July 2010 Whale Sightings

Summarized Sightings map HERE

July 2010
Orca Network received a call from Cliff Ryer of NOAA Fisheries at Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, OR. He was off Kodiak, AK last week and observed a pod of Transient orcas attacking a mom and calf humpback pair, resulting in the death of the calf. The calf was found and towed to shore for a necropsy by NOAA Fisheries, and Cliff has photographs of the orcas so hopefully we'll get some IDs of them at some point soon.

July 31, 2010

In response to Lori Schneider's report from her trip on the afternoon off the west side of S.J. in the fog, she saw L87, J27, the J17's, and the K14's in the fog.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria
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Kurt and I went out with Prince of Whales on the Ocean Magic II out of Victoria last Saturday afternoon. It was very foggy - we did see lots of whales off the south end of San Juan Island, but the crew were not able to say anything more definitive than "resident orcas." There were several mom/baby pairs and a few big males, with numerous spy hops and tail slaps, and a couple of very close passes near the boat.
Lori Schneider, Port Angeles, WA
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At 1152 PT at Lime Kiln hydrophones, I heard multiple S-17 call along with what sounded like S-33 only in a lower octave. Sounded like a "giggle".
Dawn Trybjorn, Seattle

July 30, 2010

Was out with Jim Maya with several orcas feeding and foraging in fog, so predicting where they were going to go was difficult. We were about mile off San Juan Island. Suddenly one emerged coming straight toward us and I got a series of head-on shots before it dove. It is dramatic from low on the water.
Chuck Bergman, Professor, Department of English, Pacific Lutheran University
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A short lunch time whale parade through Active Pass. Six whales, going against the tide, with some spy hops, half breaches, and tail slaps (will post photos in future reports).
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island, B.C.
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Awakened to loud clear calls this morning 6:00 am heard on the Lime Kiln hydrophones -
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo, Florida
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He had Southern Resident orcas off Eagle Pt., False Bay and Edwards Pt, Land Bank, W. San Juan Island, breaching and kelping in the fog.
Capt. Jim Maya, San Juan Island

July 29, 2010

After receiving reports of whales coming down from Turn Point, center staff Ken Balcomb, Dave Ellifrit and Emma Foster departed in Shachi. The water conditions were very rough with a lot of chop and wind waves. K12, K43 and K37 were the first group encountered (at 2:57 p.m. - 48 58.37 N; 123 20.31 W). K26 was seen breaching several times. The next group encountered was a mixed group containing K14, K42, J1, J2, J19, K12, K43, K37 and others. We also saw J33 and J36 close to J26, J16 and J42 who were also traveling together. The final group encountered was K13, K20, K38, K34 and K25. All whales were traveling quickly south. There were reports of more whales off Turn Point but due to rough conditions and incoming fog we ended the encounter still off Kellett Bluff (48 58.436 N; 123 20.31 W) at 3:52 p.m.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Jim Maya had Southern Resident orcas at Tumbo Is. BC, breaching;
Capt. Jim Maya, San Juan Island
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln, 4:29, 6:03 and 9:31 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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L94 with L113 off of French Beach, Vancouver Island in the morning heading west.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria B.C.
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As we neared Stuart Island the orca whales were traveling south down Haro Strait. We traveled parallel to the direction they were heading along the west side of San Juan Island. We identified J-1 "Ruffles", J-16 "Slick", and J-30 "Riptide". There are 28 members of the J-pod, with 4 new calves in the last year. The whales were active today; we observed a few breaches and a lot of tail slapping.
Sally, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Lots of orcas southbound along the west side of San Juan Island this afternoon. I managed to get a few photos from shore before the fog covered the water like a thick blanket.
Jane Cogan
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Orca calls were reported off OrcaSound hydrophone (NW San Juan Island) at 3:30 pm by Jeff Hogan - he had J's and K's headed south, S1 and S16 calls on Lime Kiln, also in front of the Center for Whale Research. A large group of orcas, possibly L pod, was headed west past Sooke this morning. I am just beginning to hear a few calls off Lime Kiln now, at 4:10.
Susan Berta, Orca Network
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There was a gray whale feeding just south of the Fauntleroy dock this morning about 9 AM putting on quite a show for those waiting for the ferry.
Sheila Helgath, PhD, WSF Environmental Program Manager
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Donna Sandstrom called this morning to report that they had also observed a baleen whale with a heart-shaped blow (sounds like a Gray) while watching the Transients off Restoration Pt. 7/28 The Transients were heading N while the Gray whale was heading S. Then Karol Sample saw the Gray whale from Me-Kwa-Mooks park in W. Seattle this morning (7/29) at 11 am, heading north. She said it appeared to be a juvenile, so it is likely not the same Gray that had stranded off of Everett earlier in the month.

July 28, 2010

On a return trip from Victoria, B.C. Ken Balcomb encountered J's K's and L's heading North. The encounter began at 11:35a.m. just south of Lime Kiln State Park (48 50.367 N; 123 14.466 W). The encounter ended in Boundary Pass (48 71.271 N; 123 24.345 W) at 3:08 p.m.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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While heading to the Olympic Peninsula and Southworth, just after departing the Fauntleroy ferry in West Seattle @ 1:49PM. I stopped and looked back towards Lincoln Park's, Coleman Pool and noticed a dorsal fin & multiple blows. There appeared to be 1 male dorsal fin and at least 2 females. I observed them for several minutes with binoculars, then lost then completely. They may have been feeding in the tidal rip that occurs off the point very near Coleman Pool.
Jeffrey W. Crow, Seattle
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1:08 a.m. a few L pod calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones. 4:00 a.m. calls of all three pods on the Orca Sound hydrophones - some L pod whales had been south and J, K and some Ls were coming back down from the north. They passed by Lime Kiln starting at about 4:30 a.m. At 11:00 a.m. they began coming back up island. It was truly a full superpod because today the L-2s were with all the rest of the Community, whereas the other day they did not join them but stayed to the south. Baby K-43 was in the lead with mom Sequim K-12 as they passed by at the park. The pass by ended at about 3:00 pm. with Js and Ks and some Ls going north and most of Ls going back south.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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The afternoon reports were in. There were ten to fifteen orca [orcas] spotted near Stuart Island. We traveled north and encountered the orcas near Turn Point. The whales were traveling very close together, heading north towards Pender Bluffs on South Pender Island. The highlight of today's trip was when an adult breached about 250 yards away from our boat.
Naturalist, Sally, San Juan Safaris
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This morning the whales came porpoising down the straits breaching and lunging against what appeared to be a very strong tide and choppy waves- the display lasted for about an hour and a half. Now that the fog has broken up a bit on the west side (11:15am) close to shore, there are at least four large lines of resting whales in separate groups slowly making their way back up the island. Given the antics from 5-6:30 this morning, it is no surprise they needed a rest!"
Sandy Buckley, San Juan Island
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11:38 am: Hearing calls on the limekiln - yelled at my dog at first thinking it was him whining :-) 11:44am Good Lord they're loud! I think they found the hydrophone.
Princess NellsBells (via Facebook)
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9:37am: Faint calls on Lime Kiln Hydrophone right now. 11:14am - Calls are getting louder now.
Andrew Lees (via Facebook)
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Erick Peirson reported hearing calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone at 8:24 am.
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S19 calls and clicks (L pod) first on Orcasound and then Lime Kiln in the wee hours (0104-0138). They (So Residents) are really working the west side today. Erick reported hearing them at Lime Kiln at 12:05, plus autodetections just came in (from 11:44 - 12:09), most recently from Orcasound. Nice whistles at Lime Kiln & Great S7s and S4 at Orcasound! Lots of automated detections of S2 and other calls and clicks on Orcasound and Lime Kiln between 0359 and 0551.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach
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Orcas off Yeomalt Beach off Bainbridge Island, heading north! Posted at ~ 9 pm.
Erika Seidel Thompson (via Facebook)
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6pm. Northbound Pod of Orca, I counted 6. One very large male, 2 calves and three or four Midsize - perhaps two females. The Sun was bright around 6pm when I spotted them. I was Westbound in my 17 foot Cuddy heading to Skiff Point for fishing (just South of Point Monroe, say three-4 miles. The whales were in 300 feet of water cruising North along Eastshore of Bainbridge Is. There was a Science Skiff vessel with three people on board and a camera just following along. Whales were on surface for some time and then deep for a spell before back on top. No breaching or play time for them, just touring along.
Mark
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Brad Hanson of NOAA Fisheries got out with the Transients off Seattle today, they were unable to obtain any fecal samples, but did get some photographs so hopefully we'll have IDs of these whales shortly. They observed 4 orcas, including 1 male - at 6 pm they were heading N off Pt. Monroe, NE Bainbridge Island.
The following whales (Transient orcas) were ID'd: T101, T101A, T101B, and T102. - Candi Emmons, NOAA Fisheries, Seattle
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4 Transients - male with a lean to the right and 3 others East side of Bainbridge Is. going North at 1746.
Ron Bates, MMRG, Victoria B.C.
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Amy Carey of Vashon Island called to relay a report from a friend on the N. Vashon Island ferry who had seen 3 orcas from the ferry, heading west - including a male, female & a calf, closer to the Vashon side.
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John Rogstad with WA State Ferries called at 1 pm to report 1 orca had been sighted from the Kitsap ferry on the Seattle-Bremerton run, 1.5 miles off Alki Pt. heading S/SW. He called back at 2 pm to report 3, possibly 4 orcas sighted from the ferry Tillicum, southbound off Fauntleroy in the Northbound traffic lane.
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Donna Sandstrom of the Whale Trail reported watching the pod of Transients mid-afternoon from Marine View Drive in W. Seattle. The whales had been traveling south, but turned north and at around 4:10 pm were off Alki, mid-channel heading north. They also observed a baleen whale with a heart-shaped blow (sounds like a Gray whale) at one point - see rest of that report under Gray whales.
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Three Orcas were sighted by the captain and passengers; mid channel headed south at 12:30 on the Bainbridge to Seattle WSF ferry. The WSF vessel captain announced their presence and passengers got a show as the whales passed in front of the bow (ferry had slowed to allow them to pass). They were followed by a seal. One was a large male and two smaller animals.
Sheila Helgath, PhD, WSF Environmental Program Manager
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Passengers on the ferry had a real treat seeing [orcas] this afternoon on the way from bainbridge to seattle! a highlight of my vacation for sure! my daughter and my niece were "pretending" to be whale watching from the moment we got on the ferry to bainbridge, so they really manifested their magical thinking! : )
Jennifer DeTrempe Golden (via Facebook)
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Erick Peirson reported Transient orcas at 11:45 am N of Elliott Bay, Seattle, heading south. At 1 pm he said there were 2 males, 2 females and a juvenile, they were south of the Seattle ferry lanes, heading south.
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Spotted 4-5 orcas from the Kingston-Edmonds ferry this morning around 8:10 AM. They were in the middle of the sound heading south, with at least 1 large male in the group.
Tim J. Hammermeister
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Killer whales around ripple rock BC today (north of Campbell River, in Seymour Narrows, Johnstone Strait).
Florent Nicolas (via Facebook)
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Perry Edwards of BC called Orca Network to report he and Charlie Fleischer on the MV Saltchuck were observing a very large pod of dolphins at 3:20 pm at Lock Bay, NE Gabriola Island BC, heading north toward Entrance Island (49 11.819N; 123 47.85W). They were very playful, jumping clear of the water, with gray to white sides on the dorsal fins and gray striping down the sides of the body, and a whiter belly - in consulting his field books he is pretty sure they were Pacific White Sided dolphins.

July 27, 2010

July 26 Center staff woke to whale blows just before 7am and departed in both vessels, Shachi and Orca. Most of J's, K's and L's were encountered in small social groups, from 8:13 am - 12:25 pm. Shachi spent the majority of the encounter off Kellett Bluff, beginning with L47, L83, L91 and L110 in a tight group. Later L5, L84, L54, L100, L108, L82, L55, L86, L106, L112, L103 and L109 were encountered before coming across a social group containing J1, K20, K38, J19, J41, J27, J31, J39, L41, L85 and others. Other mixed groups were also encountered, including one group that was pushing around a young calf. Orca began their encounter with the L12s, but were quickly left behind as they porpoised towards the larger group, they also encountered a large number of mixed groups and later found the L2's on the west side of San Juan. Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island For photos & map, click here. Transient T31 July 27 Ken Balcomb encountered T31 out off trial island. He was kelping and milling. Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island Click here for a photo ~12:20 pm: Calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones! Just started! Nice clear ones!
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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11:30 am: Nice vocals on Lime Kiln!!
Christine Swedell
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Orca Calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone - 11:24 am.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia

July 26, 2010

Arlene Solomon of Mayne Island, BC called at 2:12 pm to report 12 orcas heading into Active Pass, the pod included 2 large males, and they seemed to be fishing.
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A stop off in Presidents Channel to see a minke (he's been in the same area for nearly a week now) was just the cherry on top of our great day on the water.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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The day was welcomed in with 69 degrees, sunny skies and blows of whales echoing off the absolutely flat, calm seas at 6:00 am this morning. Before the whales made it into my sights I could see salmon literally jumping out of the water - which was interesting in and of itself. Slowly, members of J and L pod began passing close to shore- very spread out. I made my way to the (Lime Kiln) lighthouse hoping there would be a close pass. As I watched the whales near me, I could also see a lot of fins far offshore, some apparently heading in around Discovery and keeping to the Canadian side of the Haro Straits. I watched J's pass by intermingled with L's but then I see a smattering of K's in the groups as they continued to pass. It took about 30 minutes for the show to end - not a lot of activity but a few very close passes at the shoreline. I actually left the park and made it to landbank only to see a sight that made me stop in my tracks and return to the park. Just in time - a resting line of nearly 15 whales came by the shorelines, including Mega, Skana, Solstice, Calypso, Mystery, Canuck, Spirit---and another 6 I never even had a chance to see (wrong lens for wide angle shots)! But definitely a naptime for L pod!
Sandy Buckley, Postcards From Friday Harbor
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K Pod, who had been "summering" for the last month or so up in the Queen Charlotte's had appeared near Lime Kiln! For the first time this summer, we had all 3 pods together---a SUPER POD! They were making good time with a flood tide pushing them north, and we managed to catch up to the trailing group of about 20+ whales about 3 miles east of Eastpoint. The whales were working hard through the large rip tide at Boiling Reef, and we gave them extra room through the area so they could go where they wanted. Soon we were on the other side in much calmer waters, and the whales became more and more active as they got further from the strong rip. We saw K21 Cappucino swimming fairly close to L41 Mega. It was good to the see the big boys back in the area. We also had some Js in the mix. Soon K21 & L41 began swimming upside down with their enormous pectoral fins out of the water. It was so cool to be able to point out the large curl in their tail flukes. Soon this was followed by breaches, spyhops, cartwheels. It was amazing. It was as if one whale would try to "one-up" the activity of the others. The big treat for us was to see a mother and calf breach side by side at the same time about 250 yards away!!!
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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Clear orca calls and clicking at Lime Kiln hydrophones, 10:45 AM.
Pamela Smith
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7:26 am: I am new to this, but I have been listening to the Orcas Near Lime Kiln for about 2 hours now - At 0928 heard Orca calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones, lasted for about 10 minutes then got silent. Switched to Orcasound but heard nothing.
Dawn Trybjorn
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6:47 AM Orcas calling at Lime Kiln. Very clear calls.
Pamela Smith

July 25, 2010

I was pleasantly surprised to see a Gray Whale between Roberts Creek and Davis Bay on the Sunshine Coast of BC. I watched it moving north. It appeared active and healthy, taking several long dives and resting momentarily at the surface after each one.
Becky Spiker Update on the for search for Everett Gray whale that had stranded earlier this month: I just wanted to let you know that I was out flying, Saturday (24th) in the evening about 6:30 PM, Sunday about 5 PM and Monday at 6:30 and at none of these times have I seen the gray whale that's been near Everett. Maybe it's headed off??
Veronica von Allworden, Langley
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I believe I saw an orca whale following a female gray whale and her baby off the coast at Point Arena, California this weekend. We were watching a female gray and her baby feeding right off the coastline-they were heading north. I was looking thru my binoculars and was able to see the distinct black straight dorsal fin as it swam around the gray in a playful? manner.
debbie
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Orca calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone at 10:36 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Many loud squeaks heard at 10:36 PM at Lime Liln.
Pamela Smith
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Early Sunday evening, aboard the Island Explorer 3 we encountered part of L-Pod making their way to Kellett Bluff. We saw Crewser, Bellena, Alexis, Racer, Nigel, Mystery, Skana, Solstice, Baba, Spirit, Fluke and possibly Ocean Sun. The water was calm, the sun was warm and with the Bluff in the background it was quite a sight to see.
Vicky Miller SSAMN
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This morning aboard the Western Prince around 11:30 AM we met up with some very spread out L-Pod whales off of Eagle Point. We spent some time with the L47s and also saw L95 as they slowly made their way north. For our afternoon trip we headed north and met up with J-Pod as they were passing Turn Point and crossing Boundary Pass around 3:30 PM. We followed them towards the Pender Islands where the continued to make their way north along the shoreline. I saw for sure J1, J2, J8, J19, J41, and the J14 family group. When I got home and looked at my photos I was surprised to see some L-Pod whales in there as well - definitely L12, L22, and L79 and likely some others. One other sighting of note was a pair of Dall's porpoise in Boundary Pass while J-Pod was crossing. Like last year, they have been a rare sight during the summer months!
Monika Wieland, Naturalist aboard the Western Prince
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After watching mixed groups of J's and L's pass by the Center for Whale Research, both vessels departed Snug Harbor at 2:30 pm. The whales were split in two loose groups. Shachi caught up with the first group just off Kellett Bluff (48 59.867 N; 123 22.281 W) at 2:39 pm and Orca went north to Turn Point to reach the leading group. The encounter ended in Boundary Pass (48 73.00 N; 123 23.233 W) at 3:57 p.m. with the leading group heading toward Swanson Channel.
Center for Whale Research San Juan Island
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On the way home we saw a minke whale about a mile off of South Beach around 12:45 PM.
Monika Wieland, Naturalist aboard the Western Prince
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I was at Hein bank with five minkes, lunge feeding all over the place. Jonathan Stern, NE Pacific Minke Whale Project (via Facebook)
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8:05 pm: Sounds at Lime Kiln hydrophones right now! Yeah!!
Kathy Stevens Hitzemann (via Facebook)
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Arlene Solomon of Mayne Island, B.C. called to report that 4 orcas went by & headed into Active Pass at 6:15 pm, including 1 large male - lots of fishing, leaping & breaching - she called back at 6:25 pm & said 9 more orcas were heading through Active Pass.
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7:30 am- Large number of orcas just cruised past the south end of Lopez, probably about 20 with footprints of whales all over the area. Orcas were traveling slowly, going to the west, in small groups of 1 to 3. Sunshine, blue calm water, Olympics in the distance, some breaches, no boats in sight.
Sally Reeve, Lopez Island
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Four orcas (possibly 5) were sighted in Discovery Passage near Whiskey Point on Quadra Island, BC at 6:30 PST today. Whiskey Point is across from Campbell River. They were heading South toward to the southern tip of Quadra Island at Cape Mudge and the start of the Strait or Georgia. They were with the flood tide. There did not appear to be a predominant dorsal fin seen amongst the small group. A commercial inflatable whale watching boat was very close to the group and will hopefully provide you with more detail. Approximate coordinates are: N 50 02.09'; W 125 12.93'.
Ken & Kathy Robertson, Quadra Island,BC
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At 8:45 this morning we had a solitary minke traveling east to west off of Flint Beach, South Lopez.
Tom Reeve, Lopez Island

July 24, 2010

At 3 pm, while paddling about one half mile east of Iceberg Point we were passed by a minke traveling steadily eastward.
Tom Reeve, Lopez Island
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I saw a minke right outside of the entrance to friday harbor -- 'twas Johnney Rotten! It was at about 2 - he was bookin' out of town, we lost him
Jonathan Stern, Pacific NE Minke Whale Project (via Facebook)
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There was a Minke up in "Minke Lake" (N. of Stuart Island) this afternoon (around 4:30 PM). Didn't get a real good look at it though. Lot's of bait balls around.
Ivan Reiff, Western Prince (via Facebook)
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We were so excited to observe approximately 20 Orcas passing by Point Roberts between 5:30 and 7 pm. The whales were quite spread out, heading South, and moving steadily in pairs. A few of the whales were swimming back and forth with some tail lobbing. There were at least three large males present; we also spotted two calves swimming/frolicking together. Thank you!
Sandra Scott
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We had a small group of L's in Boundary Pass at around 16:00. As you can see the whales allowed some amazing photo ops!
Katie Jones :), Western Prince Naturalist
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Arlene Solomon reported ~9 orcas off Mayne Island, BC, heading east into Active Pass at 1:30 pm. The whales approached from the south. They also heard what sounded like the orcas blowing and splashing the night before (7/23).
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The T185's were found mid afternoon west bound near the ODAS buoy south of Discovery Island BC. They were last seen south-east bound on a line for Admiralty Inlet.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales

July 23, 2010

Both Center vessels departed Snug Harbor (San Juan Island) and encountered J's and L's traveling slowly south off Mitchell Bay (4857.836 N; 123 18.124 W) at 4:01 pm . The whales were spread out in mixed groups. The whales later turned north and the encounter ended a few miles off Battleship Rock at 7:01 p.m. (48 63.064 N; 123 22.261 W) .
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Arlene Solomon heard what sounded like the orcas blowing and splashing at night off Mayne Island, BC, heading east into Active Pass.
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Hearing Orca Calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone at about 6:30 pm, and several calls heard on OrcaSound a bit earlier while doing the whale report tonight - nice accompaniment!
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Loud calls on Lime Kiln---1:18pm!
Christine Swedell (via Facebook)
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~ 1 pm: One of the J subpods with the J17s, J22s and J11s passed the Center (NW San Juan Island) a few minutes ago, heading south.
Courtney Smith, Center for Whale Research (via Facebook)
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~noon: Some off and on whistles and clicks on OrcaSound.
Jennifer Maldonado (via Facebook)

July 22, 2010

The whales had been reported in 4-5 foot swells of the south end of San Juan Island mid-morning today. By the time we reached them on our afternoon trip they were already all the way to North Pender Island! North Pender is one of the Canadian Gulf Islands, making today an international trip! As we, and other whale watch boats, looked on the whales fished, spy-hopped, breached, and swam this way and that, right up next to North Pender.
Ashley Chapman, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln - 2:19 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln and Orcasound hydrophones between 1142 - 1208, whales heading north. S1 and S7 calls detected first at Lime Kiln, then at Orcasound. Listen to these recordings:
OrcaSound - 1142
OrcaSound - 1207
OrcaSound - 1207
OrcaSound - 1208
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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Sunshine Coast BC (North of Vancouver) Grays - 05:56: Out of the silence: the blow of a Grey Whale! the same distance from shore as we were, about 50 meters close !! Not a leisurely swim anymore now, back to the shore as fast we could - this Grey Whale was considerably larger than the one we could observe here a few times in the course of 2 weeks, so this, I assume, was a female; also outline of body is rounder, smoother; and the movements while feeding was very different.
Eva (submitted by Cornelia & Don Kernan)

July 21, 2010

The grey whale has gone past our house (Roberts Creek BC area) heading east both yesterday and the day before (July 20 and 21), both times late in the afternoon. This one has a piece missing from the corner of its tail so it is easy to identify. I also saw it at Davis Bay in the early morning of July 20. As it went by our house, it appeared to be digging into the sandy bottom with its nose as a large amount of sand would come up each time it surfaced. Sounds like it's feeding - ON At the same time yesterday, there was a single spotted sandpiper on the beach.
Robert Allen (submitted by Cornelia & Don Kernan)
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We saw 3 orcas in Bowman's Bay, Whidbey Island (northwest side of Deception Pass) traveling south, playing - about 7pm. They were not close enough to see if they were male or female. Not sure I would know if I saw anyways.
George and Sandra
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1800 - Southern Resident orcas, heading south. The following calls were detected automatically at Orcasound yesterday evening (7/21) and at Lime Kiln about 20 minutes later. The following detections have just been uploaded to the Orca Sound database:
Orca Sound - 1758, July 21
Orca Sound - 1800
OrcaSound - 1801
Lime Kiln - 1817
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach
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We approached J-pod traveling South near Pender Bluffs on So. Pender Island. Immediately I identified "Ruffles" with his infamously tall and wavy dorsal fin. We counted at least twelve orcas! They traveled in a close knit group, synchronizing their breathes. Watching them breathe in unison is meditative.
Sally, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Lots of fog this am, and an amazing amount of jumping. No fog this afternoon and evening, but not much jumping. That's the way it goes. Some Js went north.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Charters, San Juan Island
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Just want to share that Nick and I saw two Minke Whales at 1:30 PM. We sighted the pair approximately 500 meters from shore off of North Bay on Waldron Island heading in a Northwestly direction.
Michelle Savoie, USFS, PNW MaMu Crew
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7:15 pm: Calls on Lime Kiln!
Candice Smith (via Facebook)
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6:15 pm: Some of the Js are passing the Center (for Whale Research, NW San Juan Island) right now, heading south. Hearing S1s, S2s and S3s on the OrcaSound hydrophone.
Courtney, Center for Whale Research (via Facebook)
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J's, L7 and L53 were with the L5's and the L26's in the morning north of Limekiln headed north. The L5's and the 26's turned south in Andrew's Bay and the rest continued north out Swanson Channel. A small group of J's apparently came in Boundary Pass mid afternoon and headed south down Haro.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria B.C.
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12:18 pm: Calls on Lime Kiln again!! Nice and clear!
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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10:18 am: Calls on Lime Kiln now!
Holli Balowaara (via Facebook)
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Calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones at 8:27am. I wish I was there!
Jen M
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Many calls and clicks at Lime Kiln, 07:24. 08:00 - Orcas are going crazy with squeals, whistles, clicks right by the Lime Kiln hydrophone! Wow, quite a conversation going on at 08:18 am! Very loud!
Pamela Smith

July 20, 2010

Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone at 8:11 pm, at OrcaSound hydrophone at 9:48 pm and at Lime Kiln hydrophone 10:22 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst
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I hear faint orca calls right now (9:43 pm) on the Orcasound hydrophone. I'm new to this so I can tell you nothing else. I hear calls and some buzzing type sounds.
Jen M
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8:10 pm: calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones nice and clear right now! 8:20 pm: Faint calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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Whale calls heard at 20:10 at Lime Kiln.
Pamela Smith
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I enjoyed seeing the southern resident orcas on boundary pass today at 4:30. They were heading southwest on boundary pass from the northern part of Saturna Island in the canadian gulf islands. Puget Sound Express took us out of Port Townsend for an awesome tour and the whales greeted us with their wonderful playfulness.
Dianne Iverson, Poulsbo, WA

July 19, 2010

Orca Network received a call from Raese Reeves of WDFW, relaying a report he heard from some fishermen out of Seiku, WA, who had observed "a whole bunch" of orcas attacking a Gray whale off Swiftsure Bank. He gave us the number of Van Riper's Resort where the fishermen were staying, and we talked to one of the fishermen, JR Allen, who was on the boat, along with Rich Schuler. It was in the morning, 32 miles beyond Swiftsure (48 33.075N; 124 53.485W), in 10' seas. They were in a small fishing boat, when they saw 20 - 25 orcas, and a gray whale. The orcas were going after the Gray, 6 males getting in a line and ramming the Gray, which made "the damndest noise - like a hurt bull" when they rammed it. The Gray moved over next to the boat to try to escape the orcas, which put the boat in the middle of the action & suddenly they were surrounded by orcas trying to attack the gray whale, so they were trying to get out of there! As they were leaving, one of the orcas came up behind the boat and followed them for awhile. They were able to get about 9 minutes of video and will make a copy of it and send to us when he gets back home to Idaho next week. We'll let you know if the video enables any IDs of the Orcas or the Gray whale.
Susan Berta, Orca Network
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After paddling 20 miles from Echo Bay this morning, just as we passed through Blackney Passage at 2:30 pm, 4 orcas met us in Johnstone Strait and escorted us for a few miles to our camp across from Robson Bight. 4:39 pm: 7 more Northern Resident orcas just passed by Sophia Islands heading west, and a big bull did an incredible 7 tail lobs in a row!! Pod traveling tightly.
Nadja Baker & Jim Zimmerman, Anacortes (from their kayak paddle north up to Johnstone Strait)
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At about 5pm today we saw a grey whale off the coast of the Oak Bay Marina! It was amazing! We are from North Wales, PA so this was something special for us! I am attaching a picture of him we managed to capture~!
Sandy Ratson
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Marty Prescott called to report 8 - 10 Harbor Porpoise in Hood Canal, 3 miles NE of the Hood Canal bridge.

July 18, 2010

At 8:40pm we heard some INCREDIBLE CHATTER on the Lime Kiln hydrophone!!! Amazing calls and whistles - very cool!
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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L's and J's today in Boundary Pass and heading south towards Turn Point. Lots of breaches which was great and good vocalizations. Here is a picture of a breach from L pod (see photo) and another picture of L72 (Racer), love her saddle patch (we'll share that photo in the next report!) Lots of good calls on lime kiln right now too (8:30 pm July 18) Cheers,
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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2:37 pm - Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone.
3:18 pm - Weak Orca calls in the background at Lime Kiln.
8:07 pm - Orca calls at Lime Kiln.
8:59 pm - Orca calls at OrcaSound.

Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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2:33 pm: Calls on Lime Kiln - just started!!!! Faint - wondered if there would be because a boat slowed down substantially.
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales and Soundwatch, called to report distant J and L pod calls at the Orcasound hydrophones at 2:05 pm.
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After listening to the whales on the Lime Kiln hydrophone, and watching them pass the Center at 7.00am, Center for Whale Research staff Ken Balcomb, Emma Foster and Sue departed Snug Harbor and encountered some of J-pod (J27, J31, J38, J39, J28, J46, J22, J35, J47, J17, J44, J19, J41, J34, J32) and some of L-pod (L84, L72, L105, L26, L95, L92, L55, L82, L5, L54, L100, L108, L86, L106, L112, L90, L27, L103, L109, L47, L83, L91, L110) in a tight resting group in Mitchell Bay (48 59.044 N; 123 20.628 W) at 7:49 a.m. The whales continued traveling slowly along Henry Island. The encounter ended west of Battleship rock (48 61.386 N; 123 22.547 W) at 8:48 a.m. with the whales still resting.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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7:30 am - J's and some L's just went by the Center for Whale Research (7:20am) in a tight resting group. No calls on the hydrophone. ID'd were J27, J35, J17, J28, J45, J22, J38, J32, L72, L105 and many others.
Courtney Smith (via Facebook)
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0725 - OrcaSound hydrophone - some of the Js and lots of Ls in large line, going north.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island

July 17, 2010

As one of our naturalists Lauren mentioned yesterday the whales have been testing our reach lately and today was no different. This morning they cruised quickly up the west side of San Juan Island continuing to head north. By the time we headed out of the harbor the reports were saying they were at Turn Point off of Stuart Island. We finally caught up to them at North Pender Island in Canada. Other whale watch boats could be seen up ahead but before we made it that far one of our guests spotted some Orcas off our port side. As we watched this group of five we identified them as the grouping known as the J16's. This group consists of a female J16 and her 4 offspring. While they mostly traveled they occasionally made us ooo and ahhhh with a tail slap and even a few cartwheels. The fog from the morning had cleared and the whales slowly surfaced making for some nice kodak moments.
Casey, San Juan Safaris
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Whale calls heard at 11:36 am your time at Orcasound hydrophone.
P. Smith
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11:12 am - Hearing J pod calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones right now. Too bad for the fog!
Courtney Smith, Center for Whale Research
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Wholistener (auto-recorder on OrcaSound hydrophone) picked up these calls - click here and here to listen.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach
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Lime Kiln hydrophone 12:03 am: Many repetitive S2s on Orcasound hydrophone previously (and still), but now more are audible on Lime Kiln, along with a nice loud S7 and clicks just now.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach

July 16, 2010

A wonderful array of honks and squeaks and creaks and whistles on the lime kiln hydrophone this evening, 11 p.m.
Caryn
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10:59 pm: Orca calls at OrcaSound hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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6:13 pm: Getting some interesting vocals on the San Juan hydrophones right now.
Jen Savage (via Facebook)
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Orca whale, off Saturna Island - "I love to play in the Salish Sea, whee!"
Tiffany Young (via Facebook)
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~10 am: just like to report a gray whale feeding in close to shore at Davis Bay, Sechelt BC (low tide). Seems this or another whale has been here most of the week off & on. Regards,
Cornelia, Sechelt, B.C.

July 15, 2010

Bottom of Lopez Island!! Found J pod around Iceberg Pt. and followed them North. Lots of breaches and spyhops - good times! Here's a picture of a spyhop.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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1pm: Lots of action from the orcas as they headed around the south end of Lopez. There were breaches, tail slaps, rolls and an interesting charge into a rocky point (must have been some good salmon).
Sally Reeve, Lopez Island
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Here's a couple of nice shots (orcas) I got. They were taken at latitude 48 27' 24.82"N and longitude 122 46'9.19"W (S. Rosario Strait). I was on Captain Carli's boat out of Friday Harbor. We encountered J pod.
Carole May, Bellingham
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Orca Calls on the OrcaSound hydrophones at 5:34 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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Hearing wonderful calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone at 5 pm!
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Whistles and clicks on Lime Kiln at 4:24 PM! And on the OrcaSound hydrophones (further N on SJI) at 5:50 pm.
Candice Smith (via Facebook)
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales called at 3:40 pm to report J pod heading north off Hannah Heights, San Juan Island.
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Erick Peirson reported J pod southbound in Rosario Strait at 12:30 pm, approaching Davidson.
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Veronica von Allworden of Sky and Sea Photography, and Orca Network volunteer, called to report she had done a fly-over of the Everett area and found the Gray whale near Everett. She then sent us this report: I finally found the gray whale again at about 5 PM today. It was in a shallow area west of the Large Marine marker that is on the edge of the drop off west of Everett and north of Hat (Gedney) Island. The whale was lying on the bottom just coming up to breathe. It did not feed or swim in the 15 minutes that I photographed it. The whale had some pink patches on its back above the flippers. Looked like sea lice, possibly on wounds. It's difficult to say if this was the same whale that I photographed last month. Today's whale spent very little time on the surface and it's hard to get accurate pictures through the water. Today's whale seemed to have more white on its fluke and pink patches on it's back compared to the gray that I photographed on 6/23/10 (we agree - after looking at Veronica's photos of the Gray whale she photographed in June, the flukes on this one definitely look different - ON). There were quite a few boats in the vacinity- none of which seemed to be aware that the whale was there.
Veronica von Allworden, Langley, Whidbey Island
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We just saw on KIRO News a video they took at around 2 pm this afternoon of the Gray whale swimming toward a small boat setting out a large fishing net - they were on a collision course, when suddenly the boat saw the whale and revved up, taking in the net to avoid the whale, while at the same time the whale made a 90 degree turn to avoid the boat and net - whew!!! The good news is that in this video the whale appeared to be swimming quite well, and wasn't stationary, as in the above report - ON
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Ship's Log: Anchored now off Jones Island for a shore hike after a day and a half coming up the westside of San Juan Island. 1400 today encountered a Minke Whale traveling northeast between Flattop and Jones Island.
Sound Experience aboard the Schooner Adventuress (via Facebook)
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4:54 pm: Paddled through 6' waves across Blackney Sound, B.C. to be rewarded by a humpback and orca sighting as soon as we hauled out to rest on SE Swanson Island.
Nadja Baker-Zimmerman and Jim Zimmerman, Anacortes

July 14, 2010

We had a two part whale sighting in Active Pass. The first group, with Mr. Ruffles (J1) bringing up the rear, came through around 11:30. They came very close to our shoreline, swimming sideways (see photo of the day, above) and snuffling in the kelp. The second group, more active with many tail slaps and breaches, came through around 1 pm.
Karoline Cullen, Cullen Photos, Galiano Island, B.C.
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8 pm-8:30 pm - been watching the gray whale blowing off Harborview Park in Everett - same area where he beached himself twice last week. He's not rolling like last week - mostly blows. Seeing his fins just a little. 9:02 pm - just lost sight of him headed east toward Howarth Park and port of Everett. Good to see him!
Mary Dulin, Everett, WA

July 13, 2010

6:36 pm - Orca calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales and SoundWatch was with J's and L's from 10 am to about 5 pm, from Salmon Bank to False Bay, San Juan island.
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Reaching the middle of July, summer in the San Juans is really in full swing. Today we spotted members of the J and L-pods near Eagle Point on San Juan Island. As we neared their location we could hear the impressively loud blows of the orcas' exhale. Large clouds of mist shot above the surface. Captain Craig lowered our hydrophone into the water, allowing us to hear them communicate below the surface. Each of the pods speak their own dialect. On average, each of the pods have ten separate types of calls.
Sally, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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[Orcas] are at Lime Kiln (hydrophones). Clicking and what sounded like a high pitched S_7 at about 12:18 Pacific. Calls more frequent at 12:27 Pacific.
Pamela Smith
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11:50 am - Orca calls at OrcaSound hydrophones. 12:01 pm - Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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The Gray whale was observed and videotaped by KIRO & KOMO TV this morning, swimming in Tulalip Bay.
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At 7:30 this morn Komo 4 showed live aerial shots of a (the) Gray whale swimming in deep water in Tulalip Bay. Good sight to see. No specific location given. They also mentioned that yesterday someone said Orcas were harassing the Gray. That bit is third hand of course.
Alisa

July 12, 2010

We had reports of orcas on the south side, but weren't sure they would come our way as we headed north in more comfortable waters, sighting bald eagles, harbor porpoise, harbor seals, and marine birds along the way. As we rounded to the west, J-Pod families, with J-2 Granny, classically in the lead, displayed many of the behaviors we had been talking about, as if on cue! Our guests were delighted, and our timing spot on, for the smoothest conditions and seeing the whales! We also had quite a few children on board and since these killer whales are listed as endangered I asked a group if they knew what 'endangered' meant. One little girl thought for a moment and said "that means they need something". What a great response. Yes, these whales need Chinook salmon, clean water, and our care and respect! Little J-45 Se-Yi'-Chn, capped off our trip with four consecutive breaches! The day was filled with hope and magic.
Caroline Armon, OnBoard Tours
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7:30 pm - Orca calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Jamie Torrence & Darwin Ed Pinkham (via Facebook)
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln at 11:24 am, 2:20 pm, 6:05 pm, 6:43 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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whale calls off Lime Kiln - 2:55pm PST - echoes, burbles, groans and sounds like some L pod calls!
Annika Bowden (via Facebook)
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Calls on Orcasound hydrophone! 11:06 am!
Candice Smith (via Facebook)
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Fortunately for us, by the time we got out to the west side of San Juan to view the whales, the winds had abated somewhat and the seas were fairly calm. Just in time to see our wonderful whales of J-Pod. We thought we only had one or two whales near Kellett Bluff and so we waited to see who else might be around when suddenly the waters fairly sprouted 8-10 more whales that had been on a long dive! J1 Ruffles was once again leading the pack, right next to J2 Granny (what a good son!) We also saw J19 and her calf, J30 (a sprouter male that is getting huge!), J27 Blackberry, J8 Speiden (with her small dorsal fin and very distinctive blow!) The whales didn't seem to be in much of a hurry, and spent their time searching the tidal rips for something to munch on, and play around with each other. Soon we found ourselves just north of the Turn Point Lighthouse in the very cool upwellings, and we waited for the whales to arrive. And waited. And waited. And as I like to say on the boat, patience is usually rewarded, and boy was it! The whales had been fairly spread out before the lighthouse, and maybe it was the strong currents, but soon we had 12-15 whales coming up in a large group! A few cartwheels (by the whales, not the naturalists) were followed by some huge pectoral fin slaps by none other than J1 Ruffles! And then little J45 decided he'd show Ruffles how to do some pretty impressive breaches (4 of them to be exact)--full height followed by a landing on the belly! It was the perfect ending to a picture-perfect summer day.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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A gray whale that has been stranded recently on Everett-area beaches was spotted heading toward Camano Island early this morning. Shortly before 6 a.m., an eyewitness spotted the whale swimming freely at Mission Beach surfacing at regular intervals.
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We were looking for the gray whale and found orcas and this morning, went out looking for the orcas and finally found the gray whale - I got some shots of it too!
Celia Robertson, Victoria, B.C.
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T-012A "Nitnat" negotiating Tofino Harbour at 1215 pm, headed to sea.
Nick Templeman
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22:41 PDT - Multiple pod calls audible. The A30s (Northern Resident orcas) just went by the Lab (OrcaLab, Hanson Island, N. Vancouver Island) moving very slowly against the strong ebbing tide. But they were not alone. In the late evening light we watched another group, perhaps the C6s, adjust themselves into the back eddy close to hanson Island. They finally made way towards Johnstone Strait. We have not yet heard them. The tide will turn in about two hours so hopefully it will be come easier,
Helena Symond, OrcaLab/OrcaLive
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John Boyd of Western Prince relayed a report of a Gray whale spotted off Cattle Pt, SW San Juan Island.

July 11, 2010

My sister and I saw a whole pod of Orcas very close to the shore about 7am, along Beach Drive (Victoria, B.C.).
Celia Robertson, Victoria, B.C.
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Brent Norberg of NOAA Fisheries (who had earlier this week been in the water with the stranded gray whale) was out crabbing on Sunday, and who should swim past him but the Gray whale he helped rescue?! He was between Tulalip Bay and S. Camano Island, near Spee-Bi-Dah, and the whale seemed headed toward Port Susan, around 4 pm.
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On a lighthouse tour this afternoon we came across L Pod members cruising north along Stuart and on past Turn Point at 1700. They seemed to be in high spirits with the major tidal rips and upwellings off Turn Pt. Among others, not identified, we espied L- 12,22,25,41,72,78,79,93,105,113. On our am trip, J1 was surfing in the six foot swells as he came across Haro Strait arriving at the county park around about 1030. We also saw J2 and others inshore. It was so dramatic out there this morning with big swells, 20 knots SW wind, fog curtain rising and falling, sun silvered seas and surfing whales!
Deb Martyn, Orcas Eclipse Charters
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We were passing through Speiden Channel and fortunately for us, the whales decided to head in that same direction, and we found a nice group of whales just north of Battleship Island. Even from 1/2 mile away, we were able to pick out J1 Ruffles. Our passengers were amazed that I could ID a whale from that far away-well, until I told them how I did it. That dorsal fin is mighty distinctive. And soon we were close enough that they could see his wavy fin, along with Granny J2's nicked dorsal fin. Following behind J1 & J2 were about 6-8 more individuals, and we were privileged enough to see several breaches (see Photo of the Day, above), tail lobs, and a spyhop. Our afternoon trip had us in a quandry as we had two groups of whales within our reach. The whales made were right between Kellett Bluff and Stuart Island, in fairly calm waters. It was amazing. We had the L32s and L12s foraging in the currents. At one time we had 4 whales tail-lobbing at the same time. Lots of back and forth directional changes. And even better, the sun was shining and the waters were fairly calm. But best of all, it was like we were having our own private wildlife experience as we were the only boat with this group. I think in the hour we were on-scene, the whales moved less than 1/2 mile total. We saw L85, L79, L41, L12, L25 all working the current lines. Several breaches, including one by L79 (I'm about 80% sure), spyhops, and tons of tail lobs. Too soon it was time to head back to reality, and we were all happy and content to have shared some time with these amazing creatures.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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At about 1:10 pm we began hearing AMAZING calls and whistles on the Lime Kiln hydrophones. VERY strange calls - one sounded like it was whistling a tune for awhile!!
Susan Berta, Orca Network
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At about 1:15 pm: Nice calls - behind the boat sounds! Are those J pod calls?? They sound different! Northbound I think? On Orca Cam (Ctr. for Whale Research, NW San Juan Isl) I seen a couple breaches! (yay me!) and the boats appear to be moving north ?? And some ALMOST sounded transient like - maybe they are "happy whales" with full bellies - I'd like to think so! 2:20 pm: Orca Sound hydros now !!! They moved north! I was right! NICE and LOUD! Sound like they are quacking!!!
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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They did head north! We heard some squeaks at about 10 am and bolted to Lime Kiln in the thick fog.. stayed awhile and eventually the bigger group including L41 and J's headed north. they were playing in the kelp beds and spending time on the surface - we went up to county park as well and they were again in the kelp beds. Nice tight groups.
Traci Walter (via Facebook)
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1 pm: Calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone right now!
Candice Smith (via Facebook)
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Erick Peirson called to report some of J pod was sighted off False Bay, SW San Juan Island between 11 am and noon today.

July 10, 2010

Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales called to report L pod calls on OrcaSound hydrophones at 4:25 pm.
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone, 2:42 PM, 5:44 pm, 6:25 pm. Orca calls at Orca Sound hydrophones (a bit further N on SJI) at 5:28 pm AND 6:36 PM.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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11:28 am: Orca calls on orcasound hydrophone and visual on orca cam!! : ) so excited!
Candice Smith (via Facebook)
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Those of us on the 3.30pm Ocean Magic 2 vessel out of Victoria BC had splendid views of the J's and the Two K's, K 21 Cappuccino and Raggedy J 40 that were traveling fast south of Kellett Bluff towards the 'Whale Park'. The brother and sister were close most of the time when traveling. They were simply awesome in the churning seas.
Marie, Orca-Magic, Prince of Whales, Victoria BC.
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At about 11 am, we received an email from Ray Fryberg of the Tulalip Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, saying the gray whale had re-stranded in Tulalip Bay on the Tulalip Reservation. Tulalip police, NOAA volunteers, and others worked to keep the whale wet and covered from the sun with a wet sheet, and stayed with it while the tide came back up. Ray Fryberg's daughter and Granddaughter went out in a canoe and sang a healing song to the whale. The whale was free floating by around 2 pm, but not really going anywhere. Then at 4:15 pm the whale had turned and headed out of Tulalip Bay, toward Camano Island.
Susan Berta
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1:30 pm here at Tulalip Bay, Gray now completely submerged. Periodic movement, surfacing and weak spouts. Amazing, since we saw it last night at Harborview park, Everett at 7:30pm. Quite a process. Glad it is in a quiet, peaceful area.
And an update: Shortly after my last email from Tulalip Bay, the water was deep enough for the whale to move around and then started swimming at a good pace towards the opening between the shore and shoal. It got stuck again for a bit on the shoal but eventually made it's way around and into deeper water. We left at 3:00 and it was finally on a clear path out of the bay. What a very spiritual experience.
Alisa Brooks Shoreline, WA

July 9, 2010

This afternoon aboard the Western Explorer around 1:00 PM we met up with J-Pod and the few K-Pod whales that have been traveling with them. They were between East Point and Point Roberts, at first heading towards Boundary Pass and then turning and heading back north. I was able to positively ID K21, K40, J32, J34, and J38. I don't know what has gotten into these whales lately (hopefully lots and lots of Chinook salmon!) but on my encounters with them over the last week it seems like they have been especially active. Today was no exception as we saw breach after breach. It sure is good to see them spending so much time in the inland waters lately!
Monika Wieland, Naturalist aboard the Western Explorer
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'Mystic Sea' sighted members of the Southern Residents (believed to be L pod and possibly K21, Cappucino) well spread out in the Strait of Georgia off Point Roberts around 1.00 pm - the whales were highly and consistently active exhibiting numerous breaches, cartwheels and lobtailing with the occasional spyhop thrown in for good measure.
Sandra Pollard, Freeland, Whidbey Is.
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I was with the tour trip out of Port Townsend and we encountered Orcas on the bottom south-west side of San Juan island. We had a great time and I am confused though, they said they were "L" pod, but in your reports, you said "K" pod - so here are some pics, hope you can use some of them. (one photo submitted from S. SJI that morning had J1, and one of your photos does look like L88 - but since several K pod whales have been traveling with J pod, it's possible that members of all 3 pods were present - ON). Oh and I am sending a collage of the Orca with the Minke as well.
Sandy Weideman
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I was out with the [orcas] on Thursday and Friday; don't have much to add to the July 8 reports you've already posted except to say that just after we stopped to watch the southern residents in Haro Strait, a minke surfaced near us--wonder if it was the same one who has been hanging around the orcas lately? It was heading south, away from the orcas, but cruised along the surface for quite some time before we lost sight of it. July 9, we found the J's about 3 miles NE of Patos Island. At first they were fairly spread out, traveling toward Saturna Island in small subgroups, but after a while Granny did some lobtailing and they all turned north and gathered in a tide rip. Suddenly it was breachfest! I lost count of how many breaches we saw; at one point I saw three orcas in the air at once! Lots of lobtailing and cartwheeling too. We also saw about a dozen or so porpoises just NW of Patos as we came out of Boundary Pass. During our return trip to Seattle we passed Minor Island and saw lots of new harbor seal pups as well!
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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I went out on Maya's Westside Charters at 10:00a.m. We went north to meet with J pod and the 4 K pod whales as they came south. We found the Granny J-2/Ruffles J-1 group of about 15 J pod whales (the same split configuration that they have been in for the last month) and surprisingly also Canuck L-7 and Lulu L-53 were traveling with them! As we were traveling back south toward home, other whales had been spotted heading toward East Pt., our direction of travel, so we stopped to see who was there. It was the rest of the J pod whales and the 4 K pod whales (K21, K40, K16 and K35). More of the story on my blog.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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The Gray whale that had live-stranded for the 2nd day in a row near Everett and Mukilteo, swam away again when the high tide came in the afternoon.
Susan Berta

July 8, 2010

We saw two minkes swimming together on south side SJ Island. At one point it was a minke and orca close together. Damn for not getting that photo! I've also attached a photo of one of the minke
Cathy Scott, Bow, WA
We shared this photo with Jonathan Stern of the NE Pacific Minke Whale Project, asking if he recognizes this whale, and he replied: hi-yes i believe i do - but he has a whole slew of new scars!!!! wow - thanks!!! cheers
Jonathan Stern, NE Pacific Minke Whale Project

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Went on a whale watch in the afternoon. The Minke was at 3 -4 p.m. on south side SJ Island. We only saw three orca. One was L pod Gaia. He seemed to be just lazily swimming around SJ Island, a distance behind his mom and little brother.
Cathy Scott, Bow, WA
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At 4:00 pm 6 orca passed by at Lime Kiln going north. These were the trailing whales, as all others had already gone north. These 6 whales were an interesting group. They were the L2s and the L54s. They went north, but not very far and turned and slowly made their way back down island taking a total time of about 1 1/2 hours. It was reported by an observer at the park that about 1 1/2 hours later 2 more whales came south, but it was not known who they were.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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A late evening [orca] parade heading east through Active Pass went past us on Galiano around 8:45 pm. Led by Mr. Ruffles J1) and very spread out. Frequent tail slaps and some breaching and body rolls.
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island, B.C. Canada
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Orca calls at OrcaSound hydrophone (NW San Juan Isl) at 4:57 pm. Orca calls at Lime Kiln (a bit further south) - 3:16 pm, 4:16 pm, 4:58 pm, 5:46 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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We heard So. Resident calls on the OrcaSound hydrophones at about 2:45 pm Thursday.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network
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Captain Mike informed the crew that we were heading to the west side of San Juan Island to look for our infamous Resident orca whales. Well, we didn't have to look very hard! We spotted "Cappuccino" traveling widely spread out from the other members of Kpod. Cappuccino's distinct V-shaped saddle patch made him easy to identify. His saddle patch, the gray marking beneath the dorsal fin, is "open" meaning that it contains areas of black.
Sally, Naturalist San Juan Safaris
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A few [orca] pics from the south tip of San Juan Island this morning around 7 a.m.
Tom Hartman

July 7, 2010

7:32 PM tuned in to Lime Kiln hydrophones to hear faint calls of SKRW's. 7 minutes later the chatter picked up. It was awesome!! With the whistles & chirps I thought I was in a Costa Rican rain forest. It was quiet by 7:48 PM except for the vessel passing by.
Vicky Miller, SSAMN
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones, 7:22 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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Lots of [orcas] today at Thieves Bay on Pender Island, B.C. They came by slowly in family groups of 3 or 5. Lots of spy hopping and tail slapping. One fellow had a hydrophone out and we listened to their squeals. Probably saw about 35 whales come by fishing. What a fabulous thing to see the whales so close. (10 or 20 feet away at times). All boaters were well behaved and kept their distance.
Judy on Pender
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones at 11:49 am.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network
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Whale calls and blows were heard off the Center for Whale Research at 3:30 a.m. The whales were shuffling back and forth for a few hours. Center for Whale Research staff departed Snug Harbor at 6:05 a.m. and encountered the whales resting off Bellevue Point at 6:19 a.m. (48 53.717 N; 123 17.253 W). They were in two tight groups that came together and separated several times over the course of the encounter. We had all of J pod, most of the L's (excluding the L12's and a few others) and K21, K40, K16, and K35. They were resting and traveling slowly north against the tide off Bellevue Point for over 3 hours. As we left at 10:03 a.m. (48 54.19 N;123 19.21 W) they started to pick up some speed and move further north, but later turned around, spread out, and went south.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Erick Peirson called to report the L12s at the north end of Hein Bank at 11 am, then on to the west side of Hein Bank and traveling SW at 12:40 pm.
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Orca calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone - 11:50 am.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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We heard a few calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone at 11:49 am - the whales must be heading south, and not lingering, the calls didn't last for long.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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11 am: [orcas] on the Orcasound Hydrophone!
Traci Walter (via Facebook)

July 6, 2010

Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research reported J pod spread out, passing the Center (NW San Juan Island) between 7:30 pm and a little before 9 pm. He had reports from Mark Malleson of L pod south of Victoria at 8 pm heading in.
*
We met up with part of J-pod about 1 mile north of East Point on Saturna at 3:10pm. J2 "Granny" and J1 "Ruffles were in the lead. As they headed for East Point we went ahead of them so we could watch as they traveled along the gorgeous Saturna shoreline. We also identified J8 "Spieden" she did a beautiful spyhop, J19 "Shachi" who did an amazing slow motion Belly Flop Breach. We had lots of breaches by the little ones off in the distance.
Alison Engle, Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales (and SoundWatch - who is back on the water - yay!) called to report they were with part of J pod in Active Pass July 6th - the J11s, J22s, and J17s were heading north, but the rest of J pod was 3 - 5 miles south of them and heading the opposite direction!
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Center staff woke to whale blows at 5:15 am (NW San Juan Island) shortly departed in two vessels, Shachi (w/Ken Balcomb, Pam Smith, and George Hamilton) and Eagle Dancer (w/Mark Malleson, Emma Foster, and Astrid van Ginneken). Two groups of whales were encountered on the west side of Haro Straight (between Sydney and Henry Islands). The first group - encountered at 6:45 a.m. (48 60.93 N; 123 23.98 W) - had J31, J32 and J39. J27 was a little further off milling, he later joined the other three. The second group had J22, J38 and J34. Both groups were traveling north. The encounter ended at 7:54 a.m. at 48 63.14 N; 123 24.84 W. We received reports from whale watch operators that more members of J pod, along with K21, K40, K16 and K35 were further north and heading through active pass.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Kristi Armstrong of the Port of Everett reported watching a whale (most likely a Gray whale) in the Port of Everett near the south terminal, SW of the big dome, about 20' from shore in shallow water late Tuesday afternoon. It stayed in the same area the 30 minutes she watched it, it wasn't rolling or feeding, but was spouting. We have had many reports of a Gray whale or two still in the area, feeding in the Everett area, so our guess is that either the whale was resting between feeding times, or that it may have become stuck in an area of shallow water and was waiting for the tide to come back in before moving on (it was an incoming tide when we received the call, and no other reports of the whale in that location have come in since) - sb.

July 5, 2010

Granny, J-2, stills breaches at 99 years old!! She showed us her power and place as the grand matriarch of J-Pod (and the whole Southern Resident Community of Killer Whales) today, as she led the pod south from Turn Point. I wonder that she was communicating to the families to hurry up- catch up! Since the rest of the pod was spread out a mile or more, then they sped swam at about 15 miles an hour, porpoising, leaving wakes, until they reached Henry Island. All the families came closer together and slowed their pace as they went near shore right along the cliffs, probably hunting for salmon. Both of the newest calves kept up with the fast pace. Nothing cuter than watching orca babies leaping up right next to their moms and relatives!
Caroline Armon, OnBoard Tours
*
We received a report of whales heading quickly south from East Point and departed Snug Harbor in two vessels, Shachi (with Ken Balcomb, Astrid van Ginneken, Pam Smith, and George Hamilton) and Eagle Dancer (with Mark Malleson, Erin Heydenreich and Emma Foster). Eagle Dancer encountered J1, J2, J8, J33, J19 and J41, while Shachi documented the J14's and J16's just west of Kellet Bluff at ~3:18 p.m (48 66.26 ; 123 22.46 W). We then received another report of more whales coming down Boundary Pass. We first encountered K16, K35, K40 and K21 spread out traveling south west off South Pender Island. We later encountered the J17's and the J22's. The encounter ended at Turn Point at 6:42 p.m. (48 41.12 N; 123 14.29 W).
The Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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5:09pm: I think I just heard some L pod calls!
Annika Bowden (via Facebook)
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5:30pm: More calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone now.
Darwin Ed Pinkham (via Facebook)
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Orca calls at OrcaSound hydrophone at 8:44 pm, at 9:43 pm lots of echo clicking and some calls.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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We had [orcas] today in the Strait of Georgia, just north of Boundary Pass. Mostly J's but we had K21 and K40 there too. Lots of breaching and tail slaps.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Erick Peirson reported the L12s between Sooke and Sherringham, S. Vancouver Island BC, heading west at 11:17 am.
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It was a windy, choppy 4th of July holiday in Southern Georgia Strait. After the great orca passing on Canada Day July 1st the Js and Ks returned June 3, Saturday morning at approximately 0730. The report to Lifeforce Whale and Dolphin Hotline said they were moving slow, foraging (circling) and one was belly up slapping the waters. When I arrived at 0840 I could still see them heading South. Orcas returned on July 5th in the morning off Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts while others were heading north in Active Pass. The Point ones were spread out taking long dives, doing some foraging, and a bit of socializing. One breached four times in approximately 5 minutes. At about 1200 there was another passing not close to shore and heading south.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Founding Director
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Southern Residents possibly K and L pod headed east past Tofino at 1800 hrs.
Nick Templeman, Weigh West Resort, Tofino B.C. (via Facebook)
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[Orcas] were picked up at approximately 1600 hrs traveling very spread out east bound down the coast at Cleland Island which is about 4 miles southwest of Tofino. We viewed them for 1.5 hrs during which I think we saw some fishing, speed swimming with the swells, and socializing. A couple of breaches out of the male I sent the photo of as well. There were somewhere between 20-25 animals. I didn't see all because they were spread out over a mile or more. We left them passing Lennard Island Lighthouse, 1-2 miles offshore at 1800 hrs.
Nick Templeman
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There were over 100 blue and humpback whales feeding, an exceptional number.
Nancy Black, Monterey Bay Whale Watch
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Here in Everett we spotted what appeared to be two (?) gray whales, possibly one much larger than the other. From the beach at Harborview Park below the train track, we saw the two whales last night. They seemed to be playing, coming as close as 40 feet to the shore, oblivious to the Lab dogs fetching water toys, kids with boogie boards and even the sound of the train. One appeared to be at least 30 feet long (?), both playing and flipping their tails which were black on the top and appeared white on the back side. The body of one appeared black, white, gray mottled. The tide was coming in around 7:30 as we observed them for a least 30 minutes, while they slowly swam east to the Everett Naval station from the west and just south of the Mukilteo ferry landing. One man with binoculars said it was the second day he had watched them "scraping barnacles off their bodies." When we finally left, they were still swimming close to the edges of the bulkhead just west of the storage silo before the navy base. I've never seen whales this close in Everett in some 35 years.
Karen Hemila Schilde
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Clear calls at the Lime Kiln hydrophone (5:27 pm - the whales must be traveling south).
Jette Hope
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Jeff Hogan called Orca Network at 4:35 pm to report orca calls on the OrcaSound (NW San Juan Island) hydrophones. Also tuned into the Center for Whale Research Orca Cam and saw several orcas porpoising out of the water!
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The first [orca] I heard (before I was out of bed this morning) was at 0630 and it's now 0750 and there are Orca still traveling past Mouat Point. Many small groups moving slowly (mainly) going North in Swanson Channel with several short changes of direction and some feeding behaviour. Several "barrel rolls", and tail slaps. Great way to start the day!
Marti Tilley at Mouat Point, Pender Island
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11:30 Gray whale again close to shore between Harborview and Howarth Parks just off Everett. Very active rolling and blowing.
Mary Dulin

July 4, 2010

Jan, my wife, and I were visiting La Push, WA over the weekend and got a good look at a small group of 5-6 killer whales off Third Beach on Sunday. We watched the whales for about 30 min or so sometime between 4 and 6 pm. The whales were loitering around much of the time at the edge of Strawberry Bay - we viewed them from Third Beach. They eventually made their way from the eastern part of the bay to the west end and were approaching Teahwhit Head (going northwest) when we last saw them. We were able to see them well enough to note the white eye patch and the silver saddle behind the dorsal fin at times, which confirmed our identification. Two were immatures while the other 3 or 4 were adults. All had curved dorsal fins and there were no adult males in the group. We didn't take any photos, but in hindsight, that might have helped confirm them as transients, I suppose. It was difficult to confirm group size because they never swam and surfaced in any organized manner, but there were definitely at least 5 and perhaps 6. I think that about covers it. I never thought I'd see killer whales along the outer coast so it was very exciting!
Gary Wiles, WDFW
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4:30 pm Posession Sound area - Saw a gray whale just off shore between Harborview Park and Howarth Park, headed east toward Everett. Very close to shore, constantly rolling and blowing, worked its way toward Everett/Port Gardner. Showed up later in the day around 6 pm or so, also.
Mary Dulin
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales called to report J pod at Lime Kiln, heading north at 5:40 pm, amongst the wind and whitecaps.
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Orca Network received a call from Arlene Solomon on Mayne Island, reporting ~7 orcas went by at 4:05 pm heading north, passing Enterprise Reef and entering Active Pass on the west side.
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We saw what appeared to be part of Jpod between Granny's Cove (American Camp Nat'l Park) and Eagle Point this afternoon around 3pm. Lots of quick lunging and tracking along the surface--hopefully finding some good fish.
Doug Kari and Tim, San Juan Island
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In the morning we met up with part of J-Pod two miles south of Turn Point slowly heading north at 11:30 AM. We saw J1 do half a dozen breaches, J2 give to big cartwheels, and J8 clear the water on a breach as well. The "whale fireworks" outdid the traditional fireworks of the evening on this day, as it is always especially awesome to see some of the older whales going strong. In the afternoon around 3 PM we met up with a different group of J-Pod whales right off Kellett Bluffs. They were milling around, not going anywhere in particular, and spending a lot of time rolling at the surface. In the swell it was tough to confirm IDs, but J34 was definitely there, as were K21 and K40 who seem to have become honorary J-Pod whales of late. As always, you can see photos of our encounters on my blog.
Monika Wieland, Western Prince Naturalist
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We headed to the west side of San Juan Island today to oo and awe in the presence of our resident J-pod orcas. We spotted the orcas off every direction of the boat. Not to mention that two bald eagles were flying above us. The orcas were spread out from each other, occasionally joining with a family member to travel in a small closely knit group. We spotted at least one calf, with orange markings that will eventually turn white as the orca matures. The J-pod has had four new calves since 2009. Before we turned back to Friday Harbor the orcas gave us a grand finale. They breached and cartwheeled, creating big splashes and allowing us to view the white undersides of their bellies.
Sally, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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We headed north towards Battleship Island, and before we knew it, we were seeing a very familiar, large dorsal fin with a wavy back edge to it. Yep--our good friend J1, Ruffles. He was traveling like a good son near his mom, J2 Granny. The bulk of whales were behind them by several miles, so we decided to hang out with Ruffles and Granny for a bit. Ruffles decided he wasn't so old after all and launched out of the water!! And I guess he must have had some good food last night as we heard on the radio that he breached an additional 5 times that morning! We then watched J27 and gang come by, and they were porpoising as they sped to catch up to J1 & J2. We had a report of another group of whales that were just milling around Kellett Bluff, so off we went. Along the way we made a very wide scan for dall's porpoises, but they have been very scarce this summer. As we floated about 400 yards from the small group of whales, we noticed that they were taking turns meandering into Open Bay, then out along the shore into the current, and back again. Whales were logging on the surface, some for 2-3 minutes at a time. One whale in Open Bay did a large cartwheel. Another spyhopped along the shoreline at Kellett. And then a big male came up and finally an ID--K21 Cappucino! So knowing he's tight with sister K40 Raggedy, we began looking for her tell-tale dorsal fin. But no sign of her, just a whale with about a foot of her nose sticking out of the water. Kinda like she was thinking of doing a spyhop, but just holding the nose out of the water. For nearly 2 minutes! And then she rose to take a breath and voila--K40! The whales had been milling at Kellett for nearly an hour before we got there, and after about 30 minutes, decided it was time to head south. K40 did 3 breaches, there were lots of surface percussives and more spyhops, and the whales decided "rest and recreation" time was over and it was time to move on.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Explorer
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones at 7:46 pm on July 3, then on July 4 at 12:20, 1:55, 9:38 and 10:44 pm, then at 10:49 pm: What was that all about - an explosion of sound for 3 min. and then gone --- hmmmmm ???
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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Listening to the water @Lime Kiln hydrophone at 8:20 PM. At 9:33 PM the SKRW's started to show up. What a nice change after hearing fireworks all day. Chatter stopped 9:55 PM. About 10:44 Orca chatter started up. It was phenomenal! The sounds were amazing but lasted 2 minutes. Very short but sweet. Awesome!
Vicky Miller SSAMN
*
Up to 10? Orcas, including 2 babies, close to shore by Turn Point Lighthouse traveling north mid day. They were quite awesome seeing them jump together. I am bummed I didn't get a pic of them. They were traveling & really moving - we were told this was the J pod (confirmed J pod by photos attached to report).
Cheryl Clifton

July 3, 2010

Here is a photo of L25 Ocean Sun (see below under "Save the Date"), taken in the evening.. It was taken somewhere on the south/west side of San Juan island. The Js and the Ls were all spread out in the area, with lots of surface activity. It was a great day!! We were close to the minke that some of the orcas were interacting with, mentioned in a previous report. It popped up right by the boat!
Carrie Sapp
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6:15 pm: lots of [orcas] to begin the holiday weekend today- pretty sure there were members of all three pods- lots of breaching and a nice close pass to shore by an entire family group right out front (Hannah Heights, W San Juan Island). Hung for a while too...oh the joy! Happy 4th!
Sandy Buckley, San Juan Island (via Facebook)
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1) We were shut down off Andrews Bay watching the whales foraging and after being under about 3-4 minutes, Granny surfaced immediately along our port mid-ships and then dove under the boat and resurfaced grasping a salmon, flashing silver in the midday sun. Everyone on board cheered her success! 2)On our evening whale watch off Eagle Pt., we watched for about 15 minutes; J27, L41,L25, L12 and a few other orca AND a young Minke swimming together. Certainly two rare sighting treats for the day!
Deb Martyn, Naturalist onboard Orcas I. Eclipse Charters
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We traveled north to meet the whales traveling down the west side of San Juan Island. The nice weather and holiday brought out many boaters who were also excited to observe the Orcas. After reaching the whales we recognized Cappuccino and Raggedy from the K pod. The whales were very widely spread along the west side of the island and traveling south. Even though the whales were far apart they could still remain in communication with each other. We often deploy our hydrophone to listen in to these private underwater conversations. Each of the different pods sound distinct and researchers are capable of identifying the pods just by listening to them.
-The dynamic duo: Sally and Casey, San Juan Safaris
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales called to report J pod and some K pod members were heading south down the west side of San Juan Island at 2:47 pm. L pod was heading in from further west, and it appeared they might all meet up at Lime Kiln Park.

July 2, 2010

'Mystic Sea' received reports of Southern Residents about 20 minutes away but moving south when leaving Cap Sante Marina, Anacortes, at 11.00 am. Caught up with SR's well spread out between NAS Whidbey and Smith Island, later coming across Ruffles (J1) traveling alone off Smith Island. More SR's off Lopez, again fairly well spread out.
Sandra Pollard, Freeland
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J Pod at the bottom end of San Juan Island today near Salmon Bank. Lots of foraging.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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We met up with members of the Southern Resident Orca Community off the south end of Lopez Island today. I was immediately able to identify Raggedy (or K40). She is easily identifiable because of her "raggedy" dorsal fin. The orcas appeared to be fishing. They were very spread out, traveling in no particular direction, and taking longer dives than usual. We traveled with the animals as they headed toward Cape San Juan. Some of the orcas were traveling in a tight-knit group off the coast of South Beach (on San Juan Island) and spent some time porpoising collectively.
Ashley, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Friday at 9 am this morning we observed 6-7 Orcas traveling South past Washington State Park by Anacortes toward Whidbey in center of channel.
Bill & Jere Leistritz
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John Rochsted of WA State Ferries called to report 4 orcas near Anacortes, heading south in Rosario Strait at 3 to 4 knots, at 8:58 am.
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We came upon J-pod as they were southbound, just outside of Deception Pass around 10:30 am. Looked like they were feeding, spread out, moving pretty fast and changing directions frequently. We saw them again south of Lopez Island a little after noon, still spread out and with lots of breaching, cartwheeling and lobtailing. We saw Ruffles, Mike, Samish with Se-Yi'-Chn (who was imitating mama's lobtail), Oreo, Doublestuff and Cookie; there were others, too, who I couldn't identify. As we were heading back into Friday Harbor, it looked like maybe another pod was approaching from the SW? Everyone was so spread out it was hard to tell. Calm waters provided excellent spotting conditions and we saw many porpoises scattered around between Admiralty Inlet and Possession Point; mostly harbor porps but there were a few Dall's too.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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I've been on your email list for a while now and have paid particular attention to Monterey Bay sightings as I live in Monterey and have never seen an orca (pretty much the last thing on my list of local wildlife that I'd never seen, but wanted to). Well, today I was heading home from work on the "scenic" route to avoid the San Francisco Bay Area holiday weekend get out of town traffic, so headed from San Jose to the coast and headed down from San Gregorio all the way to Monterey on Highway 1. I stopped at Moss Landing to see if the raft of otters was being photogenic - and they were! By chance I decided to go to the main mouth of the harbor entrance to see if anything cool was happening there. As I got there and looked out to sea, I saw spouts silhouetted against the sun - kind of large spouts for what I've seen before, so I started snapping away. When I got home and looked at the photos, I realized that I had seen orcas. The photos are pretty bad, as the orcas were a bit offshore and were directly into the sun from where I was standing at the mouth of the harbor, but I've attached a bunch of them (note these are full size crops from much larger photos and I was shooting with a 400mm lens). Time was between 6:50pm and 7pm - there were four or five of them I think, and they kept coming up in the same area the whole time - slightly north of the harbor entrance - and however far out they were (I can't really tell). I noticed in the harbor entrance that sea lions were heading out to ocean, so maybe the orcas were just waiting for them? I'm just happy to have finally seen orcas! Regards,
Tim Huntington, Monterey, CA
From Nancy Black of Monterey Bay Whale Watch: Thanks for sending the photos, I have been studying the killer whales in Monterey Bay for 23 years now and know the individuals. I think this group is the CA51's, which is mom with her 3 young plus grandkid. When they are around, they tend to hang out around ML more than others do. If you live in Monterey, best time to see them is April and May.

July 1, 2010

We were with the southern residents in Swanson Channel; they were swimming close together and there were lots of fins in the air at once--at one point I counted 15 on the surface simultaneously. We also saw the UW Center for Conservation Biology's boat with the orca scat sniffing dog successfully collecting a sample.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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After watching J's and L's go by the Center for Whale Research (NW San Juan Isl.) around 7:30 a.m, Ken Balcomb, Erin heydenreich, Emma Foster and Astrid van Ginneken departed Snug Harbor and caught up with the whales just off Kellett Bluff at 8:46 a.m. (48 60.197 N; 123 20.528 W). The whales were spread out in mixed tight groups. We encountered most of L pod in two tight groups traveling slowly north. We had all the L's except the L2's, L54's and some of the L5's. The rest of the J's and possibly the other L's were presumably further north. The encounter ended at 10:20 a.m. off Stuart Island (48 68.471 N; 123 23.742 W).
Center for Whale Research
*
I recorded a two-hour stay of some Js in the Pt. Roberts, WA south side bay. Previously times were approximately 1 hour and then later returns. We should call this critical habitat South Residents Orca Bay. The July 1 Canada Day holiday began for Lifeforce as orcas were reported as heading north to Active Pass. Well it was a split so some of the orcas were off Lighthouse Marine Park at 3PM heading south. They were very spread out and actively engaged in foraging and socializing. J28 and her baby were there with baby on her back and baby raising the head way out of the water. They moved back and forth generally heading south easterly but at 5PM they made one final turn and kept going heading back to the Fraser River. As whale watch company jargon goes, the others who were ahead as "leaders" followed and they became the "trailers". Now it was time to see if the trip north will be long or short by returning to the park in the dark to listen for their passing. It was a beautiful quiet night and at 2308 multiple blows were heard for about 30 minutes. The whoofs, whoofs, whoofs were a night time whale hear experience. Amongst the many, many blows one could hear some slaps and splashes.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Founding Director, Pt. Roberts, WA
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5:54 pm - Orca calls at Lime Kiln Hydrophone. 2:52 pm - Orca calls at Lime Kiln Hydrophone.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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7:51 am - S4 and a variable call along with many clicks were automatically recorded this morning (on the OrcaSound hydrophone, NW San Juan Island).
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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We got spoiled with J pod and some K's giving us an awesome show! Playing in the kelp beds, spyhopping, breaching - you name it, we saw it. We followed them from Swanson Channel and into Active Pass. It was a Canada Day that my passengers and I will never forget! Here are a couple pictures, one of a bellyflop from J16 entering the pass and another of a J Pod breach (see photo above) in the Active Pass.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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We left the dock and we made our way over to the west side of San Juan Island where the Orcas were reported to be. We traveled south along the island watching the whales calmly moved along. They were in no rush as they occasionally changed direction and milled about. Their slow pace offered some wonderful views of these amazing animals.
Casey, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island
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This morning the show began just about 6:30am- there were whales headed north very close to the shores of the west side of San Juan Island. I only saw a few at first but within 30 minutes I began to hear pec slaps and blows echoing up the hill. I ran outside to find LOTS of J's and L's spyhopping and rolling around in the kelp along the shoreline. Hoping they would stay close to shore I ran over to Lime Kiln and sure enough---group after group began languidly swimming by the rocky outcroppings, coming incredibly close to the shore. Lots of breaches, rolls, and tight family groupings. It was great to see so many L pod members I have not seen "up close" for a while- and the angle at which they passed the shore allowed many chances to see their faces as they rolled through the water.
Sandy Buckley, Postcards From Friday Harbor
For charts of the Salish Sea and Pacific Ocean, go to: NOAA Nautical Chart On-Line Viewer - Pacific Coast




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