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Sightings

100912AdmiraltyHG©Howard Garrett

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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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.

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January 21

8:00 AM - A pod of 5 Orcas sighted swimming (exiting) out of Northwest Bay, (in Georgia Strait, 20 miles NW of Nanaimo, BC) swimming towards the bay outlet (Beachcomber Regional Park). Viewed from residence at 1355 Marina Way. Unable to identify detailed unique features due to distance and with binoculars. Traveling, exiting northwest bay towards Brant Pt. (Rathtrevor Beach). -Bill Turko

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4:51 - Just north of West Seattle, unknown whale spouting under USCG protection seen from Seattle Bainbridge ferry. Direction of travel "Did not seem to be moving very fast, was pointing North very close to shore " -Jeared Thomas Lazor

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Per a friend on the 4:35 boat from Bainbridge: a gray whale breached off the bow of the boat. -Connie Bickerton

January 20

3:15 PM - Small single whale in Hood Canal today, spotted near Scenic Beach park in Seabeck headed south. Not an Orca but possibly a Grey or Humpback? Traveling fast with three or four breaths, fluke, dive and some breaching. Small boat in pursuit at a respectful distance. -Kathy Cole

January 19

Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research called after accompanying J pod +L87 down San Juan Channel and out Cattle Pass and south a couple of miles, leaving them about 12:45 headed straight for Admiralty Inlet. Full encounter and incredible photos at the Center for Whale Research HERE.

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19 January update - The transmitter on J27 switched to transmitting every other day late in the day of 17 January in order to conserve battery power. Consequently, there were no locations until late in the day on 18 January which found the whales west of the Fraser River headed south. They continued south during the night and on the morning of the 19th were heading down San Juan Channel. By that afternoon they were in the middle of the eastern end of the Strait of Juan de Juca. -Map provided by NW Fisheries Science Center

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Moving fast, 2-3 Orcas heading east SJI at Mineral Point (north tip of San Juan Island)! 3:50p.m. -Donna Radcliff

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Bill Hewitt of San Juan Island passed along this sighting to me from this morning: he saw whales near Cape San Juan in San Juan Channel and they eventually went south. Josh McInnes has identified them as the T86As and likely T90s. -Monika Wieland for Bill Hewitt

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Arrived at my fishing spot to immediately see T137 again. They will be visible from Solo Point or Anderson Island Ferry Lanes from now 1114 until they go somewhere else. Several Kayakers got showered with their cameras from this big guy. -Chris Dearth

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I am assuming this is the same animal [a gray whale] we saw at Point Wilson about 2pm. It looked fairly small, but seemed to be traveling well. It hung out in the current around Point Wilson for 30+ min too, so maybe it just likes current? -Chrissy McLean

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1:30 - Erica at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center called to report a gray whale passing the Center about 100 yards offshore, heading north toward Pt. Wilson.

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Greg Graves called to report seeing a gray whale between 9:45 and 11 am, in Portage Canal, which is a narrow waterway, about 100 yards wide, between Port Townsend Bay and Oak Bay at the south end of Marrowstone Island. The whale was almost stationary for over an hour despite a strong current. No direction of travel was known.

January 18


January 17

17 January update - On the previous update (Thursday, 15 January), J27 (and the rest of J pod) were off the northeast corner of Texada Island in the northern Strait of Georgia. By Friday morning (16 January) the whales had traveled north to just south of Campbell River. The whales then turned south such that by Saturday afternoon (17 January) the whales were off the south end of Texada Island. -Map provided by NW Fisheries Science Center

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9:18 AM - Single baby or juvenile whale sighting in front of our home this am 200 ft off shore, between Yukon Harbor and Manchester in Port Orchard across from Blake Island. The whale surfaced several times blowing, rolled to side surfacing with fin for at least 15 minutes; we've lived here 10 years, this is first whale sighting. We frequently see seal and sea lion; I am fairly certain what I saw today not either. Seal and seal lion surface frequently near our shoreline however the blowing and rolling behavior does not fit with what we normally observe. I did take pictures with my cell phone but quality is very poor. -Sandy Ringstead

January 16


January 15

15 January update - Our previous update (Monday, January 12), found J27 (and the rest of J pod) approaching the western entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The whales traveled into the open ocean, but only a short distance and for only for a brief time, before almost retracing their track back into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. By the evening of Tuesday, January 13 they were off Victoria, then traveled up Haro Strait, and by the morning of the January 14 they went through Active Pass. By this morning, January 15, they were off the northeast corner of Texada Island in the northern Strait of Georgia. -Map provided by NW Fisheries Science Center

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Jeanne Hyde spotted transients from home this morning off Bellevue Pt. somewhere around 11am and called Dave. The whales headed north and Tom and Jane Cogan kept them in sight while Dave and Jeanne scrambled for the boat. We got on them off Kellett Bluff and found the T60s and T2B milling. They later made a kill off north Kellett Bluff before heading east into Spieden Channel. Then they went around Sentinel Island, around the west tip of Spieden Island and we left them at 1445 heading east in New Channel on the north side of Spieden Island. They may have been making another kill as we were leaving the area. Other boats were still with them after we left. -Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research

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1:00 - a report of orcas at the north tip of Anderson Island heading from west to east. I wonder if these are the same ones from Fox Island earlier?? -Kim Merriman

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I am not the reporting party, but per another FB page orcas were spotted near Fox Island today around 11am. RP claimed to have a calf with them. -Clare Honn

January 14

210 pm - on the south side of Ketron been viewing them (orcas) from the boardwalk of Nisqually Wildlife refuge for about 30 mins. Around 140pm I watched orcas on the south side of Ketron from Nisqually Wildlife Refuge Boardwalk. I was very far away but they were just milling about no clear direction of travel. I watched for about 30 minutes before I had to leave. -Tracy Morris

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12:45pm-1:40pm - Went out today while at work at Nisqually Reach Nature Center. I spotted the dorsal fins of the Orcas from inside the center and immediately told everyone around me. Daniel Hull went and got his boat and then we were off. Got some great pics of the pod today it's on our facebook now, there will be more from others that are of better quality. One large male for sure was sighted along with couple of females and at least one young calf possibly? Continued to see orcas in the distance until ~3:00pm. -Betsea Antonio

January 13

5:00 UPDATE - the Orcas (at least 6) in Budd Inlet went as far south as Priest Point park. They stayed near the center of the channel and frolicked and made a kill. They then headed north - breaching, cartwheeling, head standing and then would take long dives. They just headed north past Boston Harbor and are currently heading through Dana Passage along the eastern shore.
3:00 - South Sound Orcas (approx 5) - came south through Dana Passage and very close along the eastern shore of Budd Inlet - passing Boston Harbor Marina and Burfoot Park. Some surfacing series in Gull Harbor and now continuing south. -Kim Merriman

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About 1:30. We saw 4 orcas, north side of Johnson Point, heading west towards Olympia. About 150' offshore. -Tina Davi

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We have a rare report of a group of possibly unknown transient orca visiting the Salish Sea. We received a report via Ian Roberts of a group of seven orca off of Secretary Island near Sooke BC. They were last sighted heading SW. We were sent numerous photographs not matching any IDs known. This group may belong to a rarely sighted outer coast transient group. We will release more photographs once we do a bit more digging into the IDs of these animals. -Ian Roberts - Posted by Josh McInnes

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1:40 PM - The 4 T068's came back to Tofino yesterday. They went down Tofino inlet. It looks like there was T068B with her calf (B1 or B2 ?),also T068C & T068C1. No males. My question is, did one of the calfs die? In the ID book it says there is a B1 & B2 but I only see one calf beside T068B. Do you know which one it is? It's always right beside it's mother T068B. Cruising, feeding & Spy Hopping. T068C seems to enjoy Spy Hopping! -Wayne Barnes

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2:00 PM - 3 orcas sighted off Grapeview, in upper Case Inlet, traveling, appeared be to calf, female and male. -Steve Dykstra

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7:55 AM - Pod of 5 Orca whales sighted going through Hammersley Inlet towards Shelton. Traveling - moving quickly. -Barbara Andrews

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Pacific White Sided dolphin spotted 30 yards off beach of west end of Anderson Island. Just south of Amsterdam Bay. First seen around 5pm, stuck around area until around 6pm. There were loud blows and water sprays that I've also never seen. It was popping up in random places so it was hard to even capture video. It was not alone. There was a larger one but it was in deeper water. I spotted a sea lion in the exact area of this video a few mins prior to filming it. -Ryan Johannes

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4:32 - I know it's not an orca but there is a dolphin and a seal playing in front of Anthony's and the Vashon ferry now. -Ronda Walters

January 12

On the previous update (Thursday, January 8), J27 (and the rest of J pod) were heading south in the northern Strait of Georgia. They made a beeline for Puget Sound arriving in there late Friday afternoon. Using the satellite tag location information we were able to anticipate their location on Saturday morning and readily locate them off Elliot Bay as they moved north. This allowed us to observe J50, who was with J16. We were also able to check the tag attachment on J27, which is holding as designed. In addition, we were able to collect several predation samples and fecal samples from the whales. By Sunday, the whales were off Victoria and as of this morning they had reached the western entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
NOAA NWFSC

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I spotted 3 orcas at 5:20 pm today just west (up the beach) from Puget Marina, 4181 Walnut Rd. Olympia, 98516. They were traveling southeast towards the Nisqually Reach/ River basin.
Lat - N 47 degrees 6' 44.7501" Long - W 122 degrees 47' 41.6913"
They were traveling fast, 2 out in the channel and one cut in towards Salish sea inlet - then all three converged not 100' away from me and played for a couple minutes (awesome) then headed on towards the mouth of the Nisqually River. About 20 minutes after they left me I heard seals barking from the Nisqually Reach area - never heard that before! One was definitely bigger than the other two. And the fins were small and fairly sharply pointed. Definite large white eye patches. I'm assuming they're transients? Saw 2 (I think, could have been three but definitely 2) orcas in the same strait headed the opposite direction Dec. 25th around 3:30 pm. But too far out in the channel to see any particular markings. Would love to know more about who's who and where! -Cate Montana

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10:30 AM - Sighting in Hammersly Inlet. We saw a group of four to six travel out of the inlet this morning - missed them coming in. At times there appeared to be as many as six whales, including calves. -Jana Walters

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11:11 am - Oakland bay in Shelton WA. -Linda Ellwanger

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John Gor called with a report of orcas in Hammersly Inlet (west end of south Puget Sound), headed west at about 5 knots toward Shelton, at about 8:45 am.

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Around 8:20 am we saw 2 whales in the Sooke area just off East Sooke point. I missed them coming in really close but managed to get these 2 not very good shots. Friend said it looked like one large and one small whale, maybe Mom and young. -Cedona Holly

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We encountered T11 & T11a this afternoon just west of Otter Point heading west. They were harassing an adult harbour seal for almost 2 hours whilst we were on scene. -BC Whale Tours

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7:30 AM - A pod of 4 maybe 5 orcas entered Totten Inlet. They were porpoising as they went into the inlet. One hour later they were seen exiting Totten inlet and near the point of Steamboat Island. Feeding. They were visible for about 4 minutes going into the inlet and the same coming out of the inlet an hour later. -Stephen Hicks

January 11

I came across the entire Southern Resident killer whale community in the afternoon southwest of Race Rocks. I left the lead animals at 1440 south of Sooke traveling out the Strait with the ebb current. -Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales

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Orcas hugging the southern tip of Anderson Island shortly after 2 p.m., seen from Sequalitchew Beach in DuPont. -Cara Brown Mitchell

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Spotted 5 orcas off Anderson Island today at 1:45pm.. Breaching and playing. We got video of one taking out a duck. Pretty incredible! -Cori Laukala

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9:00 AM - We saw a young orca (by itself??) playing in northern Case Inlet. Last week, we saw 2 adults between Allyn and Grapeview. -Eileen Kronquist

January 10

While prawning near Flora Island at the southern end of Hornby Island, 12.30 pm, I had the pleasure of watching a group of transients, 6 or 7 in number, including one juvenile, moving in on the 250 or so Stellers and California sealions that were either on shore or swimming in close proximity to the western side of Flora Island. From a distance of approx 250 meters offshore, the whales were spyhopping and slowly swimming back and forth. They then moved in underwater and rushed the sealions in the water in shallow water next to the Island. Pandemonium! But I didnt see a kill. Shortly afterward, 4 or so animals headed south-but two remained behind. Preparing for another rush perhaps? I was back in the area today, and there was no sign of the orcas. Hope this helps. -Bryan Allen

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4:28 - They are past Point No Point, still heading north.
3:57 - See them from Point No Point! Way out mid channel in heavy fog. The weather may not have been ideal, but I am grateful to have had the pleasure of meeting and waiting it out for members of J pod with two lovely people who were seeing orcas in the wild for the first time, and witnessing and sharing in their sheer elation. What a happy day! - at Point-NO-Point beach. -Gayle Swigart

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I LOVED that I FINALLY got to see them with my eyes and that's what was AWSOME! -Becky Newell Woodworth

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3:10 - Eglon, saw 3 very spread out, northbound trending west side of Whidbey. Very hazy visibility disappearing. -Rebecca French Gerke

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2:57 - I'm at Edmonds ferry terminal. The NOAA boat is about 2 miles NW of here. Just barely visible with naked eye. Over the last 45 minutes they have slowly been moving north from Kingston on west side of channel. -Ron Sorrell

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2:15 pm - just south of Edmonds ferry terminal...mid channel...could see baby in binos! (per friend who is there!) traveling north. -Jacki Phoenixmaui

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1:15 - The group I saw were all north of Fay Bainbridge park, heading towards Kingston Ferry lanes. -Jessica Pagan

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1:08 - watched several from Richmond Beach in between Fay Bainbridge and President Point heading north mid channel. -Sara Troyer

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1:38 - seeing them off President Pt south of Kingston, milling about.
1:00 - saw two off President Pt going north. --Joanne Graves

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1:00 - Just saw them heading north above Golden Gardens. -Alyssa Casassa

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1:00 - Laurie just left Golden Gardens and saw whales there. Unclear direction of travel. -Whitney Neugebauer

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Not 100 percent but think we may have seen J50 off Edmonds oil docks this afternoon...(look closely just before dorsal you will see small orca beside). -Toby Black

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So very sweet to meet the weeks-old baby J50 traveling with her J Pod family for probably her first time into Puget Sound. J pod came in through Admiralty Inlet and at dawn were seen around the Seattle area of Puget Sound traveling northbound. I waited for them a bit north and filmed them from Richmond Beach and Edmonds, Washington.
3:03 - we leave watching NOAA turn northwesterly as if with couple of trailers towards Admiralty. No definitive on that as visibility cruddy. We hope Point No Point peeps get to see them. Beautiful misty foggy day with that little girl and her family.
2:05 - whole bunch of us at Edmonds Marina Beach watching J50 pass northbound! The whales are very spread out across the Sound from well east and west of mid channel still traveling northbound.
1:20 - 2-3 individuals well east of mid channel northbound with NOAA. Saw couple more mid channel. Nearing Richmond Beach which is good spot for now then Kayu Kayu which is on map.
12:55 - finally seeing one on this crappy weather. With NOAA east of mid channel due west of Carkeek. -Alisa Lemire Brooks

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J50 at Kayu Kayu park. J Pod passed by Kayu Kayu Park and Edmonds Marina Beach, with J16 and J50 staying on the East side of the channel, showing off the new baby! -Janine Harles

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My family finally caught sight of them from the Edmonds Ferry Dock Public Fishing Pier around 2PM. They were closer to the Kingston side of the channel but were visible at times with the naked eye. I counted three and possibly four Orcas at once, one Harbor Seal, and one Bald Eagle. This was our first attempt to see Southern Residents and are so thrilled with the results. Very awesome (grainy) shots of new baby and presumably momma? Thanks to many for their help today. -Rae Rome

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Zoom in to see the little dorsal fin tucked on the other side of mighty dorsal fin... Seen from Edmonds Ferry Dock Public Fishing Pier. -Rae Rome

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2:05 - Two large males traveling together, and several groups of females. All still slightly south of Edmonds/ Kingston ferry lanes, heading north. -Kate Stovel

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2:04 - Watching from Edmonds, there are two just south of the Kingston ferry, on the Kitsap side. -Michelle Rau

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2:04 - Looking from Edmonds ferry terminal and can see them surfacing over by Kingston! -Sharalee Stephens

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12:52 - Now they are between Carkeek and Richmond beach I think. Way close to the Seattle side! Look for the NOAA boat- it's small like a zodiac. Two groups are there. Hard to see from BI though. -Heather Polverino

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12:50 - from Sunset Hill I can see some at outside of bay by Carkeek park. -Susan Vennerholm

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1:36 - HUUUGE male in the vicinity of the mid-channel buoy off President Point, approx 5 miles North of meadow Point. If you're on the Eastbound Kingston-Edmonds ferry right now, look south!
12:45 - I see them! Heading north mid-channel between Meadow Point and downtown Suquamish. Maybe a little closer to Suq. Side. -Ben Blankenship

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12:43 - I see them again due east of Fay Bainbridge. Quite a ways out but hard to say which side they are closer to with so much fog. 12:30 - I see them from Fay Bainbridge! They are just south of here and closer to this side. Research boat w/them. -Gayle Swigart

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11:10 - seeing orcas in Elliot Bay, mid channel. Haven't got a count yet, but it looks like NOAA is with them. Headed north. -Heather Polverino

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My friend saw them mid-channel from the Bremerton ferry at 10:30. -Alex-jon Earl

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11:00 AM - Today we saw seven orcas at the north end of Pickering Passage, Case Inlet. Feeding, Playing. tail slap, rolling over. -Scott Presnell

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10:30 AM - 5-6 Orcas in Pickering Passage near Jarrells Cove State Park. Watching the past hour. Feeding, playing and traveling, 3 were young/small. -Stephanie Bloomfield

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10:10 am - Mark at WA Fish and Wildlife called in a report of a humpback, breaching and playing off Bangor in Hood Canal.

January 9

Watching SRKWs from Point No Point. -Connie Bickerton

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12:44pm - Watching the Orcas right now. I think I saw the new baby. So exciting. They are out in front of our house on Bush Point a little north of Bush Point dock. What a sight. -Bev Wenthin

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J50 to visit Seattle. After touring Georgia Strait for the past week, J pod is now headed toward Seattle to show off its new baby, J50, to the city that was built on the shores of Puget Sound in 1852, and named in honor of the First Nations Chief Si'ahl (Seathl) who famously spoke of this beloved environment now tattered and occupied by more than 5 million people. The whales are really the First Nations to use this environment, long before the arrival of any humans, and we should respect that they are the ultimate icon of the Salish Sea web of life. Give thanks that they are still able to come visit us, and live life in such a way that future generations of both whales and humans can visit one another as they have done for thousands of years. Respect them,... they are still our iconic totem species, and the world will not forgive us if we do not care for them. - The Center for Whale Research

January 8

11:19 pm - J pod!
11:06 pm - Lots of echolocation clicks on the Orca Sound hydrophones....oooh, and my first vocal....can't tell who it is....yet... -John Boyd

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6:43 pm - Distant calls. LK hydro. -James Gresham

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6:35pm - I am hearing faint but distinct calls on Lime Kiln. -Kippi Waters

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6:18 p.m. - Starting to hear faint calls on LK. -Selena Rhodes Scofield

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K's and L's came in from the west today. Mark found them a little south of Race this afternoon. J's came south through Dodd's Narrows (just south of Nanaimo) late this afternoon. If J's keep coming we might have a super pod tomorrow. -Simon Pidcock

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K20 south east bound north of Port Angeles. I came across what looked like most of K pod and members of Lpod spread out across the Juan de Fuca south east bound. The were spread from 2 miles east of Race Rocks to within 2 miles north of Ediz Hook, Port Angeles. -Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales

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It's a girl! Orca gender identified; her mother remains a mystery. As of this afternoon, J pod, including the J16 clan, was near Nanaimo, B.C., and headed south toward the Washington border, according to Tom Cogan, who was in the vicinity. -Chris Dunagan

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On the previous update (January 5), J27 and the rest of J pod were off the northwest corner of Texada Island. They continued northwest to near Campbell River, BC, and then looped around Tuesday and yesterday in the northern Strait of Georgia before heading on a more southerly course this morning. The near real-time locations from the satellite tag allowed staff from DFO Canada to readily locate the whales yesterday and confirm that the new calf, J50, was still alive. Satellite tag map by Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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4:30 pm - Three orcas, an adult and two juveniles, were heading north in Case Inlet, seen from Harstine Island as they traveled near Heron Island. -David Berliner

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4:00 PM - 2 juveniles 100 yards off east shore of Case Inlet. 1 mile south of Herron Island, heading North. -Doug Olson

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10:15 am - We had group of 4 Orcas in front of Solo Point (east of Anderson Ialand). This was our first time seeing them in the wild. Chris Froman

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5:20 pm. - Orcas of the Southern tip of Fox Islands. They've been there a while. -Cindie Lang

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2:15pm - There were 3 or 4 orcas in Chambers Bay today. They were last seen at 2:40 PM mid-channel between Fox Island and University Place heading north pretty quickly. -Carrie Gelegonya

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2:05 - three orcas by Chambers Golf Course heading north towards Titlow Beach. -Kathy Kerber

January 7

1:00 PM - We sighted a pod of 5 to 7 Orcas in Case Inlet, east of Stretch Island. They had traveled to the north earlier in the day. When they returned to the south, they paused in this area to feed and play. They were very active in this area (including breaching a few times) for about a half hour, then continued toward Pickering Passage to the west of Harstine Island. -Jim Biermann

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This morning I saw a large circle of disturbed water and bubbles. I knew something was up. I continued to watch and remembering the day before seeing a large whalelike mammal come out of the water and splash sideways twice. About 10 minutes went by...the water was calm again....and a seal appeared in the same area. It was swimming forward looking around and suddenly a large splash and back of what I think was a whale...it obviously got the seal...and all was calm again. This was in the Sinclair Inlet. We live on Perry Ave. Port Orchard, Wa. Although I did not see white on the whale...it must have been an Orca....To me it seemed to have more of a squared off nose almost like a humpback look. But reading about whales eating seals...Must have been an Orca. -Melissa Oberlander.

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1:51 - About five orcas are by Herron Island right now, traveling south. -Nick Wenzel

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About six Orcas spotted in Case Inlet in North Bay around 11:00 AM this morning! Looked like two or three females, a few juveniles, no males. Stayed in the area for about half an hour! Very close to the shore. So cool! -Kristi Rieker

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9:00 AM - 3 Orcas in Case Inlet. At approx. 9AM we spotted at least three (3) Orcas moving slowly north about one mile south of Vaughn Bay. They surfaced briefly twice and haven't been visible to us since. -Michael Moore

January 6

Around noon - I saw a single dorsal fin of an Orca from the Purdy Spit bridge today . Someone told me they saw porpoise in the area, but what I saw was a huge dorsal fin in the air for several seconds. Lot's of fog, and I was in a moving car so that was all I saw! -Midge Patten

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Approx. 1430 - Orcas sighted north of Florence. My wife and I watched a huge pod of Orcas feeding north of Florence today. At we counted as many as twelve with several little ones. Feeding, coming completely out of the water. -Gary Songer

January 5

8:56 am - a single Orca just buzzed the kelp bed off Salmon Beach heading north towards Pt. Defiance. Moving at a very rapid pace. -Asher Beckett

January 4

Erica at the Pt. Townsend Marine Science Center called to report 2 orcas in windy Admiralty Inlet off the PTMSC at 4 pm foraging, maybe headed south.

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3:30 PM - I spotted three orca whales out in the water of Case Inlet in Allyn. There were many seals out at play today on the water and once we spotted the orcas, the seals had disappeared. I had never seen orcas out on the water here before; it was so awesome to see! The three whales surfaced for air, blew up some water and were gone. The seals were out playing and after we had spotted the orcas the seals disappeared. -Nona Nelson

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Orcas Case Inlet. We saw a pod of 5-7 orcas at the north end of Case inlet (Allyn). We watched them go up to the end of the bay then turn around and go back. There was a much larger one with the rest being noticeably smaller. They were traveling with some activity that looked like they were feeding or trying to "corral " something, but seemed unsuccessful. -Susie Ingham

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1:30 - Steve McCoy called with a fresh report of about five orcas deep in Case Inlet, between Vaughn and Stretch (Treasure) islands. At one point the orcas were within 15' of the beach, at other times breaching out in deeper water.

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12:30 PM - Orcas entering Discovery Bay. Saw four orcas heading into Discovery Bay, one large male, two females and one juvenile. Not long after saw harbor porpoises leaving the bay. -Rich Kiepke
It's not known if these were Transients/Bigg's whales or Resident orcas.

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5 orcas... 4 adults and 1 juvenile... Sighted at 9:45am from the ferry between Lopez Island and Anacortes! They were heading west toward the Lopez ferry terminal. -Jenny Jirsa
It's not known if these were Transients/Bigg's whales or Resident orcas.

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8:45 AM - 2 Orcas in sight at Boston Harbor, 100 yds south of lighthouse, 100 ft offshore, traveling. -Stephanie Smith

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My wife and I saw a pod of mammalian creatures on Sunday, Jan. 4th, approx. 4:30 PST about 1 mile north of Sea Ranch Lodge (straight out from Navigators Reach, 50 miles north of San Francisco), roughly 0.5 mile off shore. The pod was slowly swirling in an amorphous group further out to sea and southward. I would suggest our identification of these creatures as orcas is not terribly reliable-perhaps 20-30% likelihood at best. My wife and I have seen orcas in captivity (and in film ;-) and dolphins many times in the wild and captivity. We never saw a nose or side of these animals which would have provided more information (e.g., bottle nose of a dolphin or white patch of an orca). The primary reason we considered orcas is that the animals and their dorsal fins seemed too large for dolphins. The only coloration we observed was grey, however. The dorsal fins were on the large size but had a nicely defined curve to them common to dolphins and uncharacteristic (as we know it) for orcas. To us, "bottlenose" seems to be the most likely explanation, if it's plausible that so many of the individuals would be on the large size. We can not provide an accurate total count because the animals were in constant movement and never surfaced all at once. Thrice a group of 3-4 surfaced together (in close proximity to each other) and 2 or 3 surfaced over the next few seconds but in more dispersed locations. The total population was at least 6, perhaps about 8, but could even have been more. Warren Gish

January 3

Had a short but amazing encounter with transient orcas just before sunset! It was the T060's and T002B in Harney Channel (between Shaw and Orcas islands) and they ended up making a kill right off the stern! Good amount of blood in the water and some remains (looked like lungs) sank beside the boat. I could even see bits of meat in the mouths of the orcas as they swam past! Pics and GoPro footage will be posted soon! -Melisa Pinnow

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Transient Killer Whales off Sooke Today! 10 in total...This picture is just after a kill with "intestines" still dragging on fin... -Sooke Coastal Explorations

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Orca in Henderson Bay. Video by Christie Fierro. Several hours edited into a few minutes. There are breaches at 2:05, 2:40, 3:17, and 4:11 There is tail slapping at :23, 1:14, and 2:18 There were Dall's porpoises in the bay also. I am not sure if they were playing together or maybe the orca were hunting the porpoise. After studying the fins closer, I suspect this is a transient orca pod (the meat eaters). But, I am not sure. -Christie Fierro

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T068C with seal entrails draped over dorsal fin on January 3rd off of Sooke. Paul Pugwell of Sooke Explorations and I came across the T068C's in Sooke Basin west bound on January 3rd. The T077's along with T075B and T075C were a couple of miles to the south of them also traveling west. -Mark Malleson, taken under permit #MML-001

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Orcas in Thacher pass. One really small one with the male and female orcas last saturday in Thacher Pass. -Dean Vandament

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3:30 pm - We saw 6 orcas today in between Shaw and Orcas island. -Shari Kramer

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2:30 pm - Just saw this pod south of Jones Island and through Pole Pass, from Spring Point, Orcas Island. -Robert Dash

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On ferry Sealth, left Friday Harbor going to Anacortes, saw about 4 orca coming out of Upright Channel before it runs into Harney channel about 12:30. -Sherrie Stahl

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12:30pm - Spotted two dorsal fins in distance from Anacortes bound ferry between Shaw and Lopez Islands. -Debbie Hopkins

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12 Noon - We spotted a pod of orcas, north of Lopez Island, traveling north. Looked like at least 6 maybe more. Saw at least one very tall dorsal. We could not tell if they continued up east side of Orcas Isl. or between Shaw and Orcas Island. -Veronica von Allworden

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11:56 AM - We saw 3 orcas off Orcas Island, traveling. -Kristen Wright

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12 Humpback Whales. -Sooke Coastal Explorations

January 2

Mid-day J-pod turned back south - this map shows 38 hours of movements through 9:43 AM January 2, with J-pod in the central Strait of Georgia off Texada Island. For more information on the southern resident killer whale satellite tagging research effort see Southern Resident killer whale tagging. Map courtesy of Robin Baird, Cascadia Research.

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1:45 - With binos they be seen from Solo Point (about two miles north of Nisqually Reach).
1:36 - They're following the gray boat and were porpoising at one point. Off the south end of Anderson now, heading west. I'm at Solo Point.
1:33 - They're now following the gray boat that's heading southwest along the south side of Anderson.
1:30 - They're off the east side of Anderson Island. Just playing around, no specific direction of travel. -Jessica Pagan

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12:42 - This in from Bob on Anderson Island. "Whales just sighted from the Anderson Island Ferry at noon looking west towards Eagle Island close to the north end of Anderson Island and the south end of McNeil Island." So they headed north and hung a west and are between Anderson and McNeil.

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10:52 - Orcas off Anderson Island between the ferry lanes and Ket. Island. 1 male, 1 juvenile and 1 or 2 females. (updated edit-Looked like they were heading north, slow possibly foraging). -Elizabeth Get Kraken Swanser

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Jeanette Leah reports seeing two orcas between Blake island and Southworth ferry heading toward Manchester around 9:45. They were moving quick, on a mission!

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Cape Meares, OR, Park Ranger Travis Corby reports seeing a pod of one adult male and two smaller orcas two hundred yards off the cape between noon and 1:30 pm today, heading north toward Tillamook Bay, OR. Park visitors had reported seeing more orcas - possibly up to 10 earlier in the day, and seals and sea lions were all on the rocks. He said the visitors reported the orcas were attacking a crab pots - I asked if they were doing that by tail lobbing the crab pot buoy and he said yes. This is incredible, as we've just had two reports of that happening with Transients in Puget Sound this past week - but something we have never seen or heard of before - interesting! Anyone else out there remember seeing Transients (or Residents?) attacking crab pots in the past?

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After the above report was posted on the Orca Network facebook page this report of the same encounter appeared: Chris Fisher Hill I was there watching the greys at Cape Meares and first spotted the Orcas today. At first they were in the inlet towards the rocks with the seals. They lingered for almost half an hour working their way around the lighthouse point and off to the north. some seemed to be working in circles possibly fishing. I watched one throw, roll, slap etc the crab pot. There were at least 10. What a sighting of a lifetime. I still can't believe it. Oh yeah and they grey whales were abundant too!
A possible explanation: It is not uncommon that crab pot bait attracts swarms of mysiids and other zooplankton, which sometimes attracts fish. Perhaps the orca are trying to stun fish associated with the pot or buoy.
Bruce Mate, Director, Marine Mammal Institute
Oregon State University


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BCZ0180 "Heather" was tail lobbing in the Juan de Fuca. I have seen over 10 different humpback whales in the Juan de Fuca Strait since December 28th. -Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales

January 1

KING 5 - Our Facebook friend Elliot and his dad captured this amazing video of a group of orcas in the South Sound on New Year's day. Elliot tells us he was a bit worried the animals might flip the boat, but they seemed very friendly.

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Early on January 1, J27 was off Savary Island in the northern Strait of Georgia - this map shows movements from about 2 AM on December 31st through about 6 AM January 1. See Southern Resident killer whale tagging. Map courtesy of Robin Baird, Cascadia Research.

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Transient orca T137s and T036Bs were once again sighted in Puget Sound. They were sighted harassing sea birds and to have peacefully approached a paddle boarder. They were sighted in Hale Passage on the north side of Fox Island and heading east. Big thanks to Kim Merriman, Kelly Burns Keenan, and Belan Bilgic Schneider.

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Whales were at Anderson Island ferry dock this afternoon, seen from a couple miles away at Steilacoom ferry dock. -James Gresham

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2:54pm - They appear to be south of the ferry landing on Anderson Island. -Daniel Szekely

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12:44 - Viewed from Chambers Bay. Three orcas playing! -Brandie Hassing

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12:42 - Orcas on the East side of Fox Island, heading South towards McNeil, on the Fox Island side of the sound. -Don Gaines

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12:41 - They are just passing by between Fox Island and Sunset beach! So awesome to see!!! -Sue Gaines

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12:36 - I saw the pod from the southern most point on Pt. Fosdick in Gig Harbor. They were hanging out in the middle of the Sound between the Fox Island Dock (east side of the island) and University Place/ Chambers Bay. -Dan Ratkus

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12:25 - moving south hugging Fox island breaching and playing!!! -Erica Leuty

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1218 - moving south towards Chambers Bay. Closer to Fox Island. 1210 - seeing from Titlow Beach looking towards Fox Island. Mid channel. Keep changing directions. -Jennifer McKee-johnson

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12:12 - Seeing now from Narrows Park. -Russ McPhee

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Taken as they were in Hale Passage, north side of Fox Island heading east towards Tacoma, still in narrows passage south of the bridges. -Anita Asmussen

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Just taken as they head out to the narrows channel south of the bridges. Still in channel! -Anita Asmussen

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12:19 - close to the Tacoma side south of Narrows trending south. Still harassing the paddleboarder!
12:12 - now they have turned and are heading south. Giving a paddle boarder a good scare!!
12:06 - they are directly off Pt. Fosdick...milling possibly feeding. One boat following way too close. Trending towards the Narrows now, mid channel.
11:51 - off Pt. Fosdick possibly mid channel. Hard to tell from Hales Passage, just saw a breach.
11:50 - They are right off Pt. Fosdick now. Near a sail boat.
11:45 - I'm on Wollochet, looking into Hales Passage. Can see blows right off Point Fosdick. Can not tell direction of travel. -Melissa Bird

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11:01 - Now on north side of Fox Island just going past the yacht club headed west in Hale Passage between Fox Island and Point Fosdick/Wollochet, headed west but one turned around and headed east towards to Tacoma. -Anita Asmussen

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10:56 - visible from Narrows. My brother spotted them! Seemed to be heading north, but because we were driving, I can't be certain. -Jessica Pagan

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10.30 - off far end of Fox Island..no direction. -Jennie Sheridan

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A pod of 3-4 orcas surfaced, easily seen from ferry just about 2 miles from Steilacom dock en route to Anderson Island, and again on the way back from Anderson Island. -Carol Harkness

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10:45 - they are heading north towards Narrows closer to Fox Island side. 10:08 - mid channel between Fox and McNeil.. No direction yet. -Jill Clogston

Click Map to enlarge

Orca Network's Sighting Network Map
Map © 2013 used with permission by
Advanced Satellite Productions, Inc.


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