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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
Click here for the most Recent Sightings

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To report whales please go to the Orca Network Sightings Report Page.

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 21

Today with part of J Pod and K Pod! Lovely day on the water for sure! Whales were socializing up and down the west side. - Traci Walter

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Resident Killer Whales right out front of Sooke! -Sooke Coastal Explorations

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Humpback whales out front of Sooke! - Sooke Coastal Explorations

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South of Victoria with Js and Ks, L87 and three Humpbacks. - Capt. James Maya

July 20

10:10 pm - still/again hearing Southern Resident calls on the OrcaSound hydrophones!
9:30 - still calling, and no ships now. - Orca Network

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7:30pm - SRKWs on both hydrophones now... It was Ks at the end there on LK but there were Ks in earlier lead group too...still faint calls every so often getting less audible and here comes tankers from both directions. - Alisa Lemire Brooks

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L pod heading west at Sooke (19-year old L92 Crewser is the male in the middle). - Sooke Coastal Expeditions

July 19

6:30 - 7:30pm we saw maybe up to 20 Orcas at Lime Kiln Point. - Owen Begley Collier

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Our Saturna Island Marine Research Education Society put on an event just yesterday at East Point, Saturna Island with divers from the marine life sanctuaries society etc. At about 2 p.m., as if on cue all of L-pod showed up just off the beach heading east in Tumbo channel out into Boundary Pass. We had a spectacular showing of porpoising, breaching and general cavorting and no vessels following them, it was absolutely magical. In the 33 years I have lived on Saturna, I have never before seen the southern residents in Tumbo channel......amazing. - Robert Bruce

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We had unusually high winds up north today which prevented anyone from finding Resident type Orcas this morning, although there was plenty of other wildlife to be seen. Then early this afternoon 10 Bigg's Killer Whales, Transients T137s and T124As, popped up in Rosario Strait, and ended up coming almost to Friday Harbor by this evening. - Ivan Reiff

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Maia of WA State Ferries called at 3:33 pm, relaying a report from the Capt. of the ferry Hyak, with a report of 15 orcas in Thatcher Pass heading west.

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T077A sometimes travels with another male, TO49C who has a very similar notch in his dorsal fin. When they are together, they are known as "The Twins." They spent a couple weeks in central and south Puget Sound earlier in the year. - James Gresham

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Male Transient Killer Whale, T137A breaching. He must have breached 10-15 times. They were raising havoc with the seals today. Anacortes in the background. We were real close to home. We were with them for a long time. Over 3 1/2 hrs. They must have killed 5 or 6 while we were there. We left them as they headed towards Thatcher Pass. - James Gresham

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Noon - T137s reported heading up Rosario. - Orca Network

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10:30 - Off Williamson Rock we saw transients heading down Williamson Rock to James Island where they turned around and started hanging out about a mile west of the Deception Pass bridge, just west of Deception Island for about an hour. - Capt. John Stone, Cutty Sark

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We received a call from the Port Orford, OR visitors center reporting visitors sighting orcas at Pt. Orford at 1:50 pm, heading north.

July 18

3:45 - Lotsa whales on the west side this afternoon! Ks and some Js came down from the north and met up with a large group of Ls. Word was more Js came down Rosario, too! - Monika Wieland

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We saw them breaching in front of the ferry, then got to see some (20+) of the J and K pods at Lime Kiln around 1 pm. Fantastic first shore based whale watching trip. Never heard about LK until I started following this page. Thank you! - Jen Carr DuPre

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2:15pm - orcas traveling east to west off Flint Beach/Iceberg Point, Lopez. - Sally Reeve

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Yep same group. Identified as Doublestuff, Cappucino, Princess Angeline and others. - Lisa Cope Kelly

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They had a feeding mission and were headed toward Smith Island. We were able to watch them for over an hour feeding, diving down and surfacing like this. What a blessing! It was my first time and I'm still excited. - Barb Dugin

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11:28am - They've come by Rosario Beach! Now they have turned southwest, heading past Deception Island. - Chanel Giles

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11:51 - K Pod...North of Henry Island..coming south at a verrrry fast clip!! We are heading north for even more whales! - Vickie Doyle

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9:28 am - WA State Ferries called again this morning, with the Ferry Hyak reporting several orcas just west of Anacortes/Ship Harbor, heading south.

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8:40 am - Whales chatting on Lime Kiln hydro! - James Gresham

July 17

L95 Nigel was accompanied by a Pacific White-sided dolphin for at least a half hour off the west side of San Juan Island about 5:30 pm. - Jeff Friedman

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L95 Nigel being harassed (?) by a Pacific White-sided dolphin. I've never seen lags and orcas in the same frame before. - Capt. Jim Maya

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12:00 PM - 17-20 Orcas from North Pender Island, BC. facing Swanson Channel about a half mile east of the entrance to Thieves Bay Marina. Heading east to west. Sighting lasted more than 1/12 hours. Traveling quickly but some stops to fish and play. Just a few spy hops and tail slaps near us. - Ken Plato

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WA State Ferries called to report 2 - 3 orcas sighted by the Chelan Ferry at 10:30 am, west side of Haro Strait, no direction of travel given.

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8:20 - Lime Kiln hydro. Chattering away. - James Gresham

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8:03am - Faint calls increasing at Lime Kiln on the hydrophone. Sounds like J Pod? - Jay Schilling

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8:20 - Lime Kiln hydro. Chattering away. - James Gresham

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Ks went north past the Center for Whale Research about 7:45 am. - Orca Network

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A call from Heidi reporting orcas near Sonoma, CA in Sonoma State Beach at Wright Beach, from 7:40 - 8 (did not say am or pm). She saw 1 male 200' past the breakers swimming quick & silent, with 3 surfacings, and more orcas further north, all north bound.

July 16

8:08 am - Beautiful morning of still waters and familiar sounds of members of all three pods engaged in their daily lives. For two hours a symphony of echolocation, calls, whistles on both hydrophones. So much gratitude to the Veirs and Whale Museum (and whoever else) for making it possible for us humans to listen beneath the sea where whales and other beings roam.
6:15 am...J pod...Lime Kiln...maybe Ks too. - Alisa Lemire Brooks

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4:15 pm - T60s near Mandarte Island. Out with Dave Ellifrit to photo-ID a group of five Transients, the T60s and T2B. - Howard Garrett

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Between the hours of 10:00 TO 12:00 I saw a small group of orcas at Solo Point (south of Tacoma near Nisqually). Between three to four surfaced. There was a lot of herring in the area. - Michael Cameron

July 15

J37 Hy'Shqa and her son J49 T'ilem I'nges as they scooted by the rocks at the lighthouse yesterday. I almost couldn't fit both of them in the frame they were so close! - Katie Jones

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I was on the Clipper and was first to spot them on our boat after reading updates on FB. As we got closer to Kingston, I started looking for the fishing boat and then spotted orcas in front of the boat, probably 100 yards or more away from that boat. Stephanie was great at telling us her guesses of the whales' behavior and she was right! - Monica Zaborac

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Thanks to everyone for posting reports below about what we think are a pod of about 6 Transient orcas headed north up Puget Sound. And thanks to Stephanie Raymond on the Victoria Clipper 3 for calling in a report of spotting this group (1 male, 1 young one and 4 others) at 6:45 pm, just south of Point No Point (N. Kitsap) headed north. - Orca Network

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They went deep and, did not resurface as my sight line became hazy. I stayed until sunset! They were headed north towards Admiralty Inlet, well past Useless Bay.They went deep and, did not resurface as my sight line became hazy. I stayed until sunset!
8:23 pm - Looks like maybe a kill they are going in circles lots of tail slapping!
8:13 - We saw one big boy at least and four more tail slapping and changing direction
8:02 - Spy hop and fins.
7:51 - They are trending north in front of sailboat at double bluff big male many more!!! I am at Norwegian Point (north of Pt No Pt). - Elyse Sollitto

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My Friend [Bob Dale] & Me Saw An Orca Pod Near The South East End Of Bainbridge Island at approx. 3:15 PM - at Least 1/2 Mile Away - both feeding & playing the male breached a few times & we could see a couple of calves. We could see a large male, 2 calves & possible 2 females - they made our day worth while for sure. - Michael Porter

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And more of an update from Jeff Hogan - now he believes the number of orcas to be between 6 and 10, at 2:10 pm they were approaching the Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry crossing, and seemed to be behaving more like Transients rather than Residents but they are still too far out to ID for sure.

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1:43 - They seem to be milling around quite a ways west of Alki. Heading up there now. - Trileigh Tucker

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1:38 - There are 10 to 12 near Dolphin Point on Vashon. Southbound. Two males.
12:37 - They are southbound near Dolphin Point so should be to Dilworth soon. - Amy Carey

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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales called at 12:55 pm to relay reports he'd heard of 10 - 12 or maybe 15 orcas, including 2 males off Vashon heading south. He and others are heading to the shore to try to find them - hope we have photos & IDs soon!!

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Maia of Washington State Ferries called at 12:10 pm to relay a report of 6 orcas heading south in the southbound lanes off the north end of Vashon Island in Puget Sound - anyone else see orcas out there?!

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8 am - From my friend Scott out on Hales Passage. He saw 2 orcas around 8am today in front of his house. Seemed to be eating salmon, seals were not concerned with their presence. Headed towards Tacoma. Could be with the current group by now, or still out doing their own thang! - Melissa Bird

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2:30 - A humpback reported by a whale watch boat 1.5 miles south of Eagle Point.

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2:45 - A gray whale was seen by a whale whatch boat south end of Trial Isl.

July 14

L87 Onyx breaches off the west side of San Juan Island. - Mark Malleson

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Lots of fog on the south end yesterday! The fog lifted to reveal fins everywhere!!! All 3 pods were back on the west side. - Traci Walter

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@3am this morning we awoke to loud blows echoing off the shoreline along San Juan County park. In the light if the moon we were able to spot a few dorsals cutting at a steady pass north. Hard to really see much though, leaving us with the sweet experience of just listening for over a half hour. - Susan Marie Andersson

July 13

K-Pod continued to do the west side shuffle today. Between 10:20 and 10:40 AM they went north past Lime Kiln Point State Park, got as far up as Open Bay, then turned and came back south past Lime Kiln around 12:30. They also poked their heads as far north as Lime Kiln at 8:45 PM before turning and going back south. Meanwhile, J-Pod spent the whole day up north, with the J16s coming down Boundary Pass and going back up Swanson, while the others by all accounts stayed near the mouth of the Fraser River throughout the day. While we've had residents around on almost a daily basis for the last month and a half, it's interesting to note there have been changing groups of whales here every week or so. Since they all went out west on July 8th, for instance, there's been an interesting combination of whales in inland waters. For those "keeping score", present from July 9th onward in inland waters are K-Pod (minus the K16s and K21), L87, and from J-Pod J2, the J14s, and the J16s (no J19s, typically part of "Group A" in the past). It's easy to report "Js and Ks are here", but I think it's equally interesting that we're ending up with new and different combinations of whales all the time. It's been difficult but fascinating to keep track this year as we're seeing all kinds of new groupings! - Monika Wieland, San Juan Island

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Orcas passed the south end of Lopez around 5:30pm today, cruising east to west. - Sally Reeve

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5:00 PM - 6-8 Orcas traveling east to west about 300 yards from Thieves Bay, North Pender Island, in Swanson Channel (about 9 miles NNW of San Juan Island). Too far away for good pictures. Noticed one very large dorsal fin. Moving at a good speed. Not much time for play, feeding. - Ken Plato

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Watching a humpback pass within 50 yards of the orcas (Hannah Heights, San Juan Island). Just another day in the life, right? Very cool. - Sandy Buckley

July 12

6:10 - they are on Lime Kiln hydro now.. fantastic vocals! - Traci Walter

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Had the most amazing close pass at Lime Kiln this evening. Scoter and others literally flying out of the water as they headed south against the tide, launching their entire bodies out of the water. I put my camera down and just watched and listened. - Connie Bickerton

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430 pm..Saw 2 Orcas off Lime Kiln but others said there were more..I was down on deadmans bay beach so I only got a teaser..but if you were up on the Rocks...a magnificent show. - Mandy Wegner

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Well, the T137's were at it again today. We have really noticed the curiosity these animals have shown towards boats but nothing prepared us for today!! They started hunting a seal right when we got there and didn't stop for almost an hour. We watched from a distance for a while but as the hunt went on and the seal tired, the whales ventured closer to the boat. We backed up and tried to move away but they kept coming at us. We shut down and they would let go of the seal go so it could swim towards our boat and then just as it was getting close, they would come nail it!! We could hear the seal wheezing in exhaustion and desperately trying to get to us for safety. We had to let nature take it's course and stay out of the way but WOW, what an incredible sight! - Gary Sutton

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2 pm - 10+ Pseudoorca or minke or pilot or Dall's in Dabob Bay between Pulali and Whitney Pts. Sorry I can't identify what we're seeing. Just now, a "pod" of about 10 of something I've never seen in 63 years of observing from my home between Pulali and Whitney Pts on Dabob Bay. Leaping out of the water, probably feeding on runs of Pacific herring as were the white-sided. Too far out to get good pix with cell phones or video. Feeding avidly in clusters, leaping out of water almost completely, sometimes 4 in "formation," - this went on for about 45 minutes with maybe a quarter mile movement in front of our viewing spot here at our home. Pacific herring are running now. To me fins looked most like pilot whales, but can't find any sign they occur here. - Kirie Pedersen
Possibly White-sided dolphins?

July 11

Tonight's lovely night with J's and K's off the west side of San Juan Island near Hannah Heights. In this photo, you can actually see Canada and the United States! Washington State's Olympic Peninsula are the mountains in the distance, and Discovery and Vancouver Islands, BC are in front of it. - Traci Walter

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T137s were headed North at East Point earlier today. - Josh McInnes

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There are resident Pilot Whales in Useless Bay. Saw them....- Tim Arnold
Possibly White-sided dolphins?

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Five pacific white-sided dolphins in the Hood Canal today. Watched them for a couple of hours. - Jennifer Hiner

July 10

4:40 - hearing echolocation and faint calls. - Alisa Lemire Brooks

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4:45 - Lime Kiln orcas heading south. - Sherrie Stahl

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4:26 - Js and Ks just swam by Southbound towards Lime Kiln. - John Boyd

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2:30 - Had a nice visit this morning with a Minke Whale at Lime Kiln. - Connie Bickerton

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9am - Minke cruising east to west just outside the island at Flint Beach, south end of Lopez. - Sally Reeve

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Kari and I were paddling with friends from Portland just southeast of Edwards Point, south of Lime Kiln State Park, and came across three lags. Fun encounter! They were following a rip line down the island. Later bumped into the SRKWs at Limekiln. - Doug McCutcheon

July 9

11:38 AM - Orca Show on East Point. What a wonderful Orca viewing on Saturna Island. Thanks to the Saturna local call network for sharing the news that Orcas were on there way, lots of families on Saturna were able to witness this amazing show up close off East Point rocks. A pod of about 8-15 were traveling against the tide, jumping, tail slapping and a few seemed to stick around for some feeding. - Noel Martin

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It was beautiful out by Turn Point Lighthouse, here's a photo of K26 Lobo with his kelp ribbon - it was still hanging there when we left the whales (members of all 3 pods) as they headed north. - Jill Hein

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I noticed the gray whale sighting in your last whale report. Where was that sighting? It says Juan de Fuca Strait but has no other specifics. It is not uncommon for gray whales to be out in Neah Bay at this time of year, though peak numbers are later in the summer/early fall. Although we see mom calf pairs too, those are usually a little earlier at the end of migration or stragglers in June. We saw the same mother calf pair outside of Neah Bay. I recognized the mom as the whale in the photo in your posting (the posting says it is the calf but that is definitely the adult) - she is a female we have seen in past years and have biopsy sampled. Cool sighting! - Adrianne Akmajian, Marine Mammal Technician III, Makah Fisheries Management

July 8

After hearing the residents had headed out to sea in the morning, we were quite happy to hear there was a group of Transients in Griffin Bay, in San Juan Channel. Beautiful sunny day, and we had a lovely peaceful encounter with this group of T's.....one or two males, and a calf as well. Glassy smooth water, Mt. Baker sparkling in the distance, happy passengers. It's so much fun to talk with people from all over the world, and tell them about our wonderful whales. - Bonnie Gretz, volunteer naturalist.

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The T036As off Flattop Island, Haro Strait. They were last seen heading west. - Maria Alejandra Faria

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At least 2-3 Pacific white-sided dolphin feeding in middle of Dabob Bay, Hood Canal. - Kirie Pedersen

July 7

The Southern Resident Killer Whales headed west, but we were able to see Transient (Bigg's) Killer Whales that were near Friday Harbor today! This Killer Whale seemed to try and flush the seal off the rocks, and the seal stayed put. Smart seal! Another seal later on was not so lucky. - Traci Walter

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4pm - Orcas on the phone again at Lime Kiln Park. - Christopher Porter

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3:30 pm - Orcas off of Watmough Head on Lopez. - Debbie Holtman Galbraith

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3:30 pm - Lime Kiln! - James Gresham

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3:18 - Great calls on Lime Kiln again! - Rachel Haight

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10:24 - Whales on Lime Kiln hydrophone.... - Christopher Porter

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9:20am - We've got some voices on Lime Kiln! Just a few calls every minute or so. - Danielle Vance

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8:40am - Sweet sounds of echolocation can be heard on the Lime Kiln Hydrophones right now!!! One of the sweetest sounds I've heard all summer with very little background noise! Incredible!!!! - Jay Schilling

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8:28 - Lime Kiln hydro. Very nice. No ship noise. - James Gresham

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8:05 am - calls starting up on LK. - Selena Rhodes Scofield

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9pm - several orcas travelling east to west past south Lopez Island. Almost missed seeing them as the tell-tale whale watch boats weren't around at this hour. Sally Reeve

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7:20 PM - Orcas sighted off Southwest of Rosario Beach, Northest of Smith Island. Spotted a group of four or five orcas between Rosario Beach and Smith Island. Looked to be one male and three females. They were heading southwest toward Smith Island. They appeared to be traveling at a steady rate. They did not change route or pause for antics, but rather traveled. The male was about 300 yards south of the females. The orcas were too far away to determine identities. One male and two females with one juvenile. - Chanel Giles

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This morning at 6:53 am saw at cloud of mist in the horizon. About 3 miles offshore of Seabank Road in Courtney, northern Georgia Strait. It is 7:39 am and still in the same area. Appears to be one individual (humpback?) whale crisscrossing back and forth approx a square mile. Behaviour- taking four breaths and then sounding (rolls on left side and then no more breaths for four to five minutes). Last time there were seven spouts! - Janet Russell

July 6

Orcas seen in Haro Strait ...travelling north. Taken between 2:05 to 2:20pm from the boat "La Mer." - Sherrie Stahl

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4:27 - The whales were spread out for miles along the south and west sides of San Juan Island today. We stayed with the southern group. K Pod members way outside. Had them all to ourselves and got some great close approaches by Cappucino, Opus, Sonata. Tika and Sequim. - James Gresham

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11:15 am - They are on LK. Distant. - James Gresham

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We saw resident orcas between Smugglers Cove and south to the San Juan Island County Park boat ramp today from 11:30am-1pm ish. - Michelle Borsz

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A large resting group ... my absolute favourite way to see them (maybe after a large cuddle puddle ...). 20+ fins at the surface in synchrony, it is hard to explain the stirring nature of the sight. Cuddle puddle: what happens sometimes when the whales are in big groups and being very social tactile with one another. They will just hang out, barely going anywhere and just rolling over each other and rubbing up against each other. It's beautiful!!! - Tasli Shaw

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L118 Jade breaches next to mama L55 Nugget this morning at Lime Kiln. - Monika Wieland

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9:15 - Terrific vocalizations (and echolocation) on Lime Kiln hydrophone now. orcasound.net. - Sara Hysong-Shimazu

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Anyone want to guess these ID's? 5 total...1 male, 1 young one... the rest looked female. Seen from Landbank 7/6 approximately 4:30'ish. - Cher Renke
Josh McInnes: Nice to see T060C and T060F. T060s are my favorite family.

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2:23 PM - Humpback spotted in Spieden Channel, taken from boat, "La Mer". - Sherrie Stahl

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We were sitting there watching the orca when suddenly this little Minke whale popped up at very close range. - James Gresham

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11:22 - Maia of WA State Ferries reported a minke whale near Pt. Caution, San Juan Island (2-3 miles north of Friday Harbor).

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Words can't really describe today's trip. I'm in my eighth season and this ranks as one of the best I've ever had. We chased a report of whales up by Nanaimo and was lucky enough to find them around Thetis Island. The T124A's, T137's and T077A were heading south towards Crofton. They stopped at a reef on the way and battered a seal around and then celebrated like CRAZY!! We have had a few encounters with the T137's when T137A breaks off the group and comes over to check out the boat and he did the same thing today except breached right behind us. Anyways....words can't say enough so here are some pictures. - Gary Sutton

July 5

The story of the coolest thing that happened yesterday, the only time it's happened to me anyhow! So we're heading down to these resident orcas in the morning and can see the pile of whale watch boats still a mile or so off, when we come across Onyx all by his lonesome. So we pause and watch him for a couple minutes, then slowly tiptoe out of range and pick up a little bit of speed to go join the other boats and whales ahead. I was on the back deck talking about Onyx to the only 4 passengers who were back there, because we could still see him surfacing way behind us. All of a sudden, two whales exuberantly pop up just behind and to the side, surfing the boat wake! It was J37 Hy'Shqa and J49 T'ilem I'nges. I holler at the captain to cut the engines, and he complies immediately, but as we drift to a halt, the wake continues and the orcas keep porpoising along in it. They slowed right down with us and then surfaced beside us twice as if to say, 'why'd you stop? that was fun!' Were they just playing? Or using us to catch up with the other whales ahead? T'ilem I'nges slapped his tail a couple times, and then they moved on, continuing in the same direction we had been going. Didn't get much of a photo of the surfing, of course, with a long lens on + *SURPRISE!*/too much glee to function. The boat was already shut down and drifting when this first shot was taken. - Andy Scheffler

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I just saw my first ever greeting ceremony by the southern resident killer whales. J, K, and L Pods all circling, breaching, surface vocalizing, spyhopping etc etc and all within view of our boats!! Everyone came out, shut our motors off and just watched in awe as some of the most spectacular, magical, and social behavior that we have ever seen unfolded before our eyes. Probably the best day of my life. - Heather MacIntyre

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Another EPIC day out there. EPIC, I SAY! Superpodage and all the goodness that goes along with it. J16 Slick, J36 Alki, and J42 Echo were nuzzling each other right before the great meet-up.- Katie Jones

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3:30 - dispersed orcas traveling slowly west past Flint Beach on the south end of Lopez Island. - Tom Reeve

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This afternoon starting around 1:30pm 18 - 21 orcas greeted us on the south side of San Juan Island just as we headed north into Haro Strait. Looked like orcas from J, K & L pods. I counted 3 juveniles, 1 calf, 10-12 females and 4-5 males in all. Playing and traveling spread out a bit then coming together. One female breached repeatedly, as well as one of the juveniles breached twice, once completely clearing the water. Some tail lobbing also observed. It was truly amazing as they kept appearing and coming in close as we bobbed along. An amazing sight! - Brittany Foxley

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Oh, THERE the Residents are! Members of all three pods showed up on the west side (around noon)! Here's a huge breach from K20 Spock, one of three she did in a row. Many more photo highlights later including a whale with a fish and some K-Pod close-ups. Despite the drizzle it's been a great day at Lime Kiln! At 7:15 this morning 4 transients made their way north in Haro Strait, then from noon til 1:30 members of all three Resident pods went north, then south, some of them quite close to shore. - Monika Wieland

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1:43 - OMG. And I dont say OMG that easily. Amazing pass just now- whales heading south close to shore (Hannah Heights, ~5 miles south of Lime Kiln State Park), rolling, mating, breaching, tail lobs--- water totally flat and their blows were like one of the best story board soundtracks on earth. WHAT A SATURDAY!!! - Sandy Buckley

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12:17pm - calls on Lk under the boat noise. - Selena Rhodes Scofield

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Transients eastbound at Constance Bank. - Josh McInnes

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My first glimpse of the water this morning including this tall dorsal fin in the distance! I thought at first it must be residents off of Lime Kiln, but instead it was a family group of transients making their way north in Haro Strait. I was out there for a few hours while the sunshine faded to rain, but no more orcas came by. - Monika Wieland

July 4

One of the best Fourth of July's ever! Got to spend some time with K Pod (along with some J's) on the west side of San Juan Island. These guys were spread out intermittently, doing what they do best: fishing for Chinook Salmon! The Chinook Salmon is what these whales prefer to eat, they're actually rather picky. They eat about 200-400 lbs of it per day depending on the size of the whale. The Chinook is the biggest of the salmonids out here, and is very rich in omega-3 fats. The salmon smell their way from the Pacific ocean up to their natal stream-bed. There must finally be enough Chinook in this area for K Pod to make the roughly 80 mile swim into the Salish Sea from the Pacific Ocean. Who knows how long we'll have them here for, things aren't as they used to be with the salmon population, so I'll enjoy them while there here. Happy Fourth everyone. Feel free to share- for more information on the issues facing our salmon watch Salmon Confidential. - Heather MacIntyre K26, Lobo, born in 1993. This big guy was on the move fishing today. However, he made sure to exercise his curiosity and cruise past us ever so slowly, leaving us with all with a feeling of peace and wonder. - Heather MacIntyre

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10:45 - K-Pod's back! They returned on July 2, but my first chance to see them was this morning. Here's K12 Sequim off of Lime Kiln. J-Pod group A went north early this morning, between 9 and 9:30 part of K-Pod made it up to Lime Kiln this morning, flipped and went back south. - Monika Wieland

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Orca behavior/communication. As J and K pods crossed Haro Strait yesterday they were in quiet resting pattern, swimming slowly in tight groups. As they approached San Juan Island, K pod matriarch K 12 Sequim (pronounced Squim for those not in WA), stopped and began slapping her tail forcefully. The others responded by becoming more active and spreading out into a hunting pattern as they entered the area frequented by the Chinook salmon that they feed on. I love watching the behavioral intricasies.
2:44 - J and K pods. False Bay area headed north towards Lime Kiln.
7:00 am. Whales on Lime Kiln! - James Gresham

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J and K pods were intermingled in quiet resting mode when we met them headed across Haro Strait towards San Juan Island. Identical scenario to last Saturday except last week it was J and L. Here K 26 Lobo on the left swims with a couple J girls. - James Gresham

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9:10 - loud echolocation!
6:38am - Lime Kiln started hearing faint calls over ship noise, now (6:55) loud calls. Selena posted hearing them as early as 5:17am. - Alisa Lemire Brooks

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7:23 a.m. PST - Faint calls on Lime Kiln Hydrophone. - Kara E. Clayton

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Gray Whale calf. Apparently this calf and its mother have been around between Lopez Island and Smith Island for a couple days. Baby Grays are not something seen here. I'm sure they took a detour up Juan de Fuca Strait during the northward migration. Both the mother and calf were keeping a very low profile. Swimming just under the surface and barely showing themselves. The Transient Killer Whales in this area are not Gray Whale specialists and who knows if mom even knows about them. But to get this far the calf had to survive Monterey Bay Ca where it is a very different story. A very unexpected sighting. - James Gresham

July 3

Orcas in south Haro strait everywhere! I was out with Puget Sound Express and J pod as well as K pod were having fun, eating, and moving incredibly fast. We saw them from 11:15 to 12:45. It was a sight to behold, as it always is. - Dianne Dee Iverson

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10:30 - Word from CWR is that Js and Ks are headed down San Juan Island and are probably around Eagle Point by now, and the L pod members are heading back out to sea somewhere near Race Rocks.

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9:02 AM - they seem to be getting louder, more frequent and clearer! - Debbie Stewart

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8:42 - excellent Resident orca vocals and echolocation on Lime Kiln hydrophone. - Alisa Lemire Brooks

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Humpback spotted near Sooke. - Sooke Coastal Explorations

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11:00 AM - Humpback sighting / north end of Pender Isl. Today as we were heading from Ganges back to Roche Harbor, our home port of "La Mer", we spotted a humpback whale...I was able to get off 4 shots before it dove. - Sherrie & Bob STAHL

July 2

The orcas were very spaced out, but we continued to motor north with them to Turn Point on Stuart Island. The group we were lucky enough to see were the J-16s and the J-22s. The J-16s are composed of Slick (J-16), Mike (J-26), Allki (J-36), and Echo (J-42). The J-22s are the famous "cookie clan", composed of Oreo (J-32), Doublestuff (J-34), Cookie (J-38), and Rhapsody (J-32). - Aimee, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris Whale Watching

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It took K Pod a while to return to the San Juan Island, but they finally came home and surprised us all early morning! When I first got on scene around 11:00 I didn't know what was happening! There's so many dorsal fins- this isn't just one pod, I kept thinking. I started doing the math and narrowing down individual whales. It wasn't until I saw K21, Cappuccino, with his distinct dorsal fin and saddle that I finally made the call- K Pod was definitely here. The day Islanders, whale fanatics, naturalists, etc have been waiting for this spring- summer: our first super-pod of the year! Members of all three pods were intermingled throughout the strait up the west side. However, as they started to go north, they all entered into a resting pattern and split up into smaller family pods. When I left them later that day, K Pod was slowly swimming up Swanson's Channel. What an exciting day! Everyone in K Pod was accounted for, but no new calves. I can't wait to get back out there tomorrow ... - Heather MacIntyre

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K POD IS BACK! Yesterday I zoomed out to the lighthouse because I had received word the orcas were moving north in that direction. When I scrambled out onto the rocks and looked south I could see blows everywhere. Some were a bit far out, there was lots of activity and some of the blows were way inshore! I thought to myself, "This is going to be good!" As the first group of orcas began to pass, this handsome fellow popped up. I had to re-check my camera screen to make sure I wasn't making a mistaken ID, but sure enough, it was K26 Lobo! K POD IS HERE! It was a steady parade of exuberant orcas for about 25 minutes and members of all three pods were present (we are still missing a couple of families in L pod - one of which has not made an appearance yet this summer). Really exciting stuff and I can't wait to see what today brings. - Katie Jones

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Surprise, surprise - Southern Residents seen from the Anacortes/Sidney ferry! Excited passengers headed for the outer decks as the ferry slowed down around 4:20 pm in north Haro Strait/east of Sidney Island, where Southern Residents frolicked, porpoised and spy-hopped among the white-caps. What an unexpected treat for everyone on yet another beautiful summer's day. - Sandra Pollard

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J pod went north we heard with some of K and/or L. Some members of K and L were headed south along SJI. We left them north of False Bay about 7:15. Very spread out with lots of foraging. And yes, choppy seas! - Rachel Haight

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4:00 PM - 14-16 traveling E to W in choppy seas. SW side of North Pender Island. First group of 3-4 was approximately 200 yards out, second group (8-10) was parallel to our shore line about 50 yards out. Lost sight of the final group (3-4), 300 yds east of our location but they popped up in the kelp beds 10 yards from our deck. Moving quickly with long dives and only short breaks to fish and play.They popped up within 10 yards of our shoreline in the kelp beds. - Ken Plato

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2 pm - Resident orca Superpod reported! All 3 pods per Simon Pidcock! - James Gresham

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7:55 am. Whales on Lime Kiln hydro. - James Gresham

July 1

I sat out and watched from Land Bank tonight as the orcas went South past Land Bank... Spread out up and down, as well as way far out to the middle of the straight. Center for Whale Research was out, and upon looking at my photos, Ken was onboard! So they were much closer then I, so I bet they know who was who having a little Hanky Panky.... Lots of rolling around... upside down... pectorals in the air... waving tails... I do believe I was blushing... should not have been watching! :-) - Cher Renke

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4:15 to 4:45 pm today: a large dispersed pod of orcas traveling east-to-west past Flint Beach, at the south end of Lopez Island. - Tom Reeve

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Two humpbacks were reported in Saanich Inlet (15 miles north of Victoria) Tuesday evening about 7 pm, heading south into the inlet.
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