heading steady eastbound back toward Harborview park area! 1:20 p.m. - I am out of cell battery but gray is right off shore east of Mukilteo Ferry dock (towards Port of Everett Pier) and right off the beach at Edgewater Beach. (This surprise gift after long walk east from the Everett pier and back with no luck relocating the gray and just as I was getting back to my car). Alisa Lemire Brooks, Orca Network
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Pacific Coast Feeding Group gray whale CRC-185 in Possession Sound off Edgewater Beach and Harborview Park, Everett. July 3, 2018.
10:45 a.m. - after making a directional change from EB to NW bound, the gray whale is now traveling consistently NW bound with some deep dives, off the west end of Harborview Park. I am going to relocate, leaving Howarth Park now.
10:20 a.m. - Gray whale appears to be done feeding now, is now on the move. Heading NE still out from Harborview Park, Everett.
9:55 a.m. - gray has been feeding & has now moved east and offshore still below Harborview Park, trending eastbound.
9:11 a.m - I found the whale to the west under stil off Harborview park as viewed from Howarth park....Is a gray whale feeding, or trying to. Seeing from distance but whale is moving around just fine engaged in typical feeding behavior inshore. -Alisa Lemire Brooks, Orca Network
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8:45 am. Still there. Maybe seeing 2 animals? Frequent sighting but too far away to ID.
8:34 a.m - I'm seeing the blows near pilings just off Harborview park in Everett. Not usually in that area. -Mary Dunlan
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7:27 a.m - [confirmed as gray whale PCFG 185) Way to close to shore/sea wall/ old wooden pilings for my comfort. Viewed for a brief moment on the Sounder Train between Everett and Seattle. Viewed between Pigeon Creek Beach and Howarth Park. Feeding and or in distress...Thanks for the quick phone call. To confirm it was definitely side-tail thrashing before a shallow dive, then the hump, then the spout. It was fairly light gray in color, though it was in the shade still and again only got a quick glimpse for a few seconds while on the train. Please let me know. I guess it's best if you don't find anything, in this case. But in the rare case that it did need help I needed to let someone know. -Ryan Ottaway Martin
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July 3 - At 8:55am, a [humpback] headed east off of North Beach, Port Townsend, toward Admiralty Inlet. It surfaced multiple times, displaying pec fin, frolicking a bit. I was on a phone call so could not grab a photo. - Annette Huenke, Port Townsend

July 2

A few members of Southern Residents way out west heading for the Pacific. Members of all three pods were present. -Photo by Paul Pudwell, July 2, 2018
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July 2 - With some reports of K pod off Tofino a couple days ago heading our way we expected to sea them soon....Well We did TODAY! Sightings were as far in as Beachy Head at 6:30 am traveling west and we caught up to them off Point No Point travelling fast with J Pod past Jordan River heading back to the open sea! Very little foraging was witnessed in the Fin Fish Closed area so hopefully they are finding the early chinook runs coming down Island. Mid teens guy J38 Cookie (born 2003). Another mid teens guy K37 Rainshadow (born 2003). Adult guy K26 Lobo (born 1993). Handsome young sprouter guy L106 (born 2005). -Paul Pudwell
(ID by Alisa Lemire Brooks, ON and by Jeanne Hyde and by Monika Wieland Shields, OBI. Members of L pod were present too. - alb)
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July 2 - Had a trifecta day on the Saratoga! Found 2 minke whales near Partridge Bank in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Then Cormorants and Steller Sea Lions on the buoy there, and then on to Smith Island where we found Tufted Puffins!! Then near Deception Island we found the T124A's, a family of appx. 8 whales. Took a trip through Deception Pass and then hit the trifecta with a gray whale! Awesome whalewatching out of Edmonds! -Janine Harles
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We're camping in Bowman Bay, and we had fun watching them hang out in front of our campsite this morning! -Doug Vavrick
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1130 - pod went north, now off Sares head (Sharpe Park, Rosario Rd, Anacortes)
1113 - pod is milling in same area just outside the west side Deception Pass.
1051 - pod is starting to drift back south close to shore. Not sure if they plan on heading into the pass or not.
1047 - orcas are outside Bowman Bay.
1030 - Pod went west under bridge. -Rachel Haight
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10:15 a.m. - just saw a pod heading west past Hoypus Point toward the Deception Pass Bridge. -Jenessa Bazzett Eelkema
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9:54 a.m - Heard reports of Transients heading North through Saratoga towards Deception Pass. Boats estimate they should be at Deception within 30 minutes or so...-Janine Harles
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July 2 - Oak Harbor area - Top side fluke of Gray Whale 2018Unknown#2. -Photo by Janine Harles, July 2, 2018
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Pec fin of Gray Whale 2018Unknown#2. -Photo by Janine Harles, July 2, 2018
(Pec ID match by Alisa Lemire Brooks, ON)
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July 2 - Saratoga Passage - At Pebble Beach (Camano Island) last night (July 2), a neighbor reported a single gray whale heading south about 8:30. -Peg Boley
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July 2 - Possession Sound - 9:20 a.m. - I saw a single robust blow just north of Everett way in the Snohomish river delta. I think that gray whale might still be around. I'm on San Juan Clipper today, and we couldn't go over to confirm, but I'm confident it was a gray. -Justine Buckmaster
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Minke whales - July 2 - Found 2 minke whales near Partridge Bank in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Then Cormorants and Steller Sea Lions on the buoy there, and then on to Smith Island where we found Tufted Puffins!...-Janine Harles, MV Saratoga

July 1

We had a good passage of a pod of 5 orcas, I believe (one photo of batch 2 shows all 5) yesterday July 1, at 115 to 145pm. A few hundred meters off Edith Point on Mayne island in the Strait of Georgia. They were very active, with much jumping, splashing and other activities. T49A, T49A5, T49A2, T49A3, T49A4, T36A1 on the right.. -Thank you, Yves Tiberghien, Mayne Island
(ID by Melisa Pinnow, CWR)
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T37As around 12:00 at Pender Island. Photo by Danielle Pennington, July 1, 2018
(IDs by Michael Colahan)
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We covered one hundred nautical miles of open water today on Pelagic with Deer Harbor Charters. Two tours that lasted four hours each. We saw three pods of Transient orcas today, small family groups of four or five that consist of a mother and her offspring. We saw one humpback whale that dove deep as we watched it from afar and several minutes later as we looked all around, it surfaced right next to the boat and surprised us all. The ships log has the bullet points of when and where. We went north and all the way around North Pender Island and saw the (reported as: T-137's but was the 37As - *see Colahan IDs below) We went out to Boiling Reef off East Point of Saturna Island and saw the T-36a's and T-49a's doing some porpoising as well as backwards resurfacing around prey. As we returned we went past Sucia Island and saw the humpback whale that decided to surface and exhale right next to us and startle everybody. Sometimes it seems they are as curious about us as we are of them. It was a clear day with some clouds that progressed from low and puffy to high and wispy around the islands, but the Olympics and the Cascades on the horizons were shrouded in clouds. The currents and the wind cast a predictable spray and it made it even more of an adventure for the guests. Both trips went very well and I think all of the guests gained a deeper understanding of nature that they are taking home with them. Mission accomplished this day. -Alex Callen
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July 1 - Puget Sound - 5:32 p.m. - Directly across from Whale Bell Park in Langley. Watching through the telescope. Close to Camano side. Trending north, but most appear to be milling. -Dori Dace
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5:10 p.m. - orcas now across near Pebble Beach stalled out for now.
5:00 p.m. - the 3 orcas that I saw closer to Sandy Pt have now headed out mid channel directly north of Langley Seawall Park; looking as though they are heading towards Camano where there are 2 whale watching boats with the others.
4:40 p.m - I see the orcas are near Sandy Point, Whidbey Island... coming north up Saratoga Passage. Spread out, some veering towards Camano, some near Sandy Point, at least close to Whidbey side. -Marilyn Armbruster
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~4:30-5:00 at Pebble Beach (Camano Isl), three orcas were feeding together, circling close together, breaching and slapping. We think they were feeding on small prey, and are wondering if they were residents? Otherwise, there has been young seals in the area. -Peg Boley
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From our house south of Sandy Point just after 4pm. 3 of them, looked like 2 adults and a baby...-Photo by Lara Nolan, July 1, 2018
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2:35 pm. - (orcas) close to Whidbey side approaching the Clinton ferry dock heading north! Seeing at least 3 blows.
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1319 - 3-4 northbound off Glendale. -Chris Boucher
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Glendale Beach, Whidbey Island T124A's...and in some cases so close to shore...I did not expect this at all, had no idea if I would even see them as it was misty rainy and last update/report they were near Possession Point. I thought I would just take Kai and go to Glendale beach and hang out just in case...-Marilyn Armburster
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So this morning was kind of crazy. Like crazy-crazy. Long story short, Dori and I ran down to Glendale Beach this morning and met up with our good friend, Marilyn, who had arrived just minutes before us. Literally seconds from getting out of the car, we had the experience of a lifetime when the T124A's came in about 10 feet from shore. The pictures speak for themselves. -Durand Dace
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Today, I was in a small boat, with my friend, Tara, and we witnessed the orcas dang near become land mammals in Clinton! Durand Dace is in this image. -Photo by Cara Hefflinger, July 1, 2018
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1306: leaving split group still heading north close to Whidbey shoreline at Possession.
1240: they've split and one group (3-4) heading up into possession sound while 2-3 others are eastbound at poessesion point.
1223 - It is the 124As again we are with them now pointed toward Possession point. -Renee Beitzel
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10:56 a.m - trying to get some photos. They are having a really good time! ...they are definitely moving north, but not with any intention. Going in all different directions milling about as they slowly travel north.
10:38 a.m - 5+ ? Orcas just north of Apple Tree Pt, Kingston. Milling about, lots of splashing, twirling, rolling, tail slapping. Moving very slowly north. Closer to Kingston side. 2 boats WAY too close to them. -Gina James Vigna
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5:34 a.m - Pod of orcas heading south of Bremerton Ferry route, appeared to be on East side of Blake Island. -Daniel Lipinski
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July 1 - Call from Marcia Bordngaray at 12:15 p.m.,, reporting one orca, probably an adult male orca, among 3 gray whales off the Cape Foulweather gift shop, near Depoe Bay, Oregon.
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July 1 - Oak Harbor area - 12:22 p.m. - Seeing the grey off Maylor's Point again today and has been hanging out in the channel on the way into Oak Harbor. The channel is busy today so please warn boaters to be on the lookout! -Beth Bunnell Hunter
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July 1 - Possession Sound - 10:55 a.m - Gray whale feeding on delta today was PCFG #185! Photo sent to Cascadia. -Renee Beitzel

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