August 2009 Whale Sightings

August 31, 2009

While at anchor on the east side of Eagle Island WA (near Olympia), we had a FANTASTIC up-close-and-personal show by 4 Orcas around 5:00pm to 5:30pm. All orcas certainly looked healthy. We think one in the group looked smaller than the other three. We observed what we think was feeding as the seals are certainly abundant on the island. We watched as they dove as a group, and at times, only one orca jumping at a time, but always re-grouping !!!! ABSOLUTELY fascinating !!!!!! They continued to swim south through Balch Passage towards Dana Point. We hope this information is helpful. We feel so very, very lucky to have observed these beautiful creatures !!!
Sue and Jon Duncan
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3 orcas were observed between Gig Harbor and Vashon Island WA (47 deg 21' 23" N , 122 deg 32' 23"W), about 1:30 pm. They were traveling south, feeding.
Casey Coffman
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A great treat today around 4:30 to watch from our shoreline about 25 orcas head east through Active Pass. They were moving in small groups of 2 - 5, very spread out. Some tail slaps, body rolls, and breaches. Some big splashing about in some kelp beds. Sideways swimming under the water just in front of us. J pod?
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island, BC
From Karoline's photos, we have ID'd members of both J and L pods - sb
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I have to say the Grey whales off of Jetty Island (Everett WA) must be quite happy to be there. We sailed up to Fort Flagler and saw them again in the shallows next to the day shape off of Jetty Island.
Doug Barlow
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5 Transient Orcas were at the south end of Vashon Island. It looks like others saw them. A small rental boat from Pt. Defiance was following them.
Bryan Owens, Tacoma Wa.
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With so many salmon in the area, it's no surprise that the whales don't seem to be in a hurry to go away. Today we started the day on the west side with sunny skies, while the eastern side of San Juan and the Strait of Juan de Fuca were pretty socked in with fog. I watched from shore as purse seiner after purse seiner plied the west side of San Juan in search of salmon. But they had plenty of competition as whales from J Pod, K Pod, and L Pod worked the same currents as the fishermen. By afternoon, it was time for us to leave the dock, and we had a choice of seeing the L2s and L12s down at Hannah Heights, or go north towards Turn Point and see Js, Ks and the rest of Ls. No brainer to me--so off we went up north. The whales were traveling a bit more slowly at this point, so it gave me plenty of time to talk about orca life histories, feeding patterns, and of course the guidelines. Soon the first whales were close enough to ID, and it was none other than K21 Cappucino and K40 Raggedy. Soon there were dozens of dorsal fins at the surface as the first half of J Pod swam by. J1 Ruffles in close attendance to mom J2 Granny. J30 Riptide playing with his family. J22 Oreo and her sprouting son J34 Double Stuff. It was great to see the family close together and rolling around on top of each other, swimming upside down, tail slapping. Soon a spyhop had our passengers oohing and ahhing, a perfect segueway to what the behavior was and why we think they do it. As Ruffles came to the surface again, someone asked about him breaching, and I said I had only seen him breach 4 times in the last 13 years. Well, he must have heard me and thought it was time for number 5, as he breached right after the comment!
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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J, K, and some L pod members were all traveling together this afternoon! Somewhat of a superpod. (Other members of L pod were at the south end of San Juan Island today). They had been moving along to the north, when we arrived in Swanson Channel, a waterway in the Gulf Islands they were just slowing down and gathering together. We watched a big group with lots of whales all busy socializing! Amongst the group were J26, J33, 2 year-old J42, J19 & calf J41, L72, K12, K22 along with many others. Somewhat of a little happy hour - lots of activity at the surface: tail slaps, rolling over, pec slaps, half breaches, cartwheels. It was awesome.
Jaclyn Van Bourgondien, naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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11:15 am - Hearing calls on Lime Kiln Hydrophones.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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Loud clear calls and echolocation from Lime Kiln - I began hearing at 10:48 a.m..
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo, FL
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We watched orcas off Hannah Heights from 9:30 - 10:45 am, spread out & foraging with a few direction changes, but heading north through the fishing fleet. Through photos & confirmation from the Ctr. for Whale Research, we found it was Js, Ks & part of L's in this first group. At 11:40 am, another smaller pod passed by heading north, later ID'd as the L12s. From 2 - 3:30 pm, small pods of orcas came by heading south (L12s & L2s), some closer in and some quite far out. At 5 pm, we watched the smaller pods pass by again heading north, most of them further offshore. What a treat to get to have a few quiet days on San Juan Island watching the whales go by!
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Amy Carey of Vashon Island called Orca Network at 11:30 am to relay a report she had heard of 3 orcas near Talequa. She headed out to find them, calling back at noon to report observing 4 - 6 Transient orcas just off Camp Sealth, coming up Colvos Passage. At 2 pm they were off the south end of Vashon Island - she watched them off the Lisa Beula area as they went back & forth between Vashon & the Kitsap Peninsula, then head south on the Kitsap side. At 2:24 pm she was watching from S. Vashon Island as they headed south on the far Kitsap side, out of sight.
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We just (12:50) got a call from D. James of Olympia area who is watching four killer whales travel east from Eld Inlet into Dana Passage. The whales were porpoising and diving, and there were salmon leaping in the general area.
Annie Douglas, Cascadia Research, Olympia

August 30, 2009

There were some incredible vocalizations today. The orcas must have been close to the lighthouse as they were quite loud.
Carole May, Bellingham
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0157 PDT - Orca at Lime Kilm hydrophones.
Lon Brocklehurst
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11:34 am - Starting to hear calls on lime Kiln Hps. 11:52 - Calls starting to get louder and possilby closer. Sounds like some S1 calls.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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Orcas spread out south of Hannah Heights at 3:45 pm. We thought they were headed our way, but they headed south. We also observed many Harbor and Dall's porpoise off Hannah Heights all three days we were on SJI (8/30 & 31 & 9/1).
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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We were out on the water just outside Shilshole marina in Seattle and we saw marine mammals I could not identify. They were small- much smaller than orcas- (more like the size of belugas), dark in color, and they had a small "nubbin" on their backs rather than a true fin. We saw a tail at one point so we knew they weren't seals rolling around in the water. We saw them multiple times out in the water past the marina, and off the coast of Discovery park. Do you know what they were? I have been searching online for fin identification photos to figure this out, but have been unable to solve the mystery. I studied whale phonations in college so I do have some knowledge, but this has me stumped!
Erica Vanaja
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There were I15s in Johnstone Strait. At noon, they were moving from the bight to West Cracroft Island. We've also seen a large group of dolphins, around Kelsey bay.
Florent Nicolas

August 29, 2009

I don't know if it was the early evening light or if this was the most beautiful Minke Whale on the planet - but anyway, a Minke surfaced three times off Marrowstone Point about 75 yards out last night about 6 p.m. Absolutely magnificent animal. Its back was so sleek and unmarked and the dorsal was so tall and curved, elegantly. The second time up it showed a lot of its face too. Crisp white along the throat. Lots of sandlance and herring around for them now!
Ron Hirschi, Marrowstone Island
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I first saw this Humpback Whale in Monterey Bay CA last year; this year she's back with a calf! Thought you might be interested due to the marks on her flukes that I assume are from Orca teeth. We don't hear about much interaction between these two species in this area, so I don't know whether it was our local transients or some that she met between here and her breeding grounds in Central America.
Steve Johnston, Senior Guest Experience Trainer, Monterey Bay Aquarium
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I listened to Southern Residents on the Lime Kiln Hydrophones from 11:30 am to just after 12:30 pm. I never heard anything on the OrcaSound hydrophone further north, and heard the whales were heading south.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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1100 am -- Lime Kilm hydrophone, hearing Orca calls. 1245 .
RoboLON
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John McKenzie called Orca Network to report 4 orcas just outside of Sequim Bay today at 1420. He was kayaking, and the whales circled the kayaks for about 20 minutes, appearing to be feeding, then headed east toward Discovery Bay.
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T14 was in Campbell River, he spent some time next to the shore. Transients are here.
Florent Nicolas
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Mac LaMay of Whidbey Island called to report one Gray whale between Hat/Gedney Island and Everett, in about 15' of water at 2:20 pm. It appeared to be feeding.

August 28, 2009

K-Pod spread from Eagle Point out over Salmon Bank, slowly foraging individually and in groups of 2 to 4, from about 2:30 to 3:30pm. With slack flood tide the whales seem to be meandering back and forth, first heading northwest, then southeast, as they swept the area on long dives, almost synchronizing their surfacings. We observed K-21 Cappuccino with his older sister K-40 Raggedy not far behind. K-13 Skagit, and family K-25 Scoter, K-27 Deadhead, and K-34 Cali, stuck close together in somewhat of a resting pattern, yet taking those long dives. We were able to listen to intermittent vocalizations. Flat water, overcast skies, and the mellow whales set the tone for a relaxed trip. The rest of K-Pod was heading back toward San Juan Island.
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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A complete surprise while on our way into Vancouver via the Victoria to Vancouver Adventure crossing with Prince of Whales; Jpod was fishing near the north arm of the Fraser River around 7:30pm. Here, J27 and younger sibling J39 are showing communication and/or foraging behavior; tail slaps, pec slaps, even a breach!. You can see that Mako J39 copies what his big brother Blackberry J27 is doing and that they are a team!. It's a heart warming observation to see the two together in this way. I was thinking about them all night! A video of that event can be found here.
Maria Chantelle Tucker, Victoria B.C.
We HIGHLY RECOMMEND viewing it - it truly captures J39 learning from his older brother! sb
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Here is some news from Campbell River, few Transients (5, one big male : may be T10B)- North Quadra Island (Rock Bay - Elk Bay). Moving to the south, looking for food ! (There were also some sea lions, and Pacific white sided dolphin - small group).
Florent Nicolas
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2 nautical miles east of Providence Cove on Vancouver Is (juan de fuca) 1/8 mile off the beach at 10:30am we spotted a single large male Orca moving fast eastward. We are just completing a circumnavigation of Van Is and this is the first Orca we have seen since being on the outside. We have however seen several Humpback and Minke along the way as well as countless sealions and several large rafts of sea otters!
Pamela Benson, sv Spirit of Freedom, Homeport: Grapeview Wa

August 27, 2009

My name is David Kirner, Marine Technician and Research Vessel captain for Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. We were transiting from Port Angeles to La Push and spotted 1 sub-adult & 2 possibly 3 juvenile orcas just off Crescent Bay about 3 - 4 miles out. The sub-adult looked to be female (shorter, more rounded dorsal), while the juveniles were small enough to be this year's calves. They did not seem to be in any hurry, in tight formation, transiting in a westward direction, from approximately 7:30 - 8:00 am. The saddle patches I did notice were more gray in color rather than brilliant white.
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Orcas heard on Lime Kiln hydrophone system 2325 PDT.
Lon Brockelhurst
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All three pods were spread apart when we first saw them just south of active pass, but once they all went through the pass it was incredible to watch so many whales going through the little pass! We got spoiled with lots of breaches, slaps and spyhops.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Today had two interesting occurrences that I wanted to share. Early this morning we had all three pods spread along San Juan Island. They were rocketing up the west side amongst the many private fishing boats and the commercial fishing boats that were jockeying for position to set out their nets. Soon the lead whales were long out of sight, leaving us with members of the L2s and L12s. Two interesting observations-- this group of approximately 10 whales spent the ENTIRE DAY in a very tight group, traveling at what would be called a resting pattern. It went on for over 8 hours. They would surface for 3-5 breaths, and then down they'd go for upwards of 5 minutes. I can't recall the last time I saw an extended resting pattern like this. The second interesting occurrence was that while J Pod, K Pod and most of L Pod went up Swanson Channel and into Active Pass, the L2s and L12s actually went up Swanson Çhannel and made a sharp right into Navy Channel! I have no recollection of residents doing this for at least the last 13 years I've been on the water. They pretty much maintained the tight grouping, and once they went South into Plumper Sound (between Saturna & Pender Islands), they did 4 direction changes (during which time they spread out to about 100 yards before coalescing back together & these changes were usually preceded by a spyhop or two). For over 2 hours they were in Plumper Sound, and only the fading light and late hour forced our departure.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist & Soundwatch Volunteer
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We came across the L12s and maybe L22s today in Swanson Channel. These were the trailers, with the rest of the residents spread out to Active Pass. The orcas were closely grouped together and slowly traveling up North Pender Island with little to no apparent feeding going on.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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Orca Network received a call from Perry Edwards on board the Salt Chuck out of N. Vancouver, reporting "orcas everywhere!" heading north past west San Juan Island & spread out north of Henry Island (48 37.145; 123 12.709) at 10:50 am. It was all 3 Southern Resident pods - some headed east into Spieden and some west west of Stuart Island into Boundary Pass.
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9:26 am - Starting to hear calls on the Lime Kiln Hydrophone, S1 calls.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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I was skirting the tide flat off of Jetty Island (near Everett) and thought I would need to tack as I saw a huge wash to leeward. I could not believe it when I saw a huge [gray] whale wallowing in the very shallow water spouting. There were two separated by the shallows of the sandbar in the center of the tide flat. I hope they are OK as the tide was due to head out.
Doug Barlow

August 26, 2009

Nice to see J-Pod off of False Bay from 2:17pm to 3:25pm. J-2 Granny once again in the lead as she headed offshore toward the southwest, with J-1 Ruffles following. The rest of J-Pod were spread in a line between them and the shoreline, foraging. Not much of an ebbing tide, they seemed to circle back and we realized there were some K-Pod whales with them. Whales rolling over each other and quite a bit of tactile behavior- mating?! The first Northern Phalaropes of the season gathered at the surface too.
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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9:30 am. Minke and many porpoi slowly heading north toward Pt. Partridge ~ 1 mile out.
Al Luneman, Coupeville, Whidbey Island
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Had Transient orcas T041, T041A, T060's, T02B, T036, and T099's again today except this time all together. They were first spotted north east of Race Rocks in the morning and last seen south of Discovery Island early afternoon.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria BC
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A few residents (I believe) eastbound near Constance Bank (1800hrs). The whales carried on past headed towards the south end of San Juan Island.
Keith Provan
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We met up with members from J, K and L pods off of False Bay (W. San Juan Isl). The J pod males were there, along with either L7 "Canuck" or L77 "Matia", and as we left the area we saw K40 "Raggedy" and K21 "Cappuccino" heading east with some others. All-in-all there was quite a large number of orcas in the area.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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We found K pod off of point roberts. They were vocalizing like crazy! We had breaches, spyhops, tail slaps and lots of foraging!
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Just saw a male and a female orca just off Edith Point, Mayne Island heding east - feeding I think just off the reef there off Campbell Bay, 10 am. They were circling and diving then coming up and repeating that. for about 15 minutes then headed south past Georgeson Island.
Catherine Clarke
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8:01 am: Hearing faint calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones. 8:38 am: Very loud calls being heard on Lime Kiln hydrophones. I have heard a few clear S1 calls, assuming Jpod is passing by the lighthouse.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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Orca at Lime Kiln hydrophones 7:40 am. Ship noise 7 to 9 (-20db to -30db). I am still hearing Orcas @ 0800. They are comming - Sea noise 3 @ -63db high.
Robo @ LAB-core

August 25, 2009

We were on a charter with Deer Harbor Charters. The vessel was trying hard to catch up to a 'resident' pod that was reported to be between Patos Island and Point Roberts and heading north. Around 15:00 a 'blow' was sighted to the west (and appeared heading south) and the vessel headed toward it. The whale pod, identified by Natalie as a transient pod of about 3 or 4 whales, ended up north of the vessel, and was actually heading east (ultimately along the north shore of Patos). The pod seemed like they followed or chased something into a slight 'cove' formed by a 'hook' peninsula on the north shore of Patos (the whales were heading east into the 'mouth' of the 'cove'). They lingered and swam around there for a while.
Jim Kasper
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I left the T19s between Matia and Sucia Islands, headed toward Sucia, this evening at 6:30.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island
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Had the T060's with T02B, and T41's in the morning heading west off of Sooke. In the afternoon had the T099's with T063, T065, T065B, T036, and T031 heading west mid strait south of Race Rocks.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria BC
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K's and L's went by Saturna heading East in Boundary Pass today around noon. They headed up to Point Roberts.
Miles Ritter, Saturna Island

August 24, 2009

Dripping wet fog in the Strait of Juan de Fuca echoed the breathing of Orcas working the flooding tide from Hein Bank toward False Bay, long before we saw them! We carefully made our way off of Eagle Point and shut down from about 3:00pm to 3:30pm to listen for and watch some L-Pod whales pass through the thick marine layer that only gave limited visibility. L-72 Racer's unique saddle patch made for easy identification from a distance, as she swam in and out of the fog. Although we didn't see them, hearing J-Pod calls through the hydrophone along with the powerful exhalations of all the whales out there, gave us a glimpse into their acoustically oriented world.
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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We saw the T10 transient group in Captain Passage just off of Salt Spring Island. They were traveling quite slow and not doing anything too active but was awesome to see that massive dorsal fin of T10B.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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I have an orca report from a fishing friend who was on Marrowstone Point around 8 a.m. when he saw four orcas just off the point. Based on size, he thought it was two adults and two calves. The whales swam directly at the tip of the point where Steve and another fisherman were up to their waists, casting for salmon. Steve got out of the water on seeing bubbles close to shore, "well within casting distance" - -- which would be about sixty feet for our light gear.
Ron Hirschi, Marrowstone Island
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We have had an amazing (Northern Resident) Superpod and they are all still moving in towards Johnstone Strait. We had the A30s, the A12s, A11s with Springer, A23s, A25s, I15s, I31s, R5s, R2s, C6s, C10s and many more. Here are a couple of pics (here & above under Photo of the day)
Ellen Hartlmeier
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This morning at 11:15, I was flying back from Everett to Whidbey and saw two gray whales feeding in the shallows west of Everett. They looked like the two that have spent the summer in that area.
Veronica von Allwörden, Langley, Whidbey Island
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Residents have returned to our waterways! After 2 days in the Strait and ocean, members of the fish-eating Orca community have made their way back towards San Juan Island. One whale spyhopped twice taking a peak above the water. With the hydrophone in we were able to hear more echolocation and vocalizations. The Orcas were lost again in the fog, when we were graced with views of at least a dozen Orcas - lots of directional changes, they seemed to be fishing (we saw several salmon jump throughout the afternoon). I was able to ID J28 in the mix with several L pod members. L72 with her 5-year-old son L105 and and his uncle L95 were amongst the Orcas.
Jaclyn Van Bourgondien, naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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After receiving the below reports, Howard headed over to the west side of Whidbey to try to find the orcas. At 7:14 pm he spotted the orcas from Lagoon Pt, just south and about a mile out. He was able to see the male's fin, and a glimpse of another fin or two, but then a fog bank rolled in and they were no longer visible, so unfortunately no photos or ID's could be obtained.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Orca Network received a call from Elsa Leavitt at 6:08 pm, relaying a report form her neighbor of an orca off Bush Pt, SW Whidbey Island, heading north close to shore. She headed out to look for it, and called back at 6:49 pm saying she finally found 1 male and several other orcas about 1 mile offshore, just NW of the Bush Pt. lighthouse, heading north at a good clip.
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Orca Network received a call from Alex Desoto at 6 pm, reporting a single male orca heading north off Bush Pt, SW Whidbey Island, very close (20-30') to shore near the Bush Pt. lighthouse.

August 23, 2009

Howard was on the Anacortes/San Juan Island ferry doing naturalist talks, and at 11:30 am he saw 3 orcas including 1 adult male just north of the ferry lane in Rosario Strait, heading SW toward Lopez Island. At 1:45 pm on the trip back, he saw 4 orcas 1/4 mile SE of the Lopez ferry dock, milling close to shore. Likely Transients.
Howard Garrett & Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Orca Network received a call from Gary Lagerloef reporting seeing 4 orcas on Sunday near Thatcher Pass, Rosario Strait at 10:15 am. There were 3 adults and a calf, heading north.
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During the afternoon we came upon three different groups of Transient Orcas, one in Rosario Strait, another (the T10's) near Middle Bank and the final group near Beaumont Shoals. This final group was 7 or 8 Orcas that included 2 Calfs several females and the lone male T31! As we arrived on scene they had just made a kill, probably a Harbor Seal and then began to move South Eastward.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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We headed a few miles west of Crescent Beach (Port Angeles) after receiving reports that a Gray Whale had been sighted nearby. As we arrived on scene we could see the Whale was feeding on the bottom and coming up regularly. At first it was moving backward and forward but then after about 15 minutes began to travel in a westerly direction.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching

August 22, 2009

Our vessel Fastcat was a couple of miles south of Discovery Island when we suddenly received word from another boat that they had spotted Orcas. When we arrived on scene and one of the Orcas was identified as T63 "Chainsaw" plus T-41, T-41A along with a couple more Orcas. The Orcas moved to Seabird Point off Discovery and then began to travel West towards Victoria. They passed right by Victoria Harbor and we left the Orcas at the end of our evening trip hunting near Haystock Island.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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Saturday at 10 AM the residents were heading west past Jordan River (S. Vancouver Island).
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce
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J-pod was heading west just after the tide turned to flood against them, and they struggled mightily against the current. I set myself up on a rock as far into Boundary Pass as is possible here, right were a tidal rip occurs and the orcas habitually come very close to the shore travelling along the kelp beds. They are just right there -- you can practically touch them!
Miles Ritter, Saturna Island.
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Have you received any information on 4 Orcas off Haystock Islets, Parry Bay area, Metchosin BC (SW Vancouver Island), after 7:30PM. The large male I can't ID from Transient catalogue, or Resident info.
Suze Bowen, Metchosin
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Transient orcas T063, T065, T065B, T041, and T041A were first spotted off of Discovery Island this afternoon heading west.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria B.C.
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Orca Network received a report of a gray whale observed off the east side of Hat/Gedney Island near Everett, WA, from an unidentified caller.

August 21, 2009

Approx 25 Orcas were off Pt. Roberts at 0915 heading south. Some were breaching and some just 25 feet off the beach.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce
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Humpback whales are being seen almost daily now off the Victoria Harbour, certainly all this week they have been reported. We saw three ambling around in large circles Weds August 19th on the 3.30 pm Ocean Magic trip. One or two others have been seen south of Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. Great to see these wonderful 'gentle -giants' back in these waters on a regular basis once again.
Marie O'Shaughnessy,Orca-Magic, Prince Of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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4:30 pm - Lone minke whale just north of Ebey's Landing (west/central Whidbey Island) slowly heading north ~ 1/2 mile out.
Al Luneman, Coupeville, Whidbey Island
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Orca calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone right now! 7:44 pm.
Darrell Johnson
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We were out fishing today around 2:30 near Mosquito Pass a mile or so south off NW side of SJ island and a huge pod came by - what an amazing site and sound, they were very active and the salmon were jumping everywhere!
Keith & Noelle Morris, Manchester, Wa
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Between 12:45 and 1:00pm, about 18 orcas passed East Point, Saturna Island in Boundary Pass heading west. All the whales that I could ID were members of J-pod. They arrived at Boiling Reef just at the beginning of flood tide, and by the time they were just north of Skipjack Island, the current was already quite strong against them. They were clearly struggling to make headway. 6 whales including one adult male abandoned the main channel and headed back towards Saturna's shore where they could avoid the strong currents by swimming in the tidal shadow created by Monarch Head. They travelled all the way to the Narvaez Bay before making a left turn and heading south, slowing briefly to do some breaching and tail lobbing before re-entering the currents of Boundary Pass to meet up with the others. It was about 2:10pm before the stragglers reached Taylor's Point and went out of sight.
Miles Ritter, Saturna Island
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We started listening to orca calls on the Lime Kiln Hydrophones (west San Juan Isl) around noon, & were treated to several hours of great calls as Southern Residents headed north. At 2:38 pm we heard a few calls on the Orca Sound hydrophone (NW SJI), with ship noise in the back ground, so the whales were moving north.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Just started hearing whales on the OrcaSound hyrdrophone, about 2:35 pm.
Lori Robinson, Seattle
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1:50 pm - Lime Kiln hydrophone - calls are loud and clear but with ship noise.
Eric McRae
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Began hearing first calls at 12:29 pm PDT Lime Kiln, becoming more numerous, although still faint at 12:44 pm.
Suzy Roebling, Florida

August 20, 2009

At 1915 the orcas were once again off Pt. Roberts and headed South.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce
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Saw what appeared to be a gray whale between the southwestern end of Hat Island and North Everett yesterday morning around 9am. It was quite a distance from us.
Rebecca Hadley, Freeland
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ABSOLUTELY AMAZING vocals on lime kiln right now (11:13 pm) - the super pod made it back down from Boundary! They have been vocalizing for over an hour now.
John Boyd, San Juan Island
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Party on the Lime Kiln hydrophone right now (10:30pm PST).
Ruby Keefe, CA
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9:42 pm - LOTS of faint, nearly continuous calls on BOTH Orcasound and Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound, Seattle
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A beautiful and educational day on the water with many members of J and K pods off Lime Kiln Park around 1.00 pm. The conditions were choppy with the Orcas intent on foraging and exhibiting some lively behaviour - tail-lobs, pectoral waves and breaches. Also one Minke whale.
Sandra Pollard, Freeland, Whidbey Island
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1:36 pm: Just started hearing S16 and other (Southern Resident) calls at Orcasound (NW San Juan Island). 12:02 pm: Just started hearing S16 calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones. No calls at Orcasound since 10am, so they're likely northbound. Recording of Lime Kiln transit is now at OrcaSound.net here (scroll down in player to 090820).
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound

August 19, 2009

We had Orcas (So. Residents) in the evening heading northbound up the west side SJI.
Keith Provan
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At 1700 some Ls and what looked like Raggedy K40 (I have seen her many times over the years swimming with those L males) were heading North from East Point to Point Roberts. They stopped many times along the way to play and socialize. L78 had a fresh wound about the shape of a 12 inch ruler below the two "rakes" that were previously reported. Another male had two maybe three long thin marks that went nearly right across the dorsal fin. The orcas were off the park at sunset.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce
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At 10 PM I heard a "BLOW" outside my cove (off Sansum Narrows, Salt Spring Island BC). A whale blew about 3 times and we all heard one blow before they disappeared south, and we then heard the distant breath of a whale/s. It seems as if they were travelling fast.
Tamar Griggs, Bold Bluff Retreat

About 7:30pm until 8:30pm there were [orcas] on the west side of San Juan Island. I for sure saw J17 and J44 - and J44 was quite active! Jumping completely out of the water multiple times.
Traci Walter, San Juan Island
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales & Soundwatch called Orca Network at 8:15 pm to report he was hearing calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone.
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Between 5:15 and 6:00pm, at least 18 members of L-pod passed Saturna's East Point heading Northeast into Georgia Strait. Very good ID's on almost all of the 18, including two, L72 and L92, who were seen exactly 24 hours earlier going in the opposite direction past East Point, coming back from the Georgia Strait. Other certain ID's include L22, L25, L27, L41, L72, L92, L94, L95 and L105. I followed them heading East, in Boundary Pass, from Monarch head at about 4:30 to East Point 45 minutes later. They ran very close to shore, as they usually do going East, cutting through the kelp beds, breaching and tail lobbing a fair amount along the way.
Miles Ritter, Saturna Island
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1:17 pm: Hearing first calls on the Orcasound hydrophones. Recordings from Lime Kiln now on OrcaSound.net here. Will post those from OrcaSound after the pass. Noon: Heard S1 and S16 calls from 12:00- 12:30, none in last 5 minutes, now some more. Val sees them now, they are heading N and now we hear clicks on the Orcasound hydrophones.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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We heard sudden & loud orca calls on the Orcasound hydrophone (NW San Juan Island) at 12:42 pm.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island

August 18, 2009

Orcas were off Pt. Roberts at 1400 heading south.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce
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Single gray spotted very near shore just south of Pt Wilson (west of Pt. Townsend). Looked like feeding. Swam off to the North and hung out in the strong rip of the flood tide. 12:30pm.
Sue Long
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I've seen some transients between Campbell River and Quadra Island. I followed the animals with my bike until the south of Quadra Island, and with binoculars. The 4 (or 5? A big male for sure!) moved to the south.
Florent Nicolas
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A superpod of Southern Resident Orcas passed by East Point Saturna Island between 5:20 and 6:15pm, heading west in Boundary Pass. Beginning with with about 10-12 K's and J's, then a second wave of mostly J's and ending with a third wave of mostly L's, there appeared to be a least 50 whales in total, possibly more. L2's and J2's identified, as well as K12 and K13 among other positive IDs. In contrast to recent weeks, they put on an amazingly energetic display, with so many percussive demonstrations going on that we were overwhelmed with the sound of whale bodies hitting the water from every direction. At it's most intense, there were up to five whales breaching simultaneously, and this continued along with tail lobbing and pec slapping until the last of them were out of sight around the Java Islets, at approximately 7pm. Along the way, there was a lot of back- tracking and cutting across the east-west flow, and much milling around when they reached Monarch Head near the mouth of Narvaez Bay.
Miles Ritter, Saturna Island
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We saw the [orcas] by the ferry terminal and spread apart past point roberts. We saw some members of J pod, L pod and L2's but there may have been more. Here is a nice breach just off point roberts.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Jill and I saw [orcas] today - many. Spread out and not very close, but we did ID Capucino and Raggedy (K21 & K40) up by Pt Roberts.
Sandy Dubpernell, Coupeville
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Lime Kiln hydrophone - hearing calls amoung loud boat noise, 3 pm.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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Five (5) Ocra's were sighted this morning at 11:10 AM just south of Whiskey Point on Quadra Island BC. Approximate coordinates are: N 50° 02.165; W 125° 12.917'. They were heading south toward Cape Mudge at the southern tip of Quadra Island and toward the Strait of Georgia. We estimate the dorsal fin of the largest orca to be around 5 feet in height.
Ken and Kathy Robertson, Quadra Island, BC

August 17, 2009

Orcas were off Pt. Roberts at sunset heading South. They later turned and headed north.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce
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T019B was next to Campbell River! He was with 5 to 6 specimen, there was an other male (adult).
Florent Nicolas
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Started listening in to the Orcasound.net hydrophones, first at Lime Kiln, San Juan Island at 10:55 am - great calls! At 11:30 I switched to the OrcaSound hydrophone, calls there too - & when I went back to Lime Kiln a little after noon, I was still hearing calls on both. At 12:35, no calls on Lime Kiln, but still calls on OrcaSound, but getting faint, so they are likely traveling north?
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Listening to our friends on orcasound right now, 12:38 pm.
Ruby Keefe, CA
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11:30 am, PST - After hearing orcas at Lime Kiln hydrophone, and hearing them for about half an hour, I tuned back to the OrcaSound hydrophone. Hearing some clicks and a few calls, getting closer, though.
Jette Hope, Holland
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10:54 am, PST - There are very loud calls and whistles on Lime Kiln Hydrophones among ship noise. Sounds again like some Kpod calls.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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Hearing a large amount of clicks and calls now, near 10:00 a. m. out your way on Lime Kiln, San Juan Island.
Suzy Roebling, Florida
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Nine (9) Ocra's were sighted this morning at 8:40 AM just south of Whiskey Point on Quadra Island BC. Approximate coordinates are: N 50° 02.165, W 125° 12.917'. They were heading south toward Cape Mudge at the southern tip of Quadra Island and toward the Strait of Georgia. We estimate the dorsal fin of the largest orca to be around 4 feet in height.
Ken and Kathy Robertson, Quadra Island, BC
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Greg Arden of Seattle called Orca Network to report seeing a large whale heading south not far from shore off Discovery Park, Seattle this morning at 8:30 am. He heard it spout, said it was larger than an orca, & had no dorsal fin, so sounds like a Gray whale.

August 16, 2009

About 6pm from Fort Worden near the light house we saw 2 Gray Whales off of Port Townsend. They were feeding about 70 feet from shore. They were in the area for about 1 hour before swimming off.
Mark Whitmer
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Orcas were back off Pt. Roberts at 1630 and heading south. They were quite spread out in small groups.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce
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The Ocean Magic out of Victoria encountered the T101's in Haro Strait near Kelp Reef. 4 animals in total. All four members of this group were traveling into Active Pass with the BC Ferry boats and other marine traffic. They were seen to swim right along side the Ferry vessels.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic Prince Of Whales, Victoria B.C.
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A superpod was heading south from the Coal Port towards Light House Marine Park at 4:15pm, then in the general direction of Orcas Island. They were spread out several miles wide and it took about 45 minutes for all of them to go by. They were very active with spyhopping, speedswimming, tail slaps and breaches. The most interesting thing that I saw was a very tight family of approximately 9 orcas swimming so close together that they were almost touching while all of the others were in spread out. It looked like there was a baby tucked into the group and several juvinilles.
Tammy Chambers
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Through binoculars from the shore, we saw one Gray Whale circling the bay off Everett, about 1 mile from shore at 1:30 pm. A boat had stopped and the whale swam up to within a few feet of the boat.
Van Rue, Everett, WA
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Sunday evening. The majority of all 3 pods of Orcas had been at the Fraser River all day, presumably feeding on salmon migrating back to their spawning grounds. Although the whales had changed from a southbound direction to more of an eastbound one - towards Blaine, Washington we made it! The Resident Orcas were spread out, the water was glassy so you could see their blows a mile or 2 out! The lowering sun glistened on their black dorsal fins. We were shut down, as mother K22 (Sekiu) and her son, K33 (Tika) swam off our port bow, then double-backed in the opposite direction. We dropped the hydrophone in at one point and the Orcas were busy vocalizing! There was a possible J pod female traveling with K22 & K33. The occasional breach in the distance could be seen & heard - blubber on water - there's no other sound quite like it! We turned to start heading home, and stopped to get a great look at L41 (Mega) and his grandmom L12 (Alexis).
Jaclyn Van Bourgondien, naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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We were completely surprised today to find superpod in English Bay, [Vancouver]!!! They slowly started moving south all day and gave us some incredible activity along the way. We had a few breaches, lots of tail slaps and big groups traveling close together with Vancouver International Airport in the background and the last in a beautiful breach from L22.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver

August 15, 2009

Dave Ellifrit and Kathy Babiak of the Center for Whale Research encountered J's, K's and L's traveling north off Kellett Bluff (48° 35.742N; 123° 12.94 W) at 6:12 p.m. Loose groups were spread out across the strait. The encounter ended at 7:28 p.m. one mile south of Turn Point (48° 40.74 N;123° 14.68 W).
Center for Whale Research
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Orcas were in Haro Strait.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce
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3-4 Orcas observed at Lincoln City, OR, at Roads End, traveling north at 7pm. Spotted the spray first - they seemed to be traveling rather than circling.
Gillian Charles, Northwest Power and Conservation Council, Portland, OR
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The 3.30pm Ocean Magic 2 vessel saw the Southern Resident Orca group up together off San Juan Island. What was interesting was 'Granny', J2 was swimming with L41, 'Mega' and 'Ruffles 'J1, was swimming with K12, 'Sequim'. It sure looked like so many that can be easily identified were mixed up with members of different pods. They were all travelling north past Lime Kilm. There are so many big male fins in the SR's now especially when all three pods come together.
Marie, Orca-Magic. Prince Of Whales, Victoria BC
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Heard lots of VERY active clicks, calls, and activity at Orcasound hydrophone from 11am-12pm.It was the most active sound time we've heard yet in our 2.5 weeks of listening.
The Schillings
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The [orcas] passed by (Lime Kiln, San Juan Island), not once, not twice, but 3 times - each pass by becoming more incredible!
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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I just returned (2:20 pm) from land bank having watched one of the most incredible passes along the west side that I have ever seen. Members of all three pods were heading south- in resting lines heading directly into the kelp beds. Just as the first row of J pod approached, I believe it was Granny who double breached right before our eyes. The line stayed in formation however, passing directly along the shorelines. The next line of resting whales was replete with lots of big fins- the younger boys were following suit and passed again, right on the shores. The show was not over, we had Cappuccino and Raggedy pass along with lots of K Pod whales, intermingled with L's- all right at the shoreline. One mother passed by holding her youngster above the water on her rostrum- lots of rolling and play in general. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience today.
Sandy Buckley, Postcards From Friday Harbor
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Capt. Peter, Ashley and I spent the afternoon with "Spirit" and her boys today. A mother's love and authority are never in question and L22 gave a great demonstration of that. All was quiet and calm when we first arrived on scene. L79 "Skana" was doing his own thing and L22 "Spirit" was within sight, for us humans, but in her own space away from her son. They were moving at an exaggeratedly slow pace and "Skana" was above water for so long each time that he blew that we could see the small nick in the tip of his dorsal fin. The dives were long and there were some direction changes, but for the most part they seemed to be drifting with the currents. Rather suddenly though, "Skana" and "Spirit" changed direction and sped up. They moved in side-by-side and were definitely traveling northwest. As we motored along trying to keep up, we were surprised by another male orca that popped up right behind us. Nobody had seen him up until then. It was L85 "Mystery". He quickly joined the others, but then there was another and another! Suddenly we were watching a family of 5 orcas moving quickly through the waters on there way to somewhere important. It is of course unclear to those of us above water how the decision to change direction and speed was made, much less who made it. But once the word went out, all of the family responded. With our resident orcas living in a matriarchal society, it makes sense that "Spirit" is the one that decides the who, how, when and where. It may be more diplomatic than that, but the decision was obviously agreed upon and/or followed by all involved. We finally said goodbye to this proud family and wended our way back to Friday Harbor. Once at the dock we unloaded other proud families that had made many memories today as well as a connection with an intelligent and devoted species of the earth.
~Tristen, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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12:51 pm - Great S1 calls and clicks on Orcasound hydrophones. Likely J pod heading south (from Lime Kiln observatory). Scott & Val Veirs, San Juan Island
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Been hearing all sorts of calls, sounds like mostly K pod on both hydrophones for the last 30 minutes or so, along with ship noise in the background. 11:58 AM PST.
Barbara Ellingsen
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I turned on OrcaSound.net this morning at 10:58 am, & instantly was rewarded with loud calls on the Lime Kiln Hydrophone (San Juan Island)! 11:16 am -Just began hearing sounds on Orca Sound - must be moving north? 11:50 am - Still hearing loud calls on Lime Kiln, with ship noise in background.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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I am hearing calls and clicks on Orca Sound Hydrophones. Sounds as if it could be Kpod. Some occassional loud calls. It is 11:22. 11:36 am - Very loud calls and clicks on Orca Sound Hydrophones. It sounds like it could be some of Kpod, S16 call.
Cathy Bacon, Texas

August 14, 2009

Another flat calm, slack high tide, hardly any following ebb, sunny summer day out on the (pond like) Strait of Juan de Fuca. From 2:27pm to 3:39pm we watched L-Pod whales actively forage Hein Bank. L-12 Alexis with L-22 Spirit, L-87 Onyx, L-89 Solstice, L-78 Gaia, and the L-5's! Many directional changes, lunges, and what seemed to be a push up- an orca came up in a vertical slant out of the water with its pectoral fins spread out and down, while we expected a breach, the whale gracefully slid back under!
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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At 1430 orcas were off Pt. Roberts heading south. They came out of Active Pass and did not head up to the Fraser River.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce
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I went out on Monterey Bay with Sanctuary Cruises. We followed 3 of what I assume are the CA transient group for quite a while. One of them seemed to have some recent significant damage to the dorsal, so much that we couldn't be sure whether it was male or female (see photo). Looking at the photo, I'd guess female from the curve in the front edge.
Steve Johnston, Senior Guest Experience Trainer, Monterey Bay Aquarium
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I'm happy to share this report from Monterey, for what it's worth. We were on Monterey Bay Whale Watch's morning cruise. We did see about 25 humpbacks and 6-8 transient orcas, which was the first orca sighing there in a couple of weeks. The humpbacks were mostly feeding uneventfully on the abundant small marine life at the surface, displacing many feeding birds as they surfaced. We saw some nice flukes when they dove quite near the boat. The orcas seemed to be in 2-3 small groups of one male and a couple of females, at some distance from us and not particularly active. We were also treated to several hundred Risso's dolphins surrounding us as we returned, breaching, cartwheeling and seemingly playing among the sailboats and kayaks just outside the harbor.
Lori Schneider
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Listening to our friends at 9:40pm on Orca Sound.
Ruby Keefe, Culver City, CA
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Tuned in late, but heard some clicks & calls on Lime Kiln around 10:30 pm, then nothing for awhile, then these calls at 11 pm.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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2131: J, K and some Ls moving south, just approaching Orca Sound Hydrophones (west San Juan Island) now from the north. 2156: hearing nothing on OrcaSound now and all on Lime Kiln - thinking they are far off shore, because they were coming down from Turn Pt. this evening.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Orca Network received a call from Jerry, reporting watching a superpod of 80+ orcas for 4 hours off Saturna Island - orcas arrived from several directions over several hours, and at 7 pm they all met off the Saturna Island Lighthouse, with much surface activity & partying going on!
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About 25 Orcas travelling west in Boundary Pass made Monarch Head off Saturna Island between 6:15pm and 6:45pm. The water was choppy with white caps and they were well offshore, so the count is a rough estimate -- may have been more. The whales were widely disbursed -- many solitary whales, with a number of small groups centered around mature females, including the lead group of four which appeared to be foraging around the cove at Taylor's Point on Saturna Island. One young whale, travelling alone, was doing a lot of porpoising, and another, serial breaching as it approached Monarch Head.
Miles Ritter, Saturna Island
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So excited to see a large group (30 plus) of Orcas off Point Roberts between 2 and 3 pm. The whales were travelling swiftly, quite spread out, and heading south with some back and forth movement. There were at least 5 large males present; perhaps a Superpod of J, K, and L?!
Sandra Scott, Point Roberts WA
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We found L pod today around Hein Bank several groups spread out over 4 or 5 miles. Not a lot of above water action, a few tail lobs, no spyhops and only one breach spotted.
Jill Hein- aboard, Mystic Sea
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The orcas were near Point Roberts. I was really excited; we were seeing our resident orcas. (Resident orcas are the fish eating killer whales). There were around 40 animals, but it was hard to tell since they were spread out over a few miles. We had some great visuals. They seemed to be fishing and then playing. Some guests snapped some amazing pictures of tail slapping and spy hopping. We just watched and listened for about 30 minutes. On the way back home, it almost seemed as if the whales were following us. They trailed behind us a good portion of the way back.
Naturalist Jeannette Miller, San Juan Safaris
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This was a report in your most recent posting: August 14 5:50 am - Hearing a few calls and a tremendous amount of echolocation on Lime Kiln hydrophone. Wish I was observing behavior right now - are they fishing/hunting?
Suzy Roebling Suzy's question about the whales' behaviors yesterday morning answered my question about the whales' sounds over the hydrophones during the same time. I was watching the [orcas] at Lime Kiln starting at about 5:30 a.m., but I was unable to hear them because the radio was not broadcasting. I was wondering about what I might be missing on the hydrophones - so thanks to Suzy now I know! The whales were moving north pretty much at a steady pace. They were spread for miles across the strait, mainly individuals or ones and twos. There were no surface behaviors that I observed other than surfacing to breathe. A few came in close to shore and again they were moving at a steady pace. Then there was a lull, during which time two came by, then one individual. Others were approaching from the south. Then (it was a little after 9a.m.) all of a sudden there was Cappuccino right in front of me! He changed direction several times, appeared to be foraging, before he continued north. By this time the hydrophone was broadcasting at Lime Kiln, so I was able to hear him and the others who were way to the south. Those who were to the south turned and went back south.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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The T18's were seen this am at 10.30. I was on the 9 am Zodiac out of Victoria. Mark Malleson ID this foursome. Apparently they have been hanging out in this area for four days now. We caught up with these Transients off Moresby and Coal Island, near Swartz Bay. I have included a pic of T 19B (cropped), the male with an unusual, broad based Dorsal Fin. They were busy traveling toward the Gulf Islands when we left them and looking for prey along the shoreline of Moresby.
Marie, Orca-Magic, Prince Of Whales, Victoria BC
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I saw a large whale while sailing about three miles north of Protection Island. It had a fairly small and slightly hooked dorsal fin set well back, and a distinct gray collar. It was considerably bigger than the minke whales I have seen around here. It never showed flukes but did blow visibly. I have seen humpbacks in the past and I'm pretty sure it wasn't one. I watched it surface and dive several times and never saw flippers, or flukes. Its behavior was very much like fin and minke whales I have seen before. It's hard to estimate length but it was a lot bigger than any orca I have seen, and maybe around 50 feet. It seemed to be cruising around in the shipping lanes.
Richard Isherwood, Port Townsend WA
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Orca Network received a call from Arlene Solomon at 11 am, she was observing a pod of ~14 orcas, scattered between Mayne & Prevost Island, heading NE into Active Pass.
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7:30 am - Orcas spread out and moving slowly northward making lovely calls with no buzzing boats or thumping tankers. Passby is taking more than an hour. Hearing J calls.
Val Veirs, OrcaSound/The Whale Museum, San Juan Island
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5:50 am - Hearing a few calls and a tremendous amount of echolocation on Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Suzy Roebling

August 13, 2009

After receiving the report below about orcas in Admiralty Inlet, we headed over to the west side of Whidbey Island to try to find them. At 7:05 pm we watched many Harbor porpoise feeding off Bush Pt, then at 7:15 pm we finally spotted a large fin & several small ones way across the inlet, just SE of Foulweather bluff. They were slowly working their way NW, with some direction changes & likely hunting behaviors noted. We saw 4 orcas total, including 1 adult male and a juvenile or calf. They remained on the other side of the inlet, but from our distant photos, Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research made a tentative/possible ID of the bull as T10B, based on fin shape. We watched the pod continue NW for an hour, at 8:15 pm they were nearing the SE end of Fort Flagler, still heading out.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Orca Network received a call from John Fortin of Hansville (N. Kitsap Peninsula), reporting 3 orcas, including 1 adult male, in Skunk Bay at 6:05 pm, heading slowly toward Useless Bay, Whidbey Island.
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T14 'Pender' graced us with his mighty presence today. He was found approximately 2 miles south of William Head, Vancouver Island. He was traveling slowly east. It was good to see him again even if all alone in the Strait of Juan De Fuca. He is still looking good for his age. over 40+. Last time I saw him he was keeping company with a few other Transients earlier this year.
Marie, Orca-Magic, Prince Of Whales, Victoria, BC
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A single Minke whale north of Ebey's Landing (central/west Whidbey Island) ~ 1/2 mile out heading south at 10 a.m.
Al Luneman, Coupeville
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David Tiller called to report seeing ~5 Dall's porpoise while kayaking in Useless Bay, off SW Whidbey Island at 10:30 am. He was first made aware of them when one of them made a slapping sound on the water behind him! They appeared to be going after bait balls in the area.
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Andy of the Victoria Clipper IV called at 8:30 am to report 3 orcas heading south off Point No Point, N. Kitsap Peninsula. There was one adult male & two females.

August 12, 2009

At around 2:00pm I saw a couple of whale boats in Boundary Pass off Saturna Island, but no whales. After about five minutes, four Orcas surfaced, an adult and three juveniles. After watching a while longer, I decided they must be transients, based on their diving/surfacing pattern -- dive for 2-3 minutes, surface together for three breaths, repeat. They did this for close to an hour, drifting towards the west, coming up unpredictably and swimming in all directions. At around 2:20, they dove for at least 10 minutes, but then surprisingly surfaced again right in the middle of the accumulating whale watch boats. I believe I've seen the adult before, a male with a very large wide dorsal that droops markedly to the left. By 3:00pm, they drifted out of sight at Taylor's Point on Saturna Island, still moving west.
Miles Ritter, Saturna Island
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At about 12:45 we were lucky enough to be the boat that picked up the Transient orcas T19s between Patos and East Point. We watched the four whales - T18, T19, male T19B, and T19C - as they slowly circled the area. You can read the details of our adventure and see some photos on my blog. They stayed in Boundary Pass for the rest of the afternoon.
Monika Wieland, Naturalist aboard the Western Explorer
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Transient killer whales T-19 and T-19B with another sprouting? male and female hunting for harbor seals around Java Rocks off of Saturna Island, Canada, from 2:37pm to 3:32pm. Slack ebb tide made for pond like conditions. The four whales circled the rocks several times, while the harbor seals on land were on alert with backs arched, some going for higher ground! There were seals in the water looking nervously about. They did make some sudden turns and lunges, underwater kills? At the west end of the rocks, T-19B paused sideways while the other 3 whales rapidly came toward him, a few lunges, one showed it's flukes, then a few tails lobs, before they headed northwest towards Saturna. T-19B's dorsal fin looks so big and heavy, growing faster than the rest of him, the weight of it leaning left, and he is only 14 years old- he's going to be huge at full maturity!!
Caroline Armon, San Juan Island
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This afternoon, another boat had spotted the Transient Orcas! We had a feeling they must be out somewhere, with the Residents miles and miles away. Generally when the fish-eating (resident) Orcas of J, K, L pods are out of range, then there are mammal-hunting (transient) Orcas in the neighborhood. Known as the T19s this group was out in Canadian waters. When we arrived they were "resting" (the term used for Orca sleep). Slow synchronized dives in a tight knit group. As they neared some rocks the small group split up, circling around and around. There were a lot of harbor seals resting just above the water's edge as well as a few unsuspecting seals in the water. If they did indeed feed, then they were quite graceful about it because we never noticed any sudden dives or charges below to grab a seal. The transients then continued on their way, back in a tight group hugging the shoreline.
Jaclyn Van Bourgondien, naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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I was lucky to see many members of the Southern Resident Orca heading out west this morning. I was on the 9 am 'Ocean Magic 2' and we encountered the tall boys, J 27 'Blackberry' and ? J 26 'Mike'. It was bright lighting so hard to ID this one in the enclosed pic, but feel sure it was J 26 or K 21 - right side saddle patches somewhat similiar. I did see, I believe, K 11 not too far off as well.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic, Victoria, B.C.

August 11, 2009

We received a call from Joe Huckaba, reporting a sighting of an orca pod off Brookings, OR. He saw 2 pods 15 miles offshore of Brookings, heading north (42 04.774N, 124 42.686W) from 10 - 11 am. 1 pod had 12 - 15 orcas, the next group had 6 - 8 orcas (they were within 1/4 mile of each other). No photos were taken.
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Orca Network received a call rom Douglas Laird, reporting seeing 1 orca 25 - 30 miles out from Charleston, OR, heading north at 1 pm.
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We were sailing off Sidney Marina, BC, when we encounted this pod of Orcas. It was at 3:30 PM. We were unable to positively identify the pod.
Britt Finley, s/v RESTLESS
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Minke traveling east to west out from Swirl Rocks, Lopez Island, around 7pm (travelling roughly SW from Aleck Bay on South Lopez out into the straits). And large surface area of the water closer to shore that was rippling with small fish. Great to see evidence that there are still some fish out there.
Sally & Tom Reeve, Lopez Island
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10 pm - I have been listening (on OrcaSound hydrophones) to incredible and wonderful Orca calls, Echolocation clicks, whistles, grunts and groans of the Southern Residents for the past 90 mins. Must be party time again off San Juan Island once again. I suspect the orca are moving away as the calls are getting fainter but still audible and really quite musical.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Victoria, B.C.
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8:37 pm - Lots of calls tonight on OrcaSound San Juan Island.
Casey Burns
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A superpod of Orcas were heading toward Boiling Reef. Roughly 40+ whales passed Saturna's East Point starting around 2:15pm moving west in Boundary Pass, spread out about a mile and a half east to west and travelling well away from shore. They were moving pretty fast with the ebb current, and made Taylor's Point on Saturna Island starting around 2:45pm. Some breaching along the way, but mostly just travelling.
-Miles Ritter, Saturna Island
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Recorded the crazy party (superpod orca calls) at night from Lime Kiln - unbelievable.
Suzy Roebling, Florida
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The Orcas of J, K, L pods had all convened in Haro Strait. There were whales spread out in small groups generally heading north when we arrived on scene. They did an 'about face' and in large groups moved south till they all had met in 2 large groups. Our guests were in awe as we watched this mass of Orcas all swimming together to meet up and have a whale party! There were a few breaches, tail slaps, rollovers with a pec slap and then the grand finale - the pink sea snake! They continued on to the south and we headed home.
Jaclyn Van Bourgondien, naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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At 12:52 started hearing calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone - sounds more like Transients than Residents. Calls continued off and on until about 1320. Transient calls again at OrcaSound hydrophone - began again at 1436, continued on until after 1500. I recorded the calls at Lime Kiln - see below post from Scott Veirs for the links to listen in at Orcasound.net.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Greenbank, Whidbey Island
From Scott Veirs: Definitely sounds like transients to me, but more abbreviated and less "plaintive" than the Hood Canal recordings or one I found here a few weeks ago recorded up at Queen Charlotte's latitude. I've uploaded your recording here (scroll down to the bottom of "archived sounds from Lime Kiln") and a short (5s) clip here in the common sounds player (scroll down in the "other sounds" window to Transient calls).
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Turned in at the OrcaSound hydrophones (1:31 pm PST) and bingo! Some calls, orca, but not resident.
Jette Hope, Holland
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Any idea of what going on with the distorted sounds on the lime kiln hydrophone right now (12:50pm)? Hearing very sad sounding calls on orcasound. 1:03 pm - They're on the Lime Kiln now.
Ruby
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We heard a few Southern Resident orca calls on the Orcasound hydrophone at about 6:47 pm, then boat noise, then a few more calls. At 7:50 pm, we heard some strange calls, whistles, & clicks on the Lime Kiln hydrophone, then at 8:05 more distant calls. -
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Greenbank, Whidbey Island

August 10, 2009

We sailed our boat S/V Windswept off Salmon Bank and witnessed a special event. There was a small pod of 2 maybe three adult orcas escorting what seemed like 4 younger orcas. One was very young and much smaller then the others that were playing with him. It appeared that they were trying to teach the youngest how to do jumps and rolls. We watched as two would get on each side of the youngest and lift him out of the water on their backs and roll him.
Gary Peterson
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Reports of all 3 pods heading in from the west; J's & K's headed northwest up Haro Strait, while we found L's between False bay and Eagle Point, some near shore, others spread 1/8 mile off of San Juan Island at 2:12pm. L-41 Mega was actively foraging with the first part of the flooding tide. A number of females and juveniles fished closer to shore, all making directional changes yet working their way east toward Cattle Point, so we enjoyed watching them until 3:45pm. They were actively vocalizing as well, a treat since conditions allowed us to drop our hydrophone and drift for awhile. We don't often see the blows of killer whales, today they showed against the backdrop of the shore cliffs.
Caroline Armon, San Juan Island
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We had reports of a potential Super Pod coming in from the West! By the time our trip departed in the afternoon, we heard that L's were down around Middle Bank heading for shoreline, and that Js & K's were at Kelp Reef aiming for Kellett Bluff. We were just north of Kellett Bluff at 1510 when we spotted two orcas slowly moving north, and it was none other than J1 Ruffles having quality time with his mom J2 Granny. Ruffles was doing the usual very slow rise to the surface, where his dorsal fin would slowly rise out of the water like a periscope. As this pair lazily passed the boat, our passengers were amazed at the size of his dorsal fin. The echoes of their blows rang off the bluff. Granny was about 400 yards or so past us and suddenly she showed that 98 year-olds can still breach with the best of them. It wasn't long after that J34 Doublestuff, J27 Blackberry, and a majority of J Pod began to catch up to the matriarch and her son. And apparently they were in the mood to play--7 breaches in a row, tail slaps, cartwheels, chin ups, pushing each other from below, and lots and lots of, well, "sea snakes". It seemed like every male that passed the boat was in a randy mood and happily showed it.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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Ron Bates, MMRG, received reports early this morning that a large number of Orcas had been sighted near Constance Bank. Our vessel departed Victoria Harbour this morning around 9am and within less than 10 minutes of leaving the Harbour we made contact with the Orcas a couple of miles west of Clover Point! Not long after we had arrived on scene we soon realized that we had a Superpod as our Naturalist Kyla Graham and Ron, soon identified several members of all three southern resident pods. As we sat with our engines off we could see a large group of over 60 Orcas moving East towards Clover Point and another large group a few hundred yards ahead also moving East. The Orcas were in resting formation and tightly bunched. The Orcas continued East towards Trial Island and eventually the Orcas did travel through Enterprise Channel and then L-pod split and traveled south whilst J & K-pod traveled towards 10 mile point. Not all of L-pod was present as Mega and part of the L-12's were reported to be heading West past Sooke.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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Very loud calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone. There are many different calls, sounds like some could be Kpod. Time is 16:44. 1658 - Starting to hear calls and clicks on OrcaSound Hps. Sounds like some calls are Kpod.
Cathy Bacon
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1:51 pm: I just started hearing whales on the OrcaSound hydrophone. You can hear them on Lime Kiln too, but there's a lot of interference noise.
Lori Robinson, Seattle
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After getting Lori's report, we tuned into OrcaSound at 2:50, listened to OS hydrophone (NW San Juan Island) until 3:50 - lots of loud calls, at first, then dwindling w/some boat noise but calls still happening at 3:50; then at 3:50 checked Lime Kiln & hearing calls there as well - not sure of direction now, since calls have been heard off both hydrophones for several hours now! 1621: STILL hearing calls on BOTH Lime Kiln & Orca Sound hydrophones - hard to say which direction they're going, they must be spread out between the 2 & milling or going back & forth! Calls off both HPs since at least 1351! At 1735, calls still being heard on OrcaSound, but not on Lime Kiln.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Greenbank, Whidbey Island
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We had a dozen or more orcas slowly travelling west-to-east off Flint Beach, South Lopez, between 6:15 and 6:30 this evening.
Tom Reeve, Lopez Island
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I got a second hand report that a fisherman had seen an orca traveling west off point wilson (around 7:30 or 8pm).
Chrissy McLean, Port Townsend Marine Science Center
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We encountered a Humpback Whale a few miles to the West of Constance Bank after hearing one of the other boats had seen the Humpback pop up near a large Bait Ball!
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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I observed two gray whales transiting southbound past our house on Saratoga Passage. They were about two or three hundred yards offshore, progressing slowly and surfacing about every four and a half minutes. I watched as they loitered in Cama Bay, just north of the new State Park, for about one hour. Perhaps they were feeding as it is rather shallow there. They surfaced in about one minute cycles during that time. They then slowly began to progress back northbound, but much closer to shore. The pair passed the house with one swimming inside the mooring buoy line and one just outside of the mooring buoy line.
Dick Schlueter, Manaco Beach, Camano Island

August 9, 2009

At iceberg point on the southern tip of lopez island at about 6.30 looking south towards port townsend, and saw a whale that was not an orca. it was bigger, had a smaller fin. it was by itself, meandering around, and gradually working its way east. My guess is that it was a humpback whale. just curious if anyone else has mentioned a sighting in that area? thanks,
babette saltzman We sent photos of minke & humpback fins & asked a few questions to clarify the species on this sighting, & received further information: "the flukes didn't ever come out of the water, but i was able to see them once close to the surface (but still under the water). also, as we were watching the whale, we were remarking about the fact that we never saw a spout. i would say that the shape of the fin was more like the minke, but smaller than the one pictured." We are pretty sure this sighting was of a Minke, given the observations & location of the whale - sb
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We heard almost 2 hours of orca sounds from the Lime Kiln hydrophone from 4 to 6pm. I did record it.
Jay Schilling
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We are currently (11:10 am) hearing some calls on the hydrophones at Port Townsend Marine Science Center. No sightings so far.
brenda danner, Port Townsend Marine Science Center
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Scott Veirs of Beam Reach/OrcaSound relayed another report of someone named Jodi reporting calls on the PTMSC hydrophone at 9:24 am as well.
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We turned on the Lime Kiln (west San Juan Island) hydrophones at approx. 9:50 am to hear loud So. Resident orca calls.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network
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Quite a show (orcas) from about 8am to 8:30 am in front of Hannah Heights (west San Juan Island)! Heading north. And at 8:48 am an update: Just kidding. They're heading south back in front of Hannah Heights!great front porch action!
Richard Daly
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8:14 - 9:18 am: There are [orcas] everywhere - resting family lines, tail slaps, spyhops, and a lazy fog rolling in to the shoreline - beautiful. It certainly looked like there could have been members from all three pods. I am sure I saw J's and Mega- Mega was in a beautiful resting line of approx 12-14 whales.
Sandy Buckley, San Juan Island
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At around 7:00am I heard Orcas in Boundary Pass off Saturna Island, near Monarch Head. There was dense fog, mist and light rain, so it was not so easy to make them out. I counted something like 15 - 20, heading west. It was slack tide turning to ebb, with them, but I'd say they were taking their time, very subdued - only two breaches in the half an hour I watched, which is unusual for this passage. The last group was a mature female accompanied by four younger whales, and they went in very close to shore at Monarch Head and swam pretty much in a circle for a couple of minutes, then just floated in the water at the surface for close to a minute, more or less just drifting with their dorsals visible the whole time. Overall I'd say they were not in a hurry, and very much conserving their energy.
Miles Ritter, Saturna Island
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We went sailing with friends out of the Port of Everett, and didn't go far, when looking south my wife at 3:30 pm saw the blow of a whale just off shore of the Naval Base. The whales where heading south less than a mile from the shore, with us about 2 miles farther out, so we turned south to get a better view. At the naval base they turned west, then north in a large slow arc and came straight at us, we cut sail and let them pass, one came about 60 feet from our starboard side and we got some good pictures. There were 2 grays, feeding slowly on bottom, and coming up every few minutes. They never breached but were rolling slowing on the surface and we saw plenty of fins and tails, with a nose poking out everyone once in a while. I estimate one at about 45 feet long and the others slightly smaller at 39-40 feet. They rotated north, around Everett and headed toward Gedney Island fairly slowly. The last we saw them there were heading north in Possession Sound past Gedney Island.
Van and Carolyn Rue

August 8, 2009

A humpback mother calf pair northeast off Race Rocks.
Rachael Griffin, Victoria, BC

August 7, 2009

Off of False Bay, San Juan Island, from 2:32pm to 3:37pm, we watched the L-5's and L-54's forage toward the east with the strong flood tide. The mom's near shore, the males further offshore demonstrating their power and grace with rapid twists and turns. L-74 Saanich was lunging, turning sideways, still showing a little wobble in his dorsal fin, about 1000 feet away when he dove. Since he was making many directional changes, I told our passengers to look out into the water, sometimes you can see the white patches on the orca before the whale surfaces. L-74 surprised us all by slowly appearing about 10? feet underwater right next to the port side of the boat! The unusual thing was he stayed there for about 2 minutes, seem to go under the boat and came right below the surface on the starboard side, where he stayed for another minute or so before sinking down. He finally surfaced well past 2 other whale watch boats to our starboard side. The initial dive through encounter to finally surfacing lasted several minutes. I wonder that a salmon was under our boat (I hope he got it!), as he seemed to be on his side, utilizing his monocular vision? We could only see the white glow of an eye patch and part of his chin when he was on our port side, and passengers on the starboard side they exchanged eye contact with him!! If that was not magical enough (L-74 made the unpredictable approach- the safest thing for us to do was to shut down), L-73 Flash (whose dorsal fin sure is wavy like J-1 Ruffles swam with little L-108 Coho keeping up 50 feet behind him, zigzagging rapidly as they fished, 500 feet away. As they turned east, L-108 breached!
Caroline Armon, San Juan Island
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Around 12:15 while sitting on the computer I heard the blows on the beach just as my husband called out "Whales!" I made the 4 minute mad dash through the neighborhood and down the bluff trail to the beach and they were two humpbacks (more likely grays, but not confirmed - sb) - I think - heading north northeast in Saratoga Passage just South of Sandy Point heading towards Camano Head. They did some deep dives and hung about in the middle of the passage feeding for a bit. I am 90% sure they were humpbacks by their flukes and swim pattern, but did not have binoculars to confirm this.
Liz Heinrich, Whidbey Island
From further info. from Liz, & the report above, we think these were likely grays. She observed a "heart- shaped" spout, which is indicative of grays, & we've had reports of 2 grays feeding between this area & Everett as recently as July 27th - very late for feeding grays to remain in this area! sb
More on humpback whale sighting off Everett: Thanks for getting back to me. There was definitely a caudal dorsal fin not knuckles. I have spent my whole life on the water and as a naturalist on land and sea, rely heavily on my observation skills. You only get a second to see the details and so have to record them quickly and recheck when you can. I have seen alot of grays also and know the knuckles you speak of, this was a small fin. In regards to the blow, I looked it up in some of our whale books (husband taught marine science at the Ocean Institute in Dana Pt Ca and we are both book hounds) and the books describe the Humpback spout as "bushy and wide" which is what I saw, it wasn't a straight up spout, sort of heartshaped, the height was hard to say as but it seemed like they were around 10' tall, there was not alot to compare it to as they were heading at a diagonal away from the beach and toward open water. Another big clue for me was the tail, the flukes were more upright when they were diving and not the classic gray tail shape. They didn't show flukes until they were out too far to determine if there were knobbies on them w/o binos. Anyway, hope that helps - keeping ears and eyes peeled. Thanks for all you do!
liz heinrich
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In the afternoon trip we were happy enough to see some Lpod members near the south of San Juan Island, on which L73 and L74 identified report continued below under humbacks.
Jette Hope, Holland
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This afternoon around 1:30 we met up with all three pods about two miles east of Active Pass. They absolutely booked it north this morning, having been just north of San Juan Island around 9:30 AM. All whales were reportedly there except the L5s and L54s (who were picked up off of Hein Bank around that time), but they were spread over 5+ miles and heading northeast. J27, J31, and J39 were traveling with L2, L78, and L88. K- Pod seemed to be the last group to exit the Pass and the last group we looked at was K21, K40, K16, and K35 traveling tight together.
Monika Wieland, Western Prince Naturalist, San Juan Island
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In the Strait of Georgia, we again saw Ruffles and Granny - travelling with L53 again along with her mother L7, Canuck!
Suzanne Charest, Wild Whales Vancouver
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To our surprise, we just saw two gray whales in Saratoga Passage near Camano Island moving north between Pebble Beach and Timothy Way at 2 pm. They surfaced more often than we see during their normal presence in the spring. Were there any other sightings reported? 2:38 pm - they turned and headed south, now just off Pebble Beach, SW Camano Island.
Gail Nilsson
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On the way back to Victoria we got an extra treat, since we were able to see 2 humpbacks!
Jette Hope, Holland

August 6, 2009

Orca Network received a call today from Erica Crust at WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife - reporting a pod of ~ 30 orcas 2.5 miles off Carrol Island near La Push.
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Today's journey to Sooke Basin was nothing short of SPECTACULAR. A mother and calf humpback pair were lazily swimming by when all of a sudden they both started to fly out of the water at full speed breaching. At times they breached together, or tagging one another! It was by far the most incredible thing i have seen on the water and i have seen many incredible things over the years. I have waited my whole life for this. I want to thank our captain Anna Hall who made the intuitive navigational choices today, and because of that, we had witnessed nonstop breaches for about 10+ mins window (see photo of the day above). After witnessing the humpbacks, we stopped by Race Rocks to see the harbour seals and sea lions hauled out. Finally, southern resident killer whales Lpod were making their way past Victoria towards the east and were beautifully sighted heading into the distance towards Haro Strait.
Chantelle Tucker
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11:50am - Orcas observed from beach off Westside Road, San Juan Island. Orcas traveled Northbound on the full moon spring tide, with tall male dorsal fins leading the set. The array of fins indicated J-Pod. At 12:41pm an orca changed direction, and soon after there was some arched diving and rostrums out of the water near shore, possibly during predation. One orca's calls could be heard in air when it's rostrum broke the surface. J1 then made his appearance; there was no mistaking him. Two females with two juveniles then appeared from the South, staying in the area for some time. The sound of an orca exiting the water drew my attention to witness a full breech visible just off-shore. The vanguard of the pod then turned and came back past, and all continued to criss-cross and mill in the area until around 2pm, when they then traveled South out of sight. 8:00pm - Orcas observed from inside tent at County Park, San Juan Island. About 4-5 animals were traveling Southbound at a rapid pace, though surfacing normally. There were no boats present as the mixed-gender group blazed past along the Westside.
Jason Sneed, Marine Naturalist
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Lori Robinson called to report loud orca calls on the Orca Sound hydrophone, NW San Juan Island, at 7:05 pm.
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The Orcas returned and were within reach today! The killer whales from J & K pods, along with a few L pod members had made their way south from the Fraser River down Rosario Strait to the southwest end of San Juan Island. They were very spread out, milling, feeding from inshore near False Bay out several miles from the shore. This afternoon they had been going north with members of J pod around the Lime Kiln lighthouse off the west side of San Juan Island, when they all turned around heading south. We also heard a report of some L pod members coming in from their day in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Maybe they'll all meet up tonight for a little social hour?! We had an amazing encounter and were caught off guard with a group of 5 Orcas coming our way. We were shutdown and had to remain that way till they were at least 100 yards away. They surfaced and dived playing with each other, changing from moving offshore to then parallel the shore. Our guests were dazzled when they heard some vocalizations even above the surface of the water! I love when it is calm enough to hear this occur! We moved further offshore to see L78 Gaia, a 20-year-old male along with his 16-year-old brother L88 Wavewalker. L88 is a "sprouter male", which means his dorsal fin is still growing and could reach a height of 5-6 feet tall like other male Orcas. As I was looking through my binoculars at L78, I saw a scar/gash/unusual mark on his right side where his dorsal meets the body, before the saddle patch. A little later he had turned, and on the left side there was another scratch/scar starting just at the front of the dorsal.
Jaclyn, naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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We heard rumors of all pods heading north up San Juan Island, & at 12:50 pm began hearing loud calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones. Calls stopped for awhile, then began again at 1:13 pm, then by 1:40 they were really partying!
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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While in Haro Strait, we were lucky enough to see Ruffles copulating! He afterwards travelled with the lucky lady for a little while, giving several chances for identification. I was fairly certain it was L53, Lulu.
Suzanne Charest, Wild Whales Vancouver

August 5, 2009

Hello my name is Joe Arispe im a comercial fisherman. I spotted 3 orcas while fishing offshore of Coos Bay Oregon. The boat was trolling when we spotted the Orcas 200 yards off the stern. They seemed to be showing off as they stayed with the boat for a good ten minutes surfacing in the wake and flopping on their backs. The Lat Long was 4354.225 and 12615.135.
Joe Arispe, OR
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1:18 am - OrcaSound hydrophone NW San Juan Island: Whistles quite loud now along with widely-spaced clicks, occasional calls, and some very weird low-frequency creaking+g/rumblings. Faint whistles and calls heard at Orcasound since 00:39. Details in Google spreadsheet (link at OrcaSound along with recordings).
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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We heard whales last night, about 12:45 am, going N, very close to our west side home, just north of Bellevue Point. Loud enough to get up and stand by the window to listen.
Jim & Mimi from the west side of SJI
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GREAT calls (lots of S1s) at 12:13 am on Lime Kiln Hydrophone Will post recording when they're done.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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I was listening to the Lime Kiln hydrophone (OrcaSound.net) tonight (Aug 4) between 11:15pm-11:49pm. Lots of loud, fairly clear vocalizations that sound like L's: a long note going up at the end (sounds like S19 calls(?), but many with less of a sharp up at the end than S19). Calls faded by 11:49pm. As I was typing up this email I turned Lime Kiln back on - lots of very loud calls! (very loud from 12:14am to 12:19am, then fading in and out). Too many for me to distinguish but many different ones, including some very long squeals.
Suzanne Charest
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My brother called to tell me he saw orcas breaching off of the Tsawwassen ferry terminal off Vancouver, BC at 7:20 pm. He thinks he saw about 6 animals.
Chantelle Tucker

August 4, 2009

We watched many members of J, K and L pods heading in from the west. I don't believe all members of the pods were together in the large group of Orca we saw just off the Victoria waterfront as I would say only 45 whales were present. I was able to ID L78 whose scars appear to be healing nicely, J1 and J2, J30, J8, J 41, J19 and J42, J27, and one of the very small babies. K21 and K40 were there along with many others that were hard to determine on brief visits for air at the surface. It was fascinating to see the little ones briefly spyhopping and tail slapping as if to say, "Well I am awake now." It was a lovely evening with the setting sun turning dorsal fins bronze, while the orca continued past in a slow resting formation.
Marie, Orca-Magic Prince Of Whales, Victoria B.C.
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We were with 10 Transients at Discovery Island watching them head west, and had reports of Js & Ls inbound. Apparently around 5:30pm, the whales passed about 100 yards from each other, but neither displayed any behavioral changes as far as we've heard!"
John Boyd, San Juan Island
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At 4pm or shortly after driving north on Hwy 1 not far north from Goat Rock State Park (between Jenna & Mendocino, CA) I saw a few blows and some people standing along the fence line back off of shore. I pulled over and sure enough, I counted 11 different spouts. Very large, tall spouts with a couple of smaller spouts. Definitely Blue Whales with one Humpback. They were feeding in the area and not traveling in any particular direction. We watched them for over an hour. Two Blues were close to shore several times. I was surprised to see Blue Whales so close to shore. Beautiful sight indeed. Regards,
Michele Wassell, Ventura Co, CA
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Managed to intercept orcas for viewing for about 1/2 hour off the banks of the Straits of Georgia. 9 transients, 2 babies, 2 males (which 1 was a large bull) - rest females. All cruising and diving. No play. Babies in front would occaisionally frolic. Close to rocks, then away from shore a distance. No residents seen at all.
D. Judge

August 3, 2009

J-Pod and K-Pod with some L's breaching their way south, against a strong flood tide, down Rosario Strait past Burrows Lighthouse, from 2:50pm to 3:50pm.
Caroline Armon, San Juan Island
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We spent a good hour watching lots of broaching, with many Orcas leaping completely out of the water, 3 pm. Must have been over 20 Orcas total. Approx. 1/4 mile off Washington Park, Anacortes. Seemed to just be playing and not moving in any particular direction.
Bill Rowlands, skipper of sail boat, "Sweet Surrender"
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7:45 to 8:30 pm lots of orcas cruised past the south end of Lopez. Changes in direction, breaches, two very small orcas with females towards the end of the group.
Sally Reeve, Lopez Island
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Today we had early morning reports of L Pod south of Lopez Island, but the thick fog prevented anyone from actually finding them. In the meantime, Js, Ks, and some Ls that had been up north yesterday came down Rosario Channel. We caught up with the whales near the Burrows Lighthouse, and even from 1 mile away, it was evident that the whales were excited about something. You could see the huge splashes of breaches against the shoreline, and then you'd spot a bright white chin during a spyhop. We paralleled whales about 250 yards away, and began counting the breaches - we stopped counting at 32, even though there were more. The highlight of all these acrobatics was a rare (for me anyway) double breach. The whales were working against a flood tide, but managed to find every back eddy they could to move southward. We saw J30 Riptide, and J26 Mike (both easy to spot from long distance), and we saw one of the two new J calves.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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What a day down in Rosario Strait! We were seeing whales from all three pods and what a show they put on! Lots of breaches, spyhops and loads of other activities!
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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At about 4:30 pm we received a call from Jeff Hogan, relaying a report of Southern Resident orcas between Deception Pass and Colville (S. Lopez Island). Also heard from John Boyd that they had j's and k's heading towards deception around 4:30pm.

August 2, 2009

We were sailing south from the south tip of Camano Island towards Everett, along the "ledge" (dropoff) that runs from the mouth of the Snohomish along Jetty Island. We saw whales blowing to the south. (I am guessing they were grey whales). From what we could see, they were near the entrance to the harbor, right off from the green buoy. As we continued to sail south, they headed north. We eventually realized that there were two whales, both of them located inland from us, feeding in the shallows alongside Jetty Island. They appeared to be slowly swimming sideways, with one side fin up in the air, and with a portion of the tail visible. We guessed they were feeding on the bottom. We got a good look at their fins and tails, which were heavily mottled. My husband checked the depth and it showed at about 10 feet, so the whales were feeding in something shallower than that, which is hard to believe given their size. After passing by the first whale, suddenly the second one turned and started towards us. (Could have been spooked by power boat in vicinity?) Although we attempted to turn out of its way, it kept on towards us with its fin up in the air. Suddenly there was a huge cloud of sand in the water, and the whale went directly underneath our boat! Although we were too busy trying to get out of the way to check the depth sounder, nevertheless we are fairly certain we were in less than 20 feet of water when it went underneath. As our sailboat draws about 4 feet, that means it was a close one, as this 35-40 ft (est) animal only had 15 ft of depth (at most) to squeeze by. It didn't surface again until it was quite a long way off. This is as close an encounter as I care to have, thank you.
Susan Ridgley
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We headed south on our 12.30pm tour and skipper Trev sighted a Humpback Whale approx 2 miles south of Constance Bank. The Humpback was in hunting mode and changed direction several times whilst doing 4-8 minute dives. From a small white mark near the Dorsal fin I managed to identify that this Humpback has been seen in the area in previous years.Regards,
Andrew Lees, Five Star Whale Watching
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Caroline Spehar, naturalist for Mystic Sea Charters, relayed some great reports of watching all 3 pods of Southern Residents as they came out of Active Pass, heading west to east, becoming VERY active as they exited Active Pass. They were feeding and exhibiting all kinds of breaching, rolling, tail lobs, pec slaps, etc - basically "partying and showing off"!
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Not quite light, at 5 am, we awoke and went outside to hear lots of orca blows, couldn't even see who, going N in Haro Strait, just north of Bellevue Pt. Sea was still and quiet, but when the wind got cold at 5:30 we went back to bed. Up again at 6, more blows, they were fishing. There were a few breaches and spyhops.
Jim & Mimi on the west side of SJI

August 1, 2009

We encountered T14 "Pender" a couple of miles NE of 10 mile point at around 12.30pm as we were heading back to Victoria. T14 was traveling north towards D'arcy Island and we saw him surface several times.
Andrew Lees, Five Star Whale Watching
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All three pods headed north together last night (7/31), but were found taking two different routes south again today. J-Pod, K-Pod, and at least the the L2s and L7s from L- Pod took a "normal" route down Boundary Pass, past Turn Point, and down to the west side of San Juan Island, but the rest of L-Pod came down Presidents Channel and San Juan Channel before heading up to reunite with the other pods. On the Western Explorer this afternoon we met up with the Ls in San Juan Channel. The L12s were in the lead, with another large group of L-Pod whales a little ways behind them. In this larger group I was able to get positive IDs of L5, L73, L84, L74, L100, L26, L90, L92, L82, and L105, so it looks like most of the family groups were probably there. After getting back to port I headed out to Land Bank on the westside of San Juan Island, where at about 5 PM I saw the last groups of Js and Ks heading south. J1 was close to shore with L53, but other than that the whales were spread out across Haro Strait.
Monika Wieland, Western Prince Naturalist, San Juan Island
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While crossing down Boundary Pass, [orcas] began passing the boat heading for the Turn Point Lighthouse (1115). As a few whales got close enough to ID, we were happy to find we were viewing J Pod & K Pod. The whales seemed to be very active, with lots of surface percussives - spyhops, tail lobs, headstands, and a few breaches by the calves. But the fireworks really got going when the whales hit the tide rips near Turn Point. They were actively working the line between the strong floodtide and the upwellings, and soon a group consisting of L2 Grace, L78 Gaia (his rakes are healing nicely), L90 Ballena began to breach one after the other. Five breaches in a row, where one whale would breach and before that one was finished, the next whale would breach. We left the whales and began to head home and discovered L Pod traveling down San Juan Channel! They were spread in groups of 7-8, with whales from mid channel all the way to shoreline. For our second trip, we joined up with the L's still moving down San Juan Channel (1530). By this time, there were only 2-3 boats on scene, all giving the whales 200 yards or more. It was amazing to see these whales working the tide - they would find the back eddies and use them to power against the current. These L's were probably the most active I've seen in quite some time with over 15 breaches, tons of tail lobs, porpoising, and other surface percussives. And for only the 3rd or 4th time in the last few years, I watched residents work the shore along Cape San Juan and Goose Island. Then the whales headed right for the Cattle Point lighthouse, giving the shore watchers a nice viewing as well. We left the whales at 1630, and they were porpoising towards Eagle Point (J's & K's by this time were at Lime Kiln, so I imagine they were hearing each other).
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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We were out on a morning tour in Canadian Waters viewing Orcas from J & K pods heading south from the Gulf Islands on their routine swim following salmon through these waters. We could hear the blows (hot moist air) being expelled through the blowhole! A few breaches, tail slaps! We were heading home when to our disbelief L pod was in San Juan Channel!! More Orcas!! Right outside our home port of Friday Harbor. This happens on occasion (once a year?), but it is really unusual and such a treat!! Despite the boats, they sure seemed to be enjoying themselves - breach after breach and tail slaps as they continued south through the channel.
Jaclyn, naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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4 transient killer whales, 1 large male, 1 smaller orca with perhaps two females. at 8:15 pm passing about 400 meters from Pipers lagoon in the Georgia Strait. There were various kayaks and small pleasure craft vessels following closely behind them all the while - frustrating to watch from shore. The orcas seemed to be checking out the rocks abeam of us where seals haul out, we had 1 seal close to us off the beach. They then passed in front of snake island, passing New Castle Island and then were passing Gabriola Island (Nanaimo side).
Chantelle Tucker
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Candi Emmons reported L pod coming down San Juan Channel this afternoon, then heading through Cattle Pass.
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Fairly large pod of Orcas just passed Saturna Island heading west. Guessing about 35-45, but water was too choppy and they were too spread out to get a good count. Numerous mature males -- no positive ID's. Last of them made Monarch Head and Java Its about 10:30 am. Mainly travelling, but some foraging possible around Java as a good number were doubling back and moving across the main flow -- lingering for 10-15 minutes. Average amount of breaching, fluking etc.
Miles Ritter, Saturna Island
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Orca Network received a call from Jessie Glenden of WDFW, saying he'd talked to several Tuna fishermen at Westport WA, & around noon they saw 2 adult orcas & 1 calf at 46 51N, 124 38W.




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