June 2010 Whale Sightings

August 31, 2010

Do you have any idea who the [orcas] were that we heard last night in the Sansum Narrows? I was sleeping out on the covered porch and was woken up at 1:30 am to the sound of tons of blows. I raced up to the cottage to tell our guests who have been here many times! And they thought the house was on fire! We all ran down to the dock in our PJ's and listened for a whole hour. There seemed to be lots and lots of whales.
(Phoebe talking now) At first you couldn't see anything but then blurry black shapes appeared, turning into fins, getting closer, and then disappearing into the water. There was a sense of awesome power in the whales movements, sounds,and even in the air. You were thankful to see it but also terrified. Later that night an otter family hid under the dock, afraid of the whales but also, like us, in awe.
(This is Anna) It was magical to be standing on the dock with Jupiter shining brightly above with the whales blowing constantly. They were blowing and splashing so much that there were waves lapping at the dock. It sounded like there were about 60 or more whales. In the morning it felt like a dream.
Tamar Griggs, Bold Bluff, Salt Spring Island
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10:50 pm heard few calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones, then quiet.
Alisa Lemire Brooks (via Facebook)
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~10:30 pm: Some calls on Lime Kiln.
Bonnie Monteleone & Uko Gorter (via Facebook)
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~6:30 pm Just heard a few calls on the OrcaSound hydrophone.
Gayle Swigart (via Facebook)
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~6:30 Hearing faint calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Vikki White (via Facebook)
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~6:30 pm - Still hearing faint calls LOUD on Orcasound.
Holli Balowaara (via Facebook)
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6:30 pm - I have been listening to some wonderful Orca calls and echolocation clicks for the past 60mins on the Lime Kilm Hydrophone. Presumably SR's sounds. It must be party time once again, even in the rain.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Victoria B.C.
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4:07 pm - orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones; 4:44 pm orca calls at Orca Sound; 5:11 pm Orca are still at Lime Kiln as well as OrcaSound; 6:48 pm orca calls at Lime Kiln; 10:29 pm, Orca calls at Lime Kiln.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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About 2:30 this afternoon, the first of a spread out, very large group of [orcas] entered Active Pass, swimming eastward. At one point, there were several different groups in the pass and it was hard to figure out which one to watch. Lots of resting lines, fishing activity, spyhops, breaches, and tail slaps.
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island
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About 2:00PM we observed five Orcas just outside Ladysmith Harbour (Nanaimo) (N49 00; W 123 48). There appeared to be two adult females, a juvenile female and two young. They exhibited classic salmon feeding behavior and swam around us for about an hour. We got some grainy photos and are trying to identify them.
Dave Twyver
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My husband happened to scan the water tonight (even though it was a rainy, dreary day) and he spotted what appeared to be J-pod (but we're thinking more likely the Transient pod that was in Puget Sound? ON) having a major party out in front of our house. We are located just north of Edmonds and a little south of Browns Bay. There were 9-12 [orcas], and at least one of them was a baby. The pod was fairly close to our shore, and was slowly moving north at 6:45pm. One of the whales had an enormous dorsal fin, and we're guessing that was probably Ruffles. We saw around 15 breaches (a few of them were babies), a couple of rolls with fantastic pectoral fin action, and too many tail slaps to count. The pod party went on for 1/2 hour, and they all disappeared after that. It was the best whale show we've ever seen, and we've lived here for 8 years now.
Laurie and Paul, Edmonds, WA
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Group of three orcas, one large fin, one medium fin, one small fin at 1045 ADT in position: 60* 55 N & 175* 08 W - Bering Sea. Did not look like they were heading in any certain direction, they seemed to be feeding in the area.
Rick Verlini, Capt RV Wecoma

August 30, 2010

Orca sighting in Hammersley Inlet, 5 total. 2 adults & 3 babies.
Margaret Henry (forwarded by Ralph Munro)
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And this video of the Transients in Hammersley Inlet.
Theresa Henderson (forwarded by Ralph Munro)
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After searching for reported transients around Morsby Island and Schwartz Bay, Center staff headed to Turn Point and encountered residents milling in groups at 11:36 a.m. (48 41.146 N,123 15.992 W). The encounter ended in lower Swanson Channel at 12:46 p.m. (48 44.718 N, 123 17.960 W) with the whales traveling steadily north.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Not sure if you were aware of 4 transient whales were spotted in front of my house on Hamersley inlet, Shelton Washington. This is the second year in a row they have visited to feed on the seals. They were feeding and hanging out 8/29 & back again 8/30. Last year they visited around Sept 4th.
Wendy Allan, Shelton, Washington
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We were NORTH of the Fraser, watching Sockeyes jumping all over the place, and some Orcas . By the way, more Sockeyes this year than any year since 1913. Later on in the day, more residents were found heading south near Pt. Roberts.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Charters, San Juan Island
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Just came back from my vacation to see a superpod going through Active Pass!! As usual in the pass, we had breaches, spyhops and tail slaps.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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I'm on the west side of North Pender, just north of Thieves Bay (48.775311,-123.316898). Over 30 orca passed by here, between 12:45 p.m. and 1:15 p.m., heading north towards Active Pass. There was a tremendous amount of tail slapping going on out there, along with spyhopping and a few breaches. I even saw one of the babies porpoising alongside an adult. They went by rather slowly, and some individuals swam back south and then turned north again. Several large males went by, one probably Ruffles.
Nancy Westrell (Portland OR)
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Today we ventured to Active Pass in Canada to admire those beautiful black and white creatures known as Orcas. We caught up to the whales as they were making there way through the pass and out into open waters. There were orcas as far as the eye could see practically! This large grouping was a mix of different pods and they were very spread out. We observed parts of J pod with a small grouping of L pod nearby. In the distance large splashes were observed as the whales breached and slapped their tails. It was not long before the groups near us were doing the same actions. We even got to observe a few spy hops, which are my personal favorite.
San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island
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On the west side of San Juan Island. Lots of orcas were slowly headed north, many in groups. There was a breaching contest way offshore.
Jane Cogan
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9:17am - Seeing orcas on the Orcacam ! Looked like several whales going north through the straight. Definitely a pod, we think Jpod from the sounds coming from Orcasound hyrdophone. Incredible. Saw tail lobs and other fun stuff. Also saw a baby orca!
Jay Schilling (via Facebook)
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Jill Nylan called at 9:08 AM to report 15-20 orcas going past Lime Kiln park headed north.
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S1,2,10,16 and many other clear calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones now, first auto-detected at 8:20 am, but not at Orcasound earlier, so maybe they are northbound. 9:24 am, S19 calls and clicks now at OrcaSound from northbound SRKWs.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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7:55am Starting to hear FAINT calls @ Lime Kiln Hydrophones now! 8:27am Loud and Clear now! 9:12am Hearing them on Orcasound also.
Jaime Castro (via Facebook)
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Monday 8:45am Lime Kiln hydrophone - WOW!
Kim Kunz Norton (via Facebook)
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Mike ? called Orca Network to report 1 large male orca in Discovery Passage, west of Cape Mudge heading north slowly at 3:35 pm.
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Whales on Hammersley Inlet, Shelton Sun and Mon Aug 29th and 30th. Spotted heading east out of inlet at 10:10 am - 5 orcas, 3 adults and 2 smaller whales. Spotted 6 orcas heading east out of inlet at 10:50 am. Then numerous times throughout the day. 2 large males. It is currently 4:36 pm.
Dorothy Brinz
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Lots of media reports this morning of a lone gray whale swimming near the Dundarave pier in West Vancouver. Approx lat/long coordinates would be: N 49 20.047', W 123 11.266. This is along the North shoreline of Vancouver's outer harbour, West of the Lions Gate bridge, roughly halfway to the lighthouse at Point Atkinson, which demarcates the outer limit of the harbour.
Perry Edwards

August 29, 2010

Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research encountered the T99's with T37 off Jones Island at 12:58 p.m. (48 63. 858 N,123 02.263 W). They made a harbor seal kill. The encounter ended at 1:45 p.m. still SE of Jones Island ( 48 60.361 N, 123 02.737 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Faint calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone at 11:30 am.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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~10:30 am: Am hearing some whale sounds on Orcasound hydrophones amid the ship sounds.
Caprice Hinshaw Kutz (via Facebook)
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Orca Network received a message from a caller reporting 4 orcas in Rocky Bay (NE San Juan Island?), heading south down the inlet. He had been watching them from 3 - 4 pm.
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At noon today, 4 orcas heading north in pickering passage near north end of squaxin island! All looked pretty close in size viewed from about 1/4 mile.
Patrick Brennan, Seattle
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Susan Rabago called Orca Network at 10:32 am to say she was watching at least 4 orcas - 1 male and 3 smaller including one very small - in Oakland Bay (Shelton, WA), with 3 boats and a kayak close by. As she spoke they turned SE into Hammersley Inlet.
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This morning my husband and I saw 3 orcas traveling south to north along the west side of Squaxin Island (S. Puget Sound) about 7 a.m. None of them had a big fin.
Molly Brown
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Watched as what looked to be three orcas moved north up Oakland Bay near Shelton with the flooding tide, then when the tide turned they retreated to the south, where the bay connects to Hammersley Inlet which is the connection to the main sound. There was one orca who was larger, a mid-size and a smaller one in this group. We watched from the porch of our house which is about at the middle of the bay between Shelton and the Deer Creek peninsula that is the northern boundary of the main bay.
Nate Thomas
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lots of orcas just swam past false bay (west SJI) going south at 1:24pm.
Melisa Pinnow (via Facebook)

August 28, 2010

2pm, in Pickering Passage, South Puget Sound - 4 orca, 3 large, one small.
Phyllis and Robert Isbell, Grapeview, WA
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J,K,and L pods were encountered 1 mile west of Turn Point at 2:48 p.m. (48 40.91 N,123 15.54W) by Center for Whale Research staff. The whales were traveling north. The encounter ended just north of Kellett Bluff at 5:10 p.m. (48 36.75 N,123 12.46 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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5 p.m. sighted approx 4 orca traveling "up" Case Inlet heading north west. They were just south of Heron Island when I saw them. Several boats and jet skis in the area were following, most at a respectful distance.
Charlotte Smothers
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Chris Kennedy of WA State Ferry Ops reported the ferry Chelan captain saw 8-10 orcas in Haro St., near Danger Shoal, headed north at 1622.
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So. Resident Killer Whales in Haro Strait crossing over to Canada at the confluence with Boundary Pass. Spread out in small groups of 1-4 with some active foraging and percussive behaviors.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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2:15 pm - [orcas] are already passing Kellet Bluff, Haro Strait.
John Boyd (via Facebook)
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Calls on Orca Sound hydrophones at 12:15 pm - the orcas are heading north up west San Juan Island.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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11:08 am - orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones, at 12:11 pm calls on OrcaSound hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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[Orcas] are passing by OrcaSound hydrphone heading North at approximately 11:45 am. No calls being heard but whales could be seen by the Center's OrcaCam. Whale breached twice.
Cathy Bacon, Marine Mammal Research Assistant, Smultea Environmental Sciences, LLC (SES)
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11:15 am - Orca chatter (sounds like giggling) on Lime Kiln!
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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Very weak calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones at 7:18 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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I think we arrived at Lime Kiln around 1:45 or so. Within moments, blows were spotted to the south. Soon, [orcas] were right in front of us delighting all with their presence. It was so cool to be so close to them from land. We could hear them breathe and binoculars were not needed for a good look. My 16 yr old declared the day to be pretty awesome and I couldn't agree more. We saw some tail slapping and a spyhop. Our guide, who was fabulous but who's name I don't recall, said she saw some cartwheeling while they were still a ways out. She also said they seemed to be foraging. We saw quite a few spread over 90 min. or so.
Lori Willson, Seattle, WA
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7:30 am - fun to watch a minke surface off the south end of Lopez Island in the herring balls and scatter the gulls, minke was fairly close to shore, several changes in direction.
Sally Reeve, Lopez Island, WA

August 27, 2010

On Capt Jim Maya's boat, off in the distance, the transients leave us after spending some time together.
robin mann
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1500-1600 we viewed transient orcas T168, T168A, T168B and T169 traveling SW down Boundary Pass parallel to Saturna Island. They were offshore and seemed to be resting. There was only one instance of milling, which was over very quickly and no apparent foraging.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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1400-1415 a minke whale crossed our path traveling NE across San Juan Channel from San Juan Island towards Neck Point on Shaw Island. He was transiting at moderate speed keeping a steady heading.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Nice clear calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones, ~10:30 pm.
Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Some Faint calls on lime Liln right now (~10:30 pm)!
Candice Smith (via Facebook)
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~9:30 pm: Southern Residents on Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Gayle Swigart
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones, 8:20, 8:51, and 9:33 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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I spent some time listening to our beloved orcas tonight via the Lime Kiln hydrophone. I first heard them at 9pm. They sounded very faint at that time. By 9:11 they seemed to be very close by. 9:13 they began to vocalize more and more energetically.
Kelli Wolford of Portland, Or
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I believe all three pods returned into the area after heading west this morning.
Andrew Lees (via Facebook)

August 26, 2010

Spotted Orcas heading South in the Tacoma Narrows right in front of Doc Hastings Park (Now called Narrows bridge park) at 13:30 hours. They were not in a big hurry and were headed to Fox Island. Not sure what pod they are from.
Capt Jim Keith, Fox Island Salmon Charters
this is most likely a pod of Transients, possibly the same pod reported in the other sightings above in S. Puget Sound - ON.
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Listening to a chorus of orca calls on the OrcaSound hydrophone (NW San Juan Island) while putting together today's whale report! Tuned in at 4:30 pm, calls continuing until about 5 pm, then at 5:30 pm began to hear faint calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone, so they must be heading south.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Isl.
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5:32 pm: Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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Occasional resident calls off of Lime Kiln - 4pm PST.
Annika Bowden (via Facebook)
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I hear the orca calls on orcasound right now (4 pm), and its beautiful!
Barbara Eno (via Facebook)
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3:58 PM - Calls just started on Orca Sound hydrophones.
Monika Wieland

August 25, 2010

We had an after dinner treat in three parts this evening. Starting around 7:40 pm, the first of 3 groups of orcas entered Active Pass, heading east. In the first bunch was Mr. Ruffles. The 3rd group was the most active, with many tail slaps. It took about an hour for all of them to pass our viewpoint on Galiano Island and head into the light of the moonrise.
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island, B.C.
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Center for Whale Research staff Dave Ellifrit, Stewart Macintyre, Kathy Babiak, and Ken Balcomb encountered spread out [orcas] on the west side of San Juan Island heading North at 2:49 p.m. (48 32.42 N; 123 12.58 W). Members from all three pods were seen. The Encounter ended off Stuart Island at 4:24 p.m. (48 35.88 N; 123 11.98 W) after staff received a report of transients at Beaumont Shoals (see Transient report below).
Center for Whale Research
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Watching orcas swimming north past the Center for Whale Research, NW San Juan Island, on Orca Cam at 3:10 pm!!
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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2:36 pm: At present, there are some orca sounds in the background at Lime Kiln hydrophones. Maybe S16 from what I've heard. Greets from Switzerland,
Dan
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Some of our Southern Residents were spy-hopping, porpoising and breaching between Lime Kiln and Victoria around 2.00 pm - not sure who was out there as choppy seas made ID difficult, but our passengers were just happy to see whales!
Sandra Pollard, SSAMN, Freeland, Whidbey Island
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I hear Orcas at LimeKiln hydrophones at 2:13pm! sounds like K or L pod - a bit distant!! 2:29 pm: Now I'm hearing Jpod come through
Jay Schilling (via Facebook)
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2:14 pm: yes, hearing faint calls on Lime Kiln too.
Alisa Lemire Brooks (via Facebook)
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The T018's were found again in the afternoon just north of Beaumont Shoals. I left them with Dave Ellifrit and Ken Balcomb just north of Limekiln headed north west along the San Juan shoreline at 1715. It looked as though they took out a harbor porpoise south of Edwards Point.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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While with residents, Center for Whale Research staff Ken Balcomb, Dave Ellifirt, Kathy Babiak and Stewart Macintyre received a report of transients on the westside of San Juan Island. They encountered the T18s traveling steadily north off Lime Kiln at 5:07 p.m. (48 31.51 ; 123 10.07 W), and remained with them up to Open Bay, at 5:52 p.m.(48 34.63 N; 123 10.86 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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We went out (from Monterey Bay, CA) with Nancy Black her Company, perfect trip and nice people. We did not see any blues - but saw 3 humpbacks (see tailslapping humpback here), and a Nursing group of Risso's dolphins @ Monterey bay, more in the Canyon.
Peter Pijpelink, the Netherlands

August 24, 2010

Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone at 8:23 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Orca calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone! at 8:22pm.
Gayle Swigart (via Facebook)
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I heard one call when I turned on OrcaSound hydrophones at 5:27 pm, then nothing until 5:55 pm I heard another call, then a few more in the next 10 minutes or so.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones 3:57 pm, at OrcaSound at 4:27 pm and still at Lime Kiln at 4:33 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olymia, WA
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3:48 pm - Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Dawn Trybjorn
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We were now on our way towards Salmon Bank just off the west side of San Juan Island to see the Orcas. Well it's been about 4 days since I've seen Ruffles (J-1) and I was very excited to see his big wavy fin today. There was lots of social activity today and members of different pods were seen mixing and mingling. The Orcas were not the only show around though. A minke whale appeared traveling right in the middle of the orcas. Captain Mike alerted everyone to all of the bubbles appearing at the bow. The water was crystal clear and as he looked down a minke slid gracefully beneath our boat. We were eye to eye with the Minke whale since he was turned sideways staring up - perhaps he was out people watching?
San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island
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Orca Network received a call from James Noakes reporting four killer whales very near Deep Bay, 30 miles north of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC, traveling south at 4 pm.
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Position: 54* 04N & 166* 36W, just north of Dutch Harbor, AK at 1115 ADT, spotted five to six killer whales. Seemed to be two large males, few medium sized dorsal fins, and one very small dorsal fin that seemed to be lagging behind. The whales were heading to the east. We do have two bird observers aboard for the cruise and I think they might of snapped a picture of one or two of the whales.
Rick Verlini, Captain RV Wecoma

August 23, 2010

A distant sighting of orcas against a sunset from the Queen of Nanaimo Gulf Island ferry just off Tsawwassen, around 7:45 pm. The group was very spread out and moved leisurely.
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island, BC
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1:13 am - calls on OrcaSound hydrophone. There was quite a parade of killer whales up Haro Strait tonight. At least 15 individuals were visible tail lobbing and splashing in the gibbous moonlight as they traveled northward only 30-50m offshore around midnight. A (last?) smaller group (of 3-4) passed around 01:25 without making calls and may have been resting (breathing synchronously).
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach
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Today they were headed for the Fraser River. But we also had the L12s down at the south end of the island!
John Boyd (via Facebook)
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Loud calls and whistles again at Lime Kiln, 12:05 am. We heard some calls at OrcaSound as a ship was going through, then more calls at Lime Kiln - a noisy party still going on!
Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA

August 22, 2010

9pm - Hear several calls but faint!!! 10:59 pm The orca calls died down some but are now back strong with some pauses at 10:57pm @ Lime Kiln hydrophone! J pod I believe!
Jay Schilling (via Facebook)
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8:45 pm and 9:42 pm - Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones. 10:47 pm - orca are kind-da still at Lime Kiln.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Beautiful sounds of the So. Residents at Lime Kiln this hour. 9.45pm. So many different whistles, clicks and squeals. Quite the concert this evening.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Victoria, B.C.
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9:25 pm: So. Resident calls and clicks on Lime Kiln hydrophones. Not previously on OrcaSound, so likely northbound.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound
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8:45 pm: faint calls @ lime kiln!
Christine Swedell (via Facebook)
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11:11 pm, calls and clicks just started at OrcaSound hydrophones.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach
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We had Js and Ks pass San Juan island around midnight and head north.
John Boyd (via Facebook)
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9:35 pm: Fantastic clear calls on Lime Kiln now! Maybe all three pods from earlier reports.
Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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Jeff LaMarche of Eagle Wing charters called at 3:50 pm to relay a report of Js, Ks and Ls off Sooke, S. Vancouver Island, heading east, back IN - yay!
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Orca Network received a call from Eric Hauck, reporting a sighting of two orcas off Sea Lion Caves, north of Florence, OR at 4:30 pm heading south with a purpose. There were seals and sea lions around, a few in the water but most on the rocks, but the whales just kept moving and didn't stop to hunt.

August 21, 2010

Orca Network received a call from Gary Thorsen, reporting a female and two juvenile orcas at the 45 x 125 line, about 25-30 miles off Newport OR.
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Breathtaking encounter with 2 very Acrobatic Humpback in the morning! We were only a few miles south of Victoria this morning when 2 Humpback Whales, a Mother and Calf, were spotted. The first glimpse of the Humpbacks I had was when the youngster Cartwheeled, and we were still a couple of miles away from the scene. Not long after we arrived on scene the young Calf began to cartwheel and tail lob, then suddenly to everyone's delight the youngster breached multiple times, it was amazing! Then the mother also Cartwheeled and tail slapped, we even had the two animals doing synchronized tail lobs: ) We left the two Humpbacks just heading East towards Dungeness Spit into the fog after an amazing encounter!
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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Once again, mother Humpback Whale and her youngster were seen out there in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, south of Victoria, entertaining the WW boats. Conditions were very challenging at 4.30pm. I do believe with the wind at 25-30knots, and the water at a 3ft chop or more, those whales were totally energised. The spectacle certainly got me excited. They breached repeatedly, tail and pec slapped the surface for 45 mins. The youngster appeared to imitate the mother especially when it came to pec slaps. They headed off toward the west when we left them. Totally amazing encounter.
Marie, Orca-Magic, Prince of Whales, Victoria BC.

August 20, 2010

We caught up with a couple of obliging Minke whales around 2.00 pm foraging between Sucia and Patos.
Sandra Pollard, SSAMN, Freeland, Whidbey Island
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I went out on Dolphin Surveys. We cut across the bay at PG and headed towards Capitola, Monterey Bay CA. On the north side of the "Soquel Hole" we ran into a pod of 5 Orcas. The largest one has the cut dorsal fin. When I first saw it I thought it was a submarine conning tower. Anyway, the orcas dove and 4 of them came up at the back of the 20 foot boat - 2 on each side. The photo looking at the blow hole also has the side cleat for the boat bumpers in the left corner of the photo. They bumped the boat and then moved off and kept heading their original direction. Fortunately they were just curious (or putting us in our place) and not hungry or aggressive. We've seen just about everything crossing the bay but there is something about being in a 20 foot boat and being checked out by Orcas. They sure didn't have to worry about us harassing them.
Robert Scoles, Monterey Bay Aquarium volunteer, Monterey, CA
And from Alisa Schulman-Janiger, these IDs of the orcas photographed: Thanks so much for sending on these killer whale pics from yesterday's Dolphin Surveys! Robert saw some well-known transients that frequent Monterey Bay. I call the male "Chopfin" (in photo shown). He is also known as CA217 (N29). He was first photographed in 1998 off of Santa Catalina Island in southern California with the other whale you sent: CA216 (N28). He has been seen as far north as Washington, and as far south as Dana Point, CA. Very few of our killer whale have such damaged fins; he is quite recognizable. Thanks again!
Alisa Schulman-Janiger, California Killer Whale Project, ACS/LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project

August 19, 2010

Around two pm we were on a whale watch boat off the west side of San Juan Island (I believe that we were just south of False Bay) and we encountered maybe a dozen Southern Residents. We were able to positively identify L-85 and I believe L-47 as well. Others on our boat captured images that the naturalist identified as being members of K-pod. The orcas were spread out over an area of maybe 400 yards, but four of them kept getting quite close to our boat, and one even came up directly underneath us.
Elizabeth G. Logue
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We were with the superpod on the west side of San Juan Island, and several passengers got pictures of a female breaching. I was taking a look at the pictures afterward, trying to identify the individuals, and I think it was J2 Granny! There's the little curved notch in the middle of her straight dorsal fin, and her right side saddle patch has that long skinny tail reaching forward. I asked several passengers to send me their breaching pictures; so far the only one I've received is this one by Bob Miszuk (above photo). If you open it on full resolution you should be able to see the identifying marks I saw - what do you think? Is that her? If it is, how wonderful to know she's still feeling so spry at her age!
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
Yup, it's Granny and she still has a lot of spunk! ON
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5:50 pm: I think I hear [orcas] on the Lime Kiln Hydrophone!
Kace Ayres (via Facebook)
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We got to spend some time with K12, her new calf K43 and K37. K12 seemed preoccupied with fishing but her calf was all over her with tail slaps and breaches, the little one had everyone on the boat laughing at it's antics. K37 (Rainshadow) came along and took care of his new brother/sister with a little bit of playing and affection. I think that K43 is showing some mammary slits? Possibly a baby girl!
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver

August 18, 2010

5:45 pm: They've (So Resident orcas) been around all afternoon, spread half way across the Strait.
Paul MacMahon (via Facebook)
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4:55pm hearing calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Alisa Lemire Brooks (via Facebook)
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3:42 pm: Orcas on Lime Kiln! It is music to my ears!
Beth Phelps (via Facebook)
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3:34 pm: I think that I'm hearing calls on Lime Kiln - AGAIN today!! Yay!
Susan Ronken (via Facebook)
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3:34 pm: Still some faint calls on OrcaSound hydrophones - sporadic.
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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2 pm: Great calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones. 3:33 pm: Now hearing some faint calls on the OrcaSound hydrophones, further north up the west side of San Juan Island. Calls on Lime Kiln again/still?!, at 4:23 pm!
Susan Berta, Orca Network
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2 pm: Starting to hear faint calls with some time between call @ Lime Kiln.
Jaime Castro (via Facebook)
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Between 15-20 orca seen at Lime Kiln State Park. They were mostly traveling north, but several stayed in the waters right around the lighthouse (swimming both north and south) for quite some time between 1:30 and 4:30 pm. They were feeding on salmon and there were several males among them. The staff at the lighthouse identified them as J and K pod whales by the calls on the hydrophone.
Tami Sindelman
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Just switched on the hydrophone at LimeKiln and heard orca whale calls with active boats in the area @ 1:35pm. Just a few calls however.
Jay Schilling, Orting, WA
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I just got a pic this morning (of L115 & mom L47) at 7:30 am, as the whales passed by at Lime Kiln Lighthouse!
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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6:45 am: morning wake up with the Orca calls on OrcaSound.
Alisa Lemire Brooks (via Facebook)
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales called to report probably all 3 pods at noon are around Hein Bank. Some went past Hannah Heights around 7 am, others came down Rosario.

August 17, 2010

We received more information about the two orcas sighted off the WA Coast by Jeff Harris of NOAA Fisheries - they were observed at 1530, SW of Neah Bay (48 16'36.37N; 124 56'55.95W); and ID'd by Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research and Graeme Ellis of DFO's Pacific Biological Field Station as Transient orcas T7 and T7A.
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales called to report the L22's, L85, L12's L77, L41 etc came down from Turn Point along the west side of San Juan Is. The others went north to Coal Docks.
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Superpod! As usual they impressed us with tons of breaches, tail slaps, pec slaps and lots more! We were lucky to spend time with members from all three pods. First with the J2 matriline, then with L26, L84, K21, K40 and many others, topped off by a pass from J28 and her calf J46. The whales were about 5 miles north of Active Pass in the Strait of Georgia
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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At approximately 3 PM members of J, K and L pods slowly passed by Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts Washington. A lot of foraging and a little one did a few consecutive breaches. The many 50 plus orcas were spread out over miles. They navigated around the gill netters and purse seiners.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Founding Director, Pt. Roberts, WA
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At 1:00 PM L12, L85, L89, L41, L25, L77, L94, L113, L22, and L79 passed Lime Kiln Lighthouse heading south.
Monika Wieland, Friday Harbor, WA
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12:56 pm - orca calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA 1:50 pm: Interesting chatter on Lime Kiln hydrophones!
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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At 1:00 PM L12, L85, L89, L41, L25, L77, L94, L113, L22, and L79 passed Lime Kiln Lighthouse heading south.
Monika Wieland, Friday Harbor, WA
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones, 12:56 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln (5:55am Pacific).
Alisa Lemire Brooks (via Facebook)
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales relayed a report of Transients NE of Orcas Island.

August 16, 2010

It isn't always on a trip that one gets to see family groups traveling tightly as a unit but that was what was happening. As far as the eye could see, many of the SR Orca were coming in from the west past Discovery Island at 5pm. We saw J14, and all her family with little, J45 breaching all over the place. One could see he is a little boy that was for sure! Granny and Ruffles traveled too with this group and were enjoying the exuberance of the little one. A very magical experience. They continued to travel east and north up Haro Strait at 5.30pm.
Marie, Orca-Magic. Prince of Whales, Victoria.BC
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While with transients we received a report of residents inbound at race rocks. After leaving the T18's CWR staff Dave Ellifrit, Emma Foster, Stewart Macintyre, and Kathy Babiak headed out to catch up with them. We encountered L83, L110, L47, L115, L95 and L91 in a tight group heading east at 3:37 p.m.(48 25.34 N; 123 06.76 W). We also encountered L55 and L82, with L106, L112, L109, L103 and L27 in a tight group. Later we came across L54, L5, L72, L105, L26, L90, L92 and L41 loosely grouped traveling north east. There was some surface activity and a lot of tactile behavior. We ended the encounter with L84, L54, L100 and a couple of others spread out and milling at 5:03 p.m. (48 27.29 N; 123 05.83 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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We had just traveled from the west having seen a mother and calf Humpback Whale south at Constance Bank, in the strait of Juan de Fuca. The youngster too was breaching all over the place close to its mom. It was very windy and rough in those waters so it seemed the humpbacks were enjoying the texture and were full of energy. They continued to travel west at 4.45pm. We then joined the Orca and were thrilled by their antics (see above report). These are such happy whales right now!
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Prince of Whales, Victoria, BC.
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There were four Transients circling Patos Island for many hours. There were countless tail fluke slaps, breaches, head views and lots more. It was chaotic with all the pleasure boats and a whale watch company circling the island with them.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Founding Director, Pt. Roberts, WA
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Center for Whale Reserach vessels and staff encountered T18, T19, T19B, and T19C off the Java Islets shoreline (48 43.623 N; 123 09.929 W) at 11:36 a.m. We arrived on scene to witness the end of T19B attacking a harbor porpoise. He made several big lunges before he rejoined T19, T19C and T18. We followed them up Boundary Pass and observed them actively hunting around the Java Islets, before leaving them heading NE off East Point at 2:07 p.m.(48 48.49 N;123 00.009 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Ken Balcomb encountered the T10's off Kellett Bluff at 10:10 a.m. The whales were traveling north toward Mandarte Island. The encounter ended off Danger Shoal at 10:45. Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Steppe Williford, on board Saratoga Sue, called in a report of 4 orcas, close to shore, heading west toward Spieden Island, at 10:15 am.
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones, 5:53 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA

August 15, 2010

AM Trip on the Western Explorer: Enjoyed small foraging groups in the Salmon Bank Area. Members of all three pods were present with definite ID's of J2, J27, L22, L89, K40 and many more. It was great to see the whales in relaxed social groups. There was definitely some foraging going on and JB and I were delighted (as only naturalist could be) to see L89 surface upside down while peeing! It was a first for both of us.
PM Trip on the Western Explorer: I was just reading the reports from the 15th and surprised to see that there was little information regarding the whales activities from when they were at Pt. Lawrence to exiting Cattle Pass. Well everything in between was absolutely amazing! We had second hand information that they had come through Peavine Pass heading West. We had heard that they were very active (going nuts). Captain John Boyd and I aboard the Western Explorer picked them up as they came around Upright head by the Lopez ferry terminal. They were in big groups and very active. Many of them hugged the steep cliffs breaching close to shore. Many more had taken a wider path and let me tell you there was no break in the action. It was countless breaches, cartwheels, spyhops, tail slaps, belly flops, you name it it was happening! This continued for the hour that we were with them as they rounded Flat Point and headed into San Juan Channel. The Soundwatch crew were champions as they quickly addressed as many boats as possible in this busy channel. We only ID'd a few whales during this amazing encounter, but definitely members of L and K pods including L-72, and K-12, and K-34. As we started to head home we got another glimpse of the whales going by Goose Island and then exiting Cattle Pass.
Alison Engle, Naturalist , Western Explorer, Friday Harbor
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We got to see L pod from the ferry today as we were leaving Lopez Island terminal! The ferry slowed down, we were already behind as it was, and we got to see and take some nice active shots from a distance off the port side of the ferry. I don't remember the name of that channel there - but it was out from the Lopez Island ferry terminal dock.
Vickie & Ethan Doyle
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At 5:15 PM this evening a large group of K and L Pod whales made their way through Cattle Pass, traveling just offshore of the Cattle Point Lighthouse. They were reported in the north end of Rosario this morning, then made their way west through the San Juan Islands and down San Juan Channel. After going through the Pass they started making their way north and offshore, towards the other group of residents. A full list of who I was able to ID as well as some photos will be on my blog tonight.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island, Watching from shore
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Lazy, hazy days of summer - seems our spread out Southern Residents picked up on that as they foraged near Salmon Bank around 1.30 pm. Ruffles (J1) passed by on a mission as did Cappucino (K21), while a Mum and baby lolled together in the kelp. This gentle, intimate scene was every bit as rewarding to see as any acrobatic activity.
Sandra Pollard, SSAMN, Freeland, WI
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Dave Robinson called in a report of about 20 orcas, 1-2 pm,heading south in groups of 3-4, 50-100' off Pt. Lawrence ,Orcas Island.
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You probably already have this information, but we saw, from Pt. Lawrence, Orcas Island, at 1-1:30 pm 18-20 orcas, heading south down Rosario Strait, 30-50 ft. off Pt. Lawrence. They were spyhopping, breaching, fluke slapping, flipper slapping, a lot of porpoising--animals were cruising along in groups of 1 to 4-5 in groups, separated by about 30 seconds. They didn't appear to be feeding, just traveling through the area. Males, females, juveniles; there were at least two large males, dorsals around 6 ft. We've never seen whales in this area before--but we don't hike out to Pt. Lawrence often.
Nancy Reichley
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Orca calls@Lime Kiln - 8:55 am!
Christine Swedell (via Facebook)
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I am hearing calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones right now, 8:52 am.
Sandy P
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Lots of chatter on OrcaSound (7:50am).
Alisa Lemire Brooks (via Facebook)
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7:16 am: Orca calls on OrcaSound hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Amidst all the fun with whales (orcas) today, we just found a lone minke whale foraging off of hannah heights approx 4:40. Several boats in the area stopped to watch at a very respectful distance - nice to have a whale in the area as the residents are further south this afternoon.
Sandy Buckley, San Juan Island
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This Gray whale seems to be enjoying the scenery over on the Canadian side, particularly the Chatham and Discovery Islands of late. He/she has been seen frequently, but not always, along the Oak Bay waterfront of Vancouver Island, and as far as the harbour entrance to Victoria for the past month or more. It appears to be healthy and able to dodge all the summer traffic, of boats and Kayaks. It is a relatively slow moving animal that enjoys hanging about in kelp beds these days.
Marie, Orca-Magic,' Prince of Whales.' Victoria BC.

August 14, 2010

We saw what we believe were two Pacific White Sided Dolphins playing near the surf off of Rialto Beach (near La Push WA, Olympic Peninsula. We've seen tons of Harbor Porpoises in the past but these were larger and lighter in coloring. They were jumping and having a wonderful time.
Elizabeth G. Logue Thank YOU! Cheryl Rose called Orca Network to report a sighting of 5 Transients near Mittlenach Island, BC (middle of northern Georgia St.). There was one big male and a smaller male, a female and two juveniles. The smaller male went through a 20' gap into a bay where the others were and they all ate seals for about 15 minutes.
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Vessel Shachi departed Snug Harbor at 7:34 a.m. and Center for Whale Research staff Dave Ellifrit, Stewart Macintyre, and Kathy Babiak encountered whales milling off Kanaka Bay (48 28.96 N; 123 06.34 W) at 7:53 a.m. J's K's and L's were in mixed tight groups traveling slowly north. The encounter ended a mile and a half off Lime Kiln State Park (48 52.19 N; 123 17.89 W) just before 10:00 a.m.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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We waited all week for the whales to pass Point Roberts, and finally we heard a pod of [orcas] between 10 and 11 pm. Based on the number, direction, and frequency of the blows, there were many whales passing in groups of 3 -4; they were moving steadily South.
Sandra Scott
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In between vessel surveys @ Cattle Point today I was taking in some vitamin D when I spotted an Orca way offshore at South Beach @3:09 PM. Two more appeared so I drove to Cattle Point to see the rest. They must have changed direction. I did count 50 vessels from 4:00 to 5:00 at Cattle Point. Amazing amount of vessel traffic due to great weather.
Vicky Miller, SSAMN Member
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This morning at 9am, we watched both a minke whale and a steller sea lion cruising east-to-west off Flint Beach, South Lopez. At 2:15pm there was a solitary minke headed west-to-east off of Aleck Bay, South Lopez.
Tom Reeve, Lopez Island
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11 am: Calls on Orcasound hydrophone, although masked by boat noise. Noon: Orcas on the OrcaCam (NW San Juan Island)!
Kristina Polk (via facebook)
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10 am: still calls on Lime Kiln, also some boat noise.
Sarah Schmidt Berger (via facebook)
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9:29 am: Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones. 10 am: Orca at OrcaSound hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia WA
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nice loud chatter on lime kiln hydro 9:16 am!
Christine Swedell (via facebook)
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9 am: Calls @ Lime Kiln now.
Jaime Castro (via facebook)

August 13, 2010

We heard orcas at 11:30pm last night by the LimeKiln hydrophones. It was for about 10 - 15 min. We love hearing those orcas!
Jay Schilling
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7:12 pm: orca calls at Lime Kiln.
8:02 pm - calls at Lime Kiln.
9:04 pm: Orca off in the back ground at Lime Kiln.
10:09: Still hear Orca at Lime Kiln.
11:04 pm: Orcas still at Lime Kiln.

Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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9 pm: still lots of calls on Lime Kiln!
Sarah Schmidt Berger (via facebook)
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6:10 pm: GREAT calls now on Lime Kiln, 7:05 - orcas heading south on OrcaCam (Ctr. for Whale Research, NW San Juan Island). 7:19 - foraging in front of the Center. Listened to Lime Kiln calls from 6:20 pm to 9 pm or later, and heard calls on Orca Sound at 7:15 pm (both w/ship & boat noise during this time). 9 pm: Hearing amazing and varied vocals on the Lime Kiln hydrophone - they are definitely having a party!- wow!
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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To return home after the 3.30pm Ocean Magic trip out of Victoria which was simply "heavenly" by the way, and turn on the hydrophones and be greeted with these extraordinary sounds at 7.30pm, is all rather intoxicating. Not only did we have this super encounter with approximately 89 Southern Resident whales coming in from the west in what is called the 'Super-pod ' experience (but they first had another experience with some Transient orcas - see below). From that encounter we connected with some of the J's and L's off Trial Island traveling fairly swiftly. We then checked out the Gray Whale that is hanging out between Chatham and Discovery Islands. Finally came the whole Southern Resident procession across the bottom of Haro Strait. It appeared to be many members of Js, Ks, and Ls. AMAZING. Imagine late tonight, as these Orca play and socialize under a dark sky filled with the Perseid meteor shower, August's famous 'shooting stars'. If only we could be there to watch the 'water show '. To think we had three different types of whale in one trip. One can't beat that especially in calm, sunny weather!
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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Lots of calls right now at Lime Kiln, plus a noisy ship - 7.25 pm.
Sandra Pollard, Freeland, WA
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7:23 pm: [Orcas] at Land Bank! Heading north - nice way to end the day! 7:25: Whales turned around and coming back to the lighthouse and close!! They are in the bay north of us! 7:40: It was one heck of a parade 5 yards from shore!! OMG members of all 3 pods - and more coming -
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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6:03 pm: Lots of calls -- sort of distant but ongoing - on the Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Debra Westwood (via Facebook)
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Here's a group of T's off the Victoria Harbour at 3.45pm. What with all that Super-Pod, Southern Resident Orca, coming in from the west and a Gray whale as well we couldn't have had a better trip.
Marie, Orca-Magic, Prince of Whales, Victoria BC.
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We found 4 Transients blocking our way out of the (Victoria) Harbour. We couldn't even leave the breakwater area as these 4 took a close look on the inside of this barrier.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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3 pm, Minke whale just off west coast of San Juan Island:
Andrew Reding
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Center for Whale Research staff departed Snug Harbor at 11:33 a.m. in the vessel Orca, and headed west toward Race Rocks. We encountered a minke whale on the way mid Haro Strait.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Last night around 7:45pm, we were watching some harbor porpoises milling about a mile east of Iceberg Point on Lopez when we got a rare treat - a harbor porpoise breach! I'm not sure why, but one of the porpoises decided to leap completely clear of the water, as if one of its partners had goosed it right as it was coming up to breathe. Pretty darn expressive for our normally self-controlled friends.
Tom Reeve, Lopez Island
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Orca Network got a call today from Jake McMaster, to report a sighting from about 700 miles west of the Columbia River, at 46.40N by 140.130W. They saw a single male orca, at around 8 pm. They said it was eating something, but they couldn't tell what. They tried to take pictures but didn't get anything.
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Mark Malleson IDd the Transients seen at the mouth of the inner Harbour of Victoria , as the T101's and T102. They came into the harbour and skulked along both sides of the Ogden Point Breakwater. Curiously a man in a Kayak was on the outside edge of this breakwater among the kelp beds and he was watching them as they approached. He must have seen them swim beneath his kayak. What a thrill or was it a heart pounding experience. We will never know!
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Prince of Whales, Victoria, BC
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Center for Whale Research staff Dave Ellifrit, Emma Foster, Erin Heydenreich, Stweart Macintyre and Ken Balcomb departed in two vessels and headed toward Race Rocks. At 12:46 we encountered the L2's in a tight group traveling slowly east (48 18.312 N; 123 30.874 W). We then encountered the J's and K's in a tight group also traveling slowly east. At 1:26 we encountered all the L's except for the L2's and L87 in a tight group going east. We confirmed that the new calf in L pod, L115, is L47's calf. We continued following the L's until they reached mid Haro Strait, off Discovery Island at 5:15 p.m (48 27.600 N; 123 09.022 W). The whales were still in tight groups traveling slowly heading northeast.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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11:30 am: At Race Rocks - residents coming in. We are with J's and Ks - heading east to Race Rocks at 12:30 pm. Just heard we have all 3 pods here, including da new lil babeh L115.
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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Fred Felleman called to relay a report from Chad Bowchop, of a pod of 15 - 20 orcas in Neah Bay at 9 am this morning, heading west.

August 12, 2010

Bob Heitzman called Orca Network to report a sighting of 2 orcas 12 miles west of Newport, OR , mid-morning. He thought it was a mother and calf. The larger one spyhopped five times, once about 40' from the boat.
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Justin Veenhuis called Orca Network about a sighting of 3 orcasat 6 AM, at 47.10.063 X 124.49.312 (about 10 miles SW of Moclips, WA), heading west. He said there was one male and one possible juvenile. He said they passed very close to his 100' steel fishing boat.
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Both Center for Whale Research vessels departed Snug Harbor at 11:00 a.m. We headed south in search for L's reported off Eagle Point, but got turned around by the fog coming up island. We turned north and headed for Boundary Pass where we encountered J's K's and a few L's heading southwest from East Point at 1:00 p.m. (48 42.990 N; 123 08.887 W). We stayed with the whales until just north of Battleship and the went south looking for the rest of the L's. After doing a loop from Iceberg Point to Hein Bank and then back to the west side we caught up with the J's and K's again off Hannah Heights. The encounter ended there with the whales still heading south at 5:03 p.m.(48 28.601 N; 123 07.740 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Southern Resident orcas between Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor, San Juan Island.
Dan Farage, Oak harbor, WA
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Susan Berta, Orca Network, heard distant calls at 1510 on OrcaSound hydrophones, Jason Wood, the Whale Museum, added they are southbound at Henry Island at 1519, and Scott Veirs is still hearing calls over boat noise on Orcasound hydrophones at 1541. 1558: Great S1, S2, S7, S10, and other calls as well as some clicks from J (and maybe K) heading south past Lime Kiln lighthouse.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones, 3:53 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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Turn Point Lighthouse, Stuart Island, was the place to be for land based viewing today as numerous members of J pod (including Ruffles, Blackberry, Granny, new Mums and babies) passed by at around 2.00 pm in a flurry of activity. Spyhops, breaches, cartwheels, porpoising, it was a joy to watch. After attending last Sunday's 40th commemoration of the Penn Cove captures, which decimated the numbers of our Southern Residents, it was a salutary moment to see Ruffles, who escaped capture more than once due to his size, escorting his family around the point.
Sandra Pollard, SSAMN, Freeland, WI
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J's and K's just south of Turn Point. Non-stop action! Breaching, tail slaps, spy hops, just a great show! A cartwheel, maybe K26, not sure though and another of a breach with Mt. Baker in the background.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Small pod of Orcas spotted today at approximately 11:30am, swimming south along Ten Mile Point, Victoria BC near Telegraph Bay. Seemed to be 4 whales - one baby i think.
cheryl alexander
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Orca Network received a call from Tony Wilkie, Quartermaster for WA State Ferries Puyallup ferry, reporting a lone whale breaching 1.3 miles west of Edwards Pt, near Edmonds, WA at 7:15 am. The whale breached 4 - 5 times, had a small dorsal fin, and was not a humpback. He was pretty sure it was a Minke, he had just never seen them breach before.

August 11, 2010

Just north of Friday Harbor and along YELLOW ISLAND and JONES I.; 7-9 TRANSIENTS traveling in a tight grouping, north up San Juan Channel; 8 pm. Group included T19b.
Deb Martyn, naturalist for Eclipse Charters
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Out on the Kenai Explorer en route to the Northwest Glacier, we first encountered Dalls Porpoise playfully riding our bow. Soon after a Mother Humpback and Calf on the North Side of Cheval Island near Aialik Bay traveling and feeding. A few minutes later as we headed further out into the Gulf, a Pod of Orcas that stayed with us for awhile. I saw my first calf and a newborn of the season, and the youngster was quite exuberant and did some breaches for us. I love baby orca Breaches. After spending time with the glacier which was quite active yesterday, we headed towards the Chiswell Islands, and in the far distance I noticed some tall blows. What a blessing and we encountered a Mother Fin Whale and her calf. Fin Whales are challenging to observe as their dive times can be up to 45 minutes with those huge lungs so we kept our expectations low. Luckily they came up fairly close to the boat, she was huge, it takes forever to see their dorsal fin, yet it was really a special experience for everyone on board to see the second largest creature on this planet.
Raven Sky, Smiling High aboard the Kenai Explorer, Kenai Fjords Wildlife and Glacier Tours
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As soon as we arrived on scene, a bit north of False Bay, we saw orcas mating, truly an appropriate thing to point out on the 'adults only' Kittiwake. We also saw them breaching, cartwheeling, and lunging. There were several calves in the group and everywhere you looked there was a looming fin of an adult male; a relief because quite recently, there were only 11 adult males for a population of 85 or so. This led to a limited amount of inbreeding, a trend we hope will be reversed as teenage males reach their prime.
Lauren Sands, Naturalist, Support Seeing Orcas in the Wild
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6:30 pm - group of 8 to 12 orcas, including 2 large males - at least - heading north between orcas and san Juan - just west of Jones island. Moving quickly - didn't appear to be feeding - more like passing through. hmm - probably residents, but could have been Transients - anyone else see this pod or get photos?
Robert Hall
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~7 am: Calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Alisa Lemire Brooks (via Facebook)

August 10, 2010

We observed 4 Transients, one mature male and 3 females/immature males, near Constance Bank about 4 miles south of Victoria around 12:30pm. The male was swimming alone and the 3 others were together quite a distance away at first, then all 4 joined up together. No fancy acrobatics, but great to see them out in the middle of the Strait on a beautiful day.
Deb McArthur, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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Also saw a Minke whale surface just south of Cattle Point (SJI) at 13:30. And several solo harbor porpoises viewed on the way up from Seattle and back (just west of Deception Pass, in Admiralty Inlet, and by the Edmonds-Kingston ferry crossing.)
Deb McArthur, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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I took pictures of the new calf in the Georgia Strait today. We had members from all three pods heavily foraging on the many sockeye off the mouth of the Fraser River.
Simon Pidcock, Ocean Ecoventures, Cowichan Bay, B.C.

August 9, 2010

Finally had a chance to send a couple shots of Mondays encounter (Transient orcas in Admiralty Inlet) that I wrote you about earlier this a.m., just an FYI confirmation. I did find the locals charts on-line - how I wanted him to be J1, but I know the transients have been hanging around.
Cathi
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I heard orca calls from approx. 10:10PM - 10:30PM. I've been listening for about a year and this was a pod I hadn't heard before in general. Some of the calls sounded similar to what I've heard in the past which I think has been J Pod.
Jay Schilling
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Not sure when they started (or how long they actually stopped for) but hearing calls @ Lime Kiln at 9:37 pm.
Dirk & Jaime
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone at 7:07 pm, and weak, distant calls at 8:08 pm, and at 8:55 pm at Lime Kiln again.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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I got a call from Ivan that he had found whales at Hein Bank, so I was feeling much more optimistic for the afternoon trip. When we arrived off of False Bay, the whales were quite spread in groups of 2-3s, and we found a couple of youngsters who were oblivious to our presence and proceeded to chase each other about, rolling around the surface, spyhopping each other. One was a young male, but when he rolled upside down at the surface, you could plainly see he was a, well, "happy" male whale in the presence of a female!! In other words, a tiny sea snake! Later we had not one, not two, but 3 opportunities to watch J2 Granny spyhop! J1 Ruffles was showing off how to hunt for salmon the tide rips off of Bellevue Point. We also got to see J19 and her calf J41 as they passed by, along with J27 Blackberry off in the distance and J30 Riptide.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, San Juan Island
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Jan Holmes of Whidbey Island called to share a whale report from on board the Western Prince. They saw 2 groups of 6 orcas off the west side of San Juan Island, then another group of 5 with a calf. Some of the whales they saw were J1, J2, & J27, and one of the calves came over to the boat and looked right up at them, then swam under the boat. They had traveled all the way up San Juan Island so ended up circumnavigating the entire island for the trip home.
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~ 7:30 pm, one large male dorsal and one smaller orca seen from Pt. Townsend ferry ~ mid-channel, sorta headed toward Port Townsend, but may have been fishing for seals which were around.
Al Luneman, Coupeville
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Finally had a chance to check in to see "who" it was we saw from the Keystone ferry Mon evening (7:15pm). I can't believe no one has said anything about the little group near Port Townsend. The PT Keystone boat was heading across the shipping lanes back to Whidbey, about midway out, a "pair" of orcas made their way in the opposite direction across the lanes, and the ferry cpt announced that they hadn't seen any all summer out there. (It's a wonder the boat didn't list over with everyone dashing to the side!) They made a bee-line over toward Port Townsend, and we could see them blowing just inside Point Wilson. When I looked at my pictures later, it looks like there is at least one more besides the 2, and perhaps a 4th.
Cathi Bower Whidbey Island
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Tony Cotter of Hallmark Fishing in Port Orford OR relayed that Scott Mecam was out fishing for salmon and found a pod of 20 orcas swimming fast, heading N, at 42 55.30N, 124 44.42W. There were 3 calves and 2 massive bulls. He didn't see them stop to feed, & also said the salmon fishing was lousy - only caught 9 salmon after fishing all day long.
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I am writing to report a sighting of a large orca pod for a friend. Scott Mecum, Captain of the the F/V Providence of Port Orford, Oregon saw a large pod of 20 killer whales 10 miles off Cape Blanco (Curry County, Oregon). He said the pod was moving north, not feeding. The pod included about 20 whales including 3 cow & calf pairs with small young right next to the cows, 2 bulls, and the rest adults. Best wishes,
Lisa Sheffield Guy, EcoFOCI Research Coordinator, NOAA/PMEL, Seattle, WA
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Listening to calls on the OrcaSound AND Lime Kiln hydrophones at 6:15 pm, as I'm finishing up the whale report (still going at Lime Kiln at 6:55 pm).
Susan Berta, Orca Network
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Started hearing calls around 4:30 @ Lime Kiln. Started seeing Orcas on orcacam (Ctr. for Whale Research, NW San Juan Island) around 5 min later.
Jaime
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4:36 pm - calls at Lime Kiln Hydrophones. 4:39 pm - calls at OrcaSound hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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West shore San Juan heading north at 1300. About a dozen black-n-whites milled a bit feeding while we fished, then scooted north up Haro with the flood.
Tim Ferris

August 8, 2010

At 11:12 PM I started hearing faint calls on the Orca Sound hydrophones - mostly S16s and S17s. Now hearing the calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones at 11:34 PM.
Monika Wieland
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Approx. midnight: calls on Orcasound right now!
Melissa Kaday (via Facebook)
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Approx. midnight: Calls on Lime Kiln!
Candice Smith (via Facebook)
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Superpod today at Sand Heads Light, just south of the the south arm of the Fraser river. Little activity but LOTS of foraging and there were salmon jumping everywhere!
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver

August 7, 2010

Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research encountered J's K's and L's off False Bay 11:27 a.m. (48 28.033 N; 123 01.296 W). The whales were spread out moving up island. The encounter ended off Kellett Bluff at 2:52 p.m.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Saturday at 8:28pm - Picking up J Pod on the Lime Kiln hydrophones again. Perhaps they've turned around and are making their way north again. 10:12pm: Nope, not just J's - sounds like members from all three pods are here!
Courtney Smith, Center for Whale Research (via Facebook)
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Orcas at Lime Kiln now - 7:03 pm
Susan Berta, Orca Network
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4:36 pm: Been hearing intermittent faint calls on Lime Kiln for about 20 min., getting louder now. Sounds like a ship in the background. Saturday at 5:31pm: Great calls on Lime Kiln right now.
Gayle Swigart (via Facebook)
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Calls on Lime Kiln - 4:33 pm.
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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Orca calls at OrcaSound hydrophones at 9:50 am, and at Lime Kiln,10:28 am.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olypmia, WA

August 6, 2010

Joel Kawahara called Orca Network to report a sighting of 4 orcas, including 1 male & 3 females, while salmon fishing at 44 46N, 124 19W (N of Waldport, S. of Newport, OR). He was fishing for salmon but there weren't many around, but lots of anchovies & sardines in the area.
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Center for Whale Research staff Dave Ellifrit, Erin Heydenreich and Emma Foster encountered K's and L's spread out in mixed groups just south of Bellevue Point at 4:44 p.m. (48 31.443 N; 123 10.416W). The whales were traveling south. We continued down to Eagle Point and encountered more mixed groups of J's and L's. The encounter ended west of Lime Kiln State Park at 7:01 p.m. (48 30.007N; 123 09.232 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones at 4:18 pm and 6:54 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olypmia, WA

August 5, 2010

Orca calf and adult (L Pod?) SW off of San Juan Island, 3 PM.
Rudy & Barbara Deck, Oak Harbor
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Whales north near Vancouver, just south of the Vancouver airport, and lots of them! Superpod with lots of breaching, tail slaps and of course, mating! After hanging out with the whales we went and found White Sided dolphins!
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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We saw L's Mega, Mystery, and Crewser again, traveling with Indigo heading south along the west side of San Juan Island just south of Eagle Point. Crewser and Mystery were traveling so close together that until we did some careful identification we thought it was just one male.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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Brad Hanson of NOAA Fisheries found the pod of Transient orcas at 4:30 pm, hunting off Bainbridge Island. It appeared they were in the process of making a kill, with no direction of travel. They left them about 6:10 off Kingston, in mid-channel, headed north. It's the same male and juvenile and probably the same four that were there July 28 (T101, T101A, T101B, and T102). They observed one predation of probably a seal.
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We were very surprised on our way home to meet up with T102 traveling with another male and a female, northbound just south of Edmonds. Just before we spotted them we noticed a number of harbor porpoises moving quickly, perhaps trying to avoid becoming a meal!
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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At approximately 1330 hours, I witnessed via my binoculars, 3 Orcas (one seemed smaller than the others) heading south along the eastern shore (maybe 300 yards offshore) of Puget Sound beginning at about the area where Talbot Road and Olympic View Drive meet in Edmonds. I witnessed for the next 20-30 minutes heading along the shoreline before I discontinued watching them before they reached the Edmonds Ferry dock.
Doug
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About a 1/4 mile north of Edmonds Ferry, just this side of mid channel, we spotted two older males, 2 females and one smaller Orca together surfacing in a steady pattern heading south. Once they past the ferry dock we drove to Marina Beach (South Edmonds) and they were just passing, much more spread out. We watched them surface until they were near the peninsula nearing what we think is Jefferson Point? just east of Indianola. We left them at 2:30, they were still heading south (with a couple of Harbor Porpoise in tow).
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Ed Brooks

August 4, 2010

We were out in the midst of the superpod in Haro Strait, where we spotted Ruffles in a group with several others (Samish and Se-Yi'-Chn might have been among them), and later Mega, Mystery and Crewser from L-pod.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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10:28pm Calls on OrcaSound hydrophones now.
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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9:01 pm - Orca calls at OrcaSound, and still at Lime Kiln. Still at OrcaSound at 9:58 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Whales at Mitchell Pt. (NW San Juan Island) in front of my house going north: 9:38 PM.
Capt. Jim Maya, San Juan Island
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8:55pm: Lots of fun being had at the Lime Kiln hydrophones right now!
Kathy Stevens Hitzemann (via Facebook
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8:10pm: faint calls at lime kiln hydrophone, progressively louder and by 8:25 loud! Faint again by 8:35.
Alisa & Ed Brooks, Shoreline WA
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In the morning I observed L22 chase down a harbor porpoise neonate. L94 and her calf, L113 joined in the final drowning of the porpoise. All three whales left the neonate floating dead. It appeared to be unmarked.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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We saw several animals westbound in the Juan de Fuca strait on route from San Juan Island during the 3:30pm Ocean Magic trip. Lots of activity and a TON of breaching! Almost impossible to see it all never mind get photos of it all. L41 & L74 were in high pursuit of salmon giving passengers an awesome perspective. Big rollers that day so I was amazed that I managed to get what I got ! If you want to see more from the trip you can see it on this blog;
Maria Chantelle Tucker, Victoria B.C.
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We encountered K's traveling north off Cattle Point (48 43.519 N; 123 96.3 W) at 11:53 a.m. The whales were spread out in groups traveling quickly. We followed the K's to Bellevue point (48 52.324 N; 123 16.49 W) where they turned south at 2:42 p.m. Shachi was further south down the west side of the island with mixed groups of L's and J's.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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3 pm: Orcas just now beginning to call on Lime Kiln hydrophone - looks like the Center for Whale Research had them off the S. end of San Juan Island earlier this morning and is following them north. 4 pm: Beginning to hear calls at OrcaSound hydrophones now - So. residents heading north up the west side of San Juan Island.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Ship's Log: Tremendous Orcas encounter this morning just outside Cattle Pass. Super Pod breaching, spy hopping, tail slapping all around us! What a day after anchoring next to schooners Martha and Suva with these young woman leaders and mentors. Pictures to follow!
Capt. Joshua, Sound Experience aboard the Schooner Adventuress (via Facebook)

August 3, 2010

A treat of an after supper whale sighting this evening. Around 7:30 pm, J pod headed east through Active Pass. They were so spread out, it took almost an hour for them to go by. Some tail slaps and spy hops (and more great photos we don't have room for today - look for them in future reports!).
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones, 2:24 pm, and at Orca Sound from 2:50 - 4:19 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Orca calls first on Lime Kiln & now on OrcaSound hydrophones - w. San Juan Island at around 3:10 pm - wow, weird repetitive calls - sounds like the record is stuck!
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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2:48 pm: Calls on the Lime Kiln.
Stacey Mason (via Facebook)
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1:58 pm: Calls on Lime Kilnhydrophones!
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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We had a wonderful (and sunny!) day with some of the Southern Residents today, 2 miles south of Eagle Cove (SJI). From 11:30-12:30 we hung out with J-pod (J-1 was easily identified among them) and perhaps some members of K & L. They were breaching and belly flopping, tail lobbing (3 times in a row, on multiple occasions), spyhopping, and rolling. A few calves were porpoising. Whales were in all directions around us for the full hour without us motoring anywhere. A truly fantastic and intimate day with them!
Deb McArthur, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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6am pass-by at Lime Kiln. We saw some J's, L53, and L87. It was a beautiful morning with good vocals on the hydrophone.
Katie Jones, San Juan Island (via Facebook)
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Started the morning with calls on Lime Kiln about 6 am as we readied to head up to SJI to join Capt Jim Maya. While first exploring Lime Kiln Park we heard reports at 12:45pm from Interpretive Center of J and L pods off Eagle Cove now heading north. Headed out on Maya's 1:30pm run and needn't go far before we are in the company of Orca. J1-Ruffles just off the westside heading north. At least 3 females nearby closer to shore, Capt Jim thought one must be J2-Granny. Mostly heading north in a resting motion. Made our way south past CWR, County Park and Lime Kiln, spotting whales all along the west side. Maya mentioned J17, J27 Blackberry, J26 Mike and K21 Cappuccino. The entire 2/12 hours we must have seen up to 20 different Orca along the westside from north of Edward's point and leaving them at the entrance to Snug Harbor. Breaches, porpoising, feeding, a spyhop, lot's of pec and tail flapping.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Ed Brooks, Shoreline, WA

August 2, 2010

We saw a Minke whale, porpoise, a few dolphins (while circumnavigating San Juan Island).
Sarah Schmidt Berger (via Facebook)
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Also spotted today was a minke whale in Spieden Channel, and along Haro Strait we saw a Dall's porpoise, and a mother harbor porpoise and calf.
Heather Hill
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Orca Network received a call from Laurie and Jessica Brooks reporting a sighting of two Harbor porpoise off Biz Pt, Fidalgo Island at 3 pm.
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Today the [orcas] were also doing pretty much what they were doing in July--the west side shuffle! Whales had been doing the shuffle since early AM, and as we were heading to Cattle Point, we heard the whales were heading towards Lime Kiln again. But we were not very concerned as with the big flood tide coming in, we knew the whales were likely to head back towards False Bay. And that's exactly where we found them! First we saw J27 Blackberry, who was doing his J1 Ruffles imitation by hanging quite aways offshore from the rest of the whales. Eventually we were able to find a nice little group of whales off to themselves, so we slowly made our way over. We spotted J39 Mako along with J34 Doublestuff. More whales were closer to shore, but we were staying outside of the 1/4 mile west side buffer zone, so I couldn't get any IDs. J39 and J34 were being very energetic, with lots of chasing and playing around, spyhops, and then J34 did a beautiful breach. You could see that this young male is starting to get the characteristic growing dorsal fin along with the very paddle-like pectoral fins. The whales continued their foraging as we left them still milling around False Bay. We saw lots of bait fish along with several salmon jumping, so perhaps this is why these whales have hung out here for the last 3 days?
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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Was out on Odessey and circumnavigated San Juan Island. We saw representatives from J, K and L pods. An absolutely amazing day. Orcas are so agile, fast and powerful.
Sarah Schmidt Berger (via Facebook)
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We encountered some Southern Residents just south of Lime Kiln at approx. 3:30, heading north. First to pass by us was J32 Rhapsody, followed by a tight grouping of J17 Princess Angeline and her youngest J44 (male), her other two daughters J28 Polaris and J35 Tahlequah, and her new grandcalves, J46 (mom J28) and J47 (mom J35). The 3 calves were rolling on top of one of the adults backs, then they separated off together for a bit of play and juvenile antics playing in kelp, breaching, etc (see photo above). The 3 calves were all born within a year of each other, and they all belong to J17's subgroup so they likely spend most of their time swimming together. Must be a fun family to grow up in, I bet these youngsters will be very close with each other as they continue to grow! Next to pass by (close enough to get an ID) was K21 Cappuccino, followed by J30 Riptide. (Report continued below, under Minkes).
Heather Hill
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Calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone, 7:45am PST.
Kim Kunz Norton (via Facebook)
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Some orcas passed by early this morning, headed north. I took these photos from shore on the west side of San Juan Island.
Jane Cogan
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LOUD calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone at 7:24am, getting fainter now at 7:30am.
Alisa Brooks, Shoreline WA
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0519: Lime Kiln heard faint k pod calls; 0521 - became louder; 0525 - became faint; 0532 - became louder - multiple s-33, s-16, s-40 (different calls as well, maybe traveling with another pod?); 0620 - became REALLY REALLY LOUD - clicking, echolocating, many many different calls; 0732 - became fainter; 0740 - gone. Checked OrcaSound hydrophone - didn't hear them there. They were back between 0759 and got quiet at 0820 again at Lime Kiln.
Dawn Trybjorn, Seattle




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