July 2011 Whale Sightings

July 31, 2011

Just wanted to share....I had the incredible good fortune to be on a small tour boat west of San Juan Island with my childhood friend, Melody, when the resident Orcas had their gathering of the clans. J, K, and L pods were all coming in from north, south and east to form a superpod. 65 whales in all directions around us...It was a spectacular party time, with spy-hopping, tail-lobbing, cartwheels, breaching, blowing, porpoising, you name it, they displayed it. It was a joyful family reunion of the highest order.
"Granny," the matriarch of J pod is 100 years old, and there were two new calves. There are no words to describe the thrill of watching a ten ton beauty thrust out of the water, become airborn, twist and flip back into the water with a dramatic splash! We had front row seats to the most amazing demonstration of wild freedom imaginable. I am stunned and humbled and will never forget this truly awesome gift. Keep our waters clean, protect our salmon runs, (the survival of the Orcas depends upon the health of the salmon) and bring Lolita home (the last surviving Orca stolen from Penn Cove off Whidbey Island, living in a 35' tank at Seaquarium in Florida).
Maureen
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As we went around Cattle Point we spotted our first killer whale. Then, a little further ahead, there were many killer whales, at least ten of them, traveling close together. We were able to identify the new calf (K-44) and Cappuccino. We also believe there were some J-pod members in the mix. The juveniles were being particularly playful, spy hopping and tail slapping. One little guy also breached! In the midst of all the excitement, some salmon jumped out of the water in front of our boat. The whales then started heading close to shore, and right before they reached Lime Kiln they changed direction and headed back towards False Bay.
Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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K-Pod whales that were sighted off Pender yesterday afternoon and near Tsawwassen early yesterday evening, passed by East Point Saturna Island this morning at 9:20am headed back to Haro Strait -- about 15 orcas traveling west with an ebb tide. Traveling behavior for the most part -- a few breaches and some fluking in Boundary Pass. K13's came right to shore including K13, K25, K27 & K44.
-Miles Ritter, Saturna Island
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Just began hearing calls on Lime Kiln at about 3:15 pm.
Susan Berta
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Orca in Johnstone Strait, BC - 11:54 AM - Orca pod heading north off the east side of Hull Island, Johnstone Strait.
Karen Rahal

July 30, 2011

I saw what appears to be 4 Transient Orcas off of Gabriola Island. The lone male appeared first and stayed for a little bit in one area. The other 3 joined later. They would come up and go down, staying near the surface in one area, possibly feeding. They then carried on to some rocky islands headed North. My guess is there were seals on the rocks. I even saw one lye on its back and tail lob. I looked through the transients. Is this possibly T030A? Does he have a bend to the left on his dorsal? It was neat. Only too bad I was on shore! Binoculars were great!
Tim Green
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A splendid whale day with not one but two sightings of orcas heading east through Active Pass. Around 3:30 pm the first group, K pod I believe, went through on a very fast tide. They were accompanied by at least 10 boats so it was very busy in the Pass. Around 7:15 pm and for about an hour, a second parade of Js and Ls came past our Orca Rock. Very spread out, in small groups, fishing as they went. Some tail lobs, a cartwheel, sideways swimming, a few breaches and spyhops.
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island, BC
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3:20 pm - Arlene Solomon called from Mayne Island BC to say she was watching a pod of orcas entering Active Pass from the south.
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Candy Neville called Orca Network to report a single orca seen this morning at 9:30 am from Hiway 1 south of Yachats, OR. It was about 50 yards from shore.

July 29, 2011

Little K44 was having a good look around at 1.30 pm with several spyhops as he frolicked in choppy water off the west side of San Juan Island. Members of all three pods were present with a couple of small, tight groups (including K44) exhibiting a gradual change to more tactile and high velocity behavior, breaching, cartwheeling and lobtailing, after a fairly stately procession.
Sandra Pollard, SSAMN
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We found [orcas] right around false bay and they were milling, hunting, and doing other things that whales like to do. It looked like K's and a few J's here and there. Blackberry was making amorous advances toward one of the K ladies, who had a little one with her. Salmon were jumping, whales were pec slapping. The wildlife was all around rowdy.
Laura, naturalist, san juan safaris
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Orca sighting off coast of san juan county park! OMG! The orcas came to visit again last night, right in front of the county park! This time at 3:00am! And maybe with a baby! Lots of vocalization and fin slapping! Can't believe how lucky we were to see them two nights in a row!
Lynette and Alexandria, Visiting from California

July 28, 2011

The black dorsals of J and K pod broke the chop of Haro Strait as we made our way towards Victoria. We then allowed the strong current that had worked against us to now be in our favor as it pushed us towards the west coast of San Juan Island, drifting beside the orcas. We saw Deadhead (K-27), who was named after the singer of the Grateful Dead who passed the year of her birth, and her three-week-old son. The passengers (and the naturalists) gasped as she unexpectedly spyhopped to check out her terrestrial surroundings.
Kirsten Dale, naturalist, San Juan Safaris Whale Watching & Wildlife Tours
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Hydrophone reports
5:43 PM - ORCA AT LIME KILN
6:06 PM - LIME KILN - LOUD CALLS
6:35 PM - THEY COME TO ORCASOUND
6:48 PM - ORCA AT ORCASOUND
Too much boat noise to hear the calls - but...the calls are getting louder now.....
Robo
Calls and echolocation beginning at Lime Kiln. 5:45 pm PDT
Calls and echolocation beginning at Orcasound now. 6:38 pm.

Meg McDonald
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OMG! We were awoken at 1:00am this morning to the sound of flapping fins! We jumped out of our tent and ran to the bluffs at the county park, and could not believe our eyes! Right down in front of us, not 50 feet away, were 3-5 orcas slapping the water, making a wonderful racket! All of the sudden, they stopped slapping and started vocalizing, and I swear they sounded almost human! They were rolling around in the water. We stayed and watched until 3:15! And when we turned around to walk back to out campsite, one of the orcas jumped up and made a loud splash! We missed the jump, but we saw the splash! It was totally amazing!
Lynette and Alexandria, Visiting from California

July 27, 2011

We left for our 2pm trip with news that a group of transients had been spotted in the morning on the South side of Active Pass. By the time we reached them they were cruising up the east shore of Valdes Island, spread out in a search for seals! We got there just in time to witness 2 kills of Harbor seals and some celebratory activity. In total we witnessed at least 3 kills, 4 spyhops and 4 breaches. We later identified the 4 whales as T101, T101A, T101B and T102, which we were excited to discover, as the last time these whale were in the area was for their famous visit to Stanley Park. Great to see the transients again and a beautiful summer day on the water!
Claire, Naturalist, Steveston Seabreeze Adventures
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4:30 - I'm on Protection Island (west of Port Townsend) doing some volunteer work with NOAA and WDFW, and 5 transients just showed up on the west side of the island to charge the harbor seals hauled out on the beach. They hung out for 15-20 minutes, lobtailed a bit, then took off south. I think there may have been a little guy with them, couldn't quite tell for sure.
4:45 - They're back, and there's definitely a baby. Looks like they just chomped a harbor seal, lots of seabirds circling.
Reilly Hannigan
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4 pm - We just watched 6 Orca hunting harbor seals on Kanem & Violet points (Protection Is). There were 3 lunges for shore and one seal corralled by at least 5 Orca! The group had one large male and two small Orca of about 1/3rd of the size of the large male. They were heading east when last seen.
Sue Thomas, Protection Island NWR
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Noon - Many orcas heading slowly south past False Bay right now!
Melisa Pinnow
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Echolocation and calls at Lime Kiln. 8:49 am.
Meg McDonald

July 26, 2011

1:00 PM About 20 Orca at 48.5 N and 123.4 W off Beechy Head in East Sooke Regional Park on Vancouver Island, B.C. traveling West
Briony Cayley, Toronto, Ontario
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Today was an awesome afternoon on the west side of San Juan Island. The whales were visible from Lime Kiln Point State Park from 12:30-6:00 PM. J- and K-Pods started by coming slowly south, very spread out, against the flood tide. Then they all went north with the L12s, before turning and coming back south again. At times whales were right off the kelp, and other times they were well out in the middle of Haro Strait. Throughout the afternoon we saw a wide range of behaviors including tail slaps, breaches, spyhops, porpoising, and logging. The last group that went south around 5:45 PM was a big one, and included males J30, J34, J27, and L41 who were all rolling around together with several "sea snakes" visible. Between whales I saw and/or photographed, I identified members of every matriline in J- and K-Pods plus the L12s, so there were probably about 60 whales out there. It sure looked like they were having a good time out there, and all of us on shore were as well.
Monika Wieland
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Hydrophone reports
ORCA AT LIME KILN
12:50 PM
1:09 PM
2:17 PM
3:04 PM
3:13 PM
ORCA AT ORCASOUND
3:41 PM
ORCA STILL AT LIME KILN AND ORCASOUND
3:58 PM
LOUD ORCA AT LIME KILN
4:59 PM
Lon Brocklehurst
6:20 pm
- So many calls this afternoon that I'm getting confused. Who's making the repeated descending calls, sort of S36-like? I've heard K (kitten) calls and L whistles, S4s, and many others, along with lots of nice echolocation.
Meg McDonald
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J's and K's visited Saturna's East Point from 7:45 am until about 8:45 riding the tail end of an ebb tide, heading towards Haro Strait. Extremely active and playful non-stop for as long as I could see them -- multiple double and triple breaches observed, and just about every other acrobatic maneuver -- cartwheels, headstands, you name it. In the range of about 30+ whales, led by J2 -- almost all visiting the kelp beds at the lighthouse passing as close to shore as possible. I can't say that there was too much obvious foraging, but J2 and two others, well ahead of the rest, doubled back after coming around Boiling Reef and headed into the channel that runs in the middle of the reef where the current is strongest, and seem to busy themselves there for three or four minutes before continuing on their way. I continued to watch them until around 9:30 when they disappeared behind Monarch Head. Not a single boat of any kind the whole time that I can recall.
-Miles Ritter, Saturna Island
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Around the west side of San Juan Island, we started to see the tell-tale dorsal fins of the orca whales! We saw a cow-calf pair, two females and then a lone male traveling south along the island. Eventually, we saw three females/juveniles playing pass-the-bull-kelp! One animal had the kelp crossed over its dorsal fin while the others swam around in random directions to potentially catch it as the first orca dropped its "toy". Among some of the vessels offshore, we saw another eight whales in a closer group. Based on the vocalizations we heard on the hydrophone, we were seeing a very spread out resident pod of orcas. As we continued around the northern part of San Juan Island and then Henry Island we saw more bald eagles on Henry and Battleship islands, both perched at the tops of their respective trees scanning the sea. At O'Neal Island, we saw one more bald eagle and then headed for home.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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There were many, many [orcas] out off San Juan Island last evening. A guest took a photo and Serena ID'd the orca as Cappucino. The orcas were doing lots of fishing. The movements they were making near the surface - back and forth, back and forth - then there were some spy hops and some well, was it "love" in the water? The seabirds were partying on an outcrop. Sea Lions and Harbor Seal were all having a snooze - lazin' about.
Colleen Johansen, naturalist, owner, San Juan Safaris Whale Watching & Wildlife Tours
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At 7:30 this morning I saw a blow when I was almost to the Bremerton Shipyard parking lot. I parked and looked out over the water and saw another blow between the parking lot and the floating mothballed ships. The body with a very small dorsal fin came up and it looked smooth and black. I believe it was a Minke. It was about 8 minutes between blows and did not see it again. Looking at google images, it did look like a humpback... the small fin looked like a ridge but was pointed in the back. Very slow, but strong and graceful movement. I could not see any white and the blow was very visible, about 3' diameter and maybe 8' tall.
Andrew Doerr With a visible blow and a pointed dorsal fin this sounds like a humpback, but a small gray whale died on a beach in Bremerton this morning, so it's possible that's what it was.

July 25, 2011

We kept motoring south around the corner toward False Bay. Finally up ahead we saw dorsal fins. The big male [orca] that had been about 400 yards off our starboard side suddenly surfaced behind us. We motored away to get out of his path, but again he turned toward us and surfaced off our stern. The whales were cruising. There was a lot of direction change and I hope, for their sake, there was some epic hunting happening.
Laura, naturalist, san juan safaris

July 24, 2011

Today we had a wonderful encounter with my old friend, the Minke whale toward Salmon bank. There were birds fishing everywhere. Just a couple minutes of patience rewarded us with a Minke sighting a couple hundred yards away. We watched the whale surface a couple more times and then noticed another a little farther away. We watched as the little Minke repeatedly stole the fish out from under the feisty aggregation of sea birds. It is always amusing to watch the sneaky little Minkes in action. When we finally pulled away from the scene we were surprised as one last Minke surfaced just off our port side. It was a great way to wrap up the trip.
Laura, Naturalist, san juan safaris
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I believe I sighted the Long Beaked Common Dolphin that has been frequenting south Puget Sound between 8:10 pm and 8:35 pm. just south of Boston Harbor Light and out in front of Burfoot Park to perhaps mile offshore. The dolphin put on quite an aerial show and made at least a couple dozen high jumps and splashes sometime very near passing boats. I was not particularly close to the animal and the light was starting to fade so even with a 300 mm lens on my older Nikon 100 digital camera I could not catch a lot of detail, but I did get some images which I have attached.
Don Noviello
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Today we encountered a group of four killer whales off Kauai. This is only the 2nd time we've seen killer whales in 12 years of field work in Hawaii (with over 1,500 odontocete sightings). When first found they were chasing a rough-toothed dolphin, although we were too far away to see the outcome of the chase. We did manage to photo-identify all four. More photos and information on the sighting on Cascadia Research project web page.
Robin Baird

July 23, 2011

Approx. 11am a group of [orcas] came around Pt. Doughty and moved across towards/beside Waldron. Many, jumps...ect.
Kim
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I have never seen whales actually pull into Friday Harbor. When we found the group of J's they were just north of the harbor. They were cruising slowly south. I was expecting total chaos. The whales continued lazily down the channel. More spy hops, a breach, lots of inverted tail slapping, and at one point one of the adults just laid on his back. It looked like they were enjoying the sunshine as much as we were. As the whales turned to corner in toward the harbor we departed and cruised south to find other wildlife. We saw seals, pups, eaglets, harbor porpoise, and even a school of fish. The sea was alive today. When we reached cattle point we turned around and headed back up the san juan channel toward the harbor. The whales were still moving south, but had slowed to resting pace, slowly surfacing to breathe and taking some longer dives. Suddenly we got a call. Tucker the whale scat-sniffing dog had located his quarry. We stopped where we were and watched Tucker work.He ran from side to side and wagged his tail furiously.Finally we saw the scoop go into the water and Tucker was rewarded with his tennis ball.
Laura, naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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[Orcas] heading south at False bay
Wendy Pinnow
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7:28am pdt-echolocation & kitten calls at Lime Kiln.
Alisa Lemire Brooks

July 22, 2011

Pictures from this mornings (~10:30AM) pass by with members of J,K,L going north past the lighthouse!
Jessica Barajas
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We slowed and went across Spieden Island. It didn't take much longer until we saw the first signs of killer whales; spouts were up ahead! Then dorsal fins! After watching for a few minutes we realized that there were a lot of whales, twenty plus, milling around in very close proximity to one another. It looked like there were members from both J and K pod in the group, and there was a very small, orange calf that didn't look like K44! (new calf possibly?!). A
Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Taken from shore as the large group of orcas (Js and K13s) very slowly made their way north along the west side of San Juan Island late this morning. They had formed a giant resting line somewhere along the way, and maintained that resting pattern as they ever so slowly made their way north. They reached Kellett Bluff at about 11:00 am, but were still near there at noon. I think I saw little K44 in the mix. I believe there are other residents somewhere south of the Lime Kiln lighthouse.
Jane Cogan

July 21, 2011

lovely morning with L's today south end of san juan, I think we thought this was L85. Also had L79. And this afternoon had L77 and L41! :)
Mercedes Powell
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Lots of [orcas] going by Lummi Island (Rosario Strait) southbound right now. Possible Superpod? Lots of breaching and tail slapping, a regular party. Spread out for miles.
Victoria Souze
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We saw a huge pod of dolphins (looked like common dolphins) this morning at around 6:30AM.
Cathy Kelly, Saltery Bay, Sunshine Coast, BC
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6:30 pm - BIG parade of orcas going (south) by west side Lummi Island - looks like possibly a superpod! Lots of breaching, tail lobs, spyhops, lunging, circling - very active, very spread out - at least 40-50 whales going by for about and hour and a half! beautiful show!
Penny Stone, Lummi Island
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At about 1:20pm at Eagle Point... looks like J17 , but I'm not certain. Caught it on the way down-- it was a horizontal, low breach. The orcas have been enjoying Eagle Point a lot these days, and have been around here a few times today already!
Alex Shapiro
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'Probable' humpback seen ~4 pm about where the keystone/Pt. Townsend ferry crosses in mid-channel heading north...some breaching.
Al Luneman, Coupeville, WA
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1 - 1:30 pm: Gary Chittim of KING 5 News called to report a breaching humpback off Pt. No Point, N. Kitsap County. A great video taken by the KING 5 chopper.
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1 Humpback at Donagal Head, Malcolm Island BC.

July 20, 2011

The time the Orcas are spending off the south end of San Juan Island, by False Bay, showing classic foraging, fishing behavior, makes me hope they are feasting on the Chinook Salmon! Today, with the tides settling down, the beginning of a flood tide, L-Pod and K-Pod whales were going back and forth, in 3 large groups, in different directions, then joining up. Rumor was J-Podders too, although I wasn't able to ID or photograph the group over by Eagle Point. From about 2:55pm to 4:20pm, we watched the L-12's, which includes L-25 Ocean Sun and L-41 Mega!, and K-20 Spock with her 7 year old son K-38 Comet and others. Again they did a lot of tail-fluke slapping the water. I have noticed this prevailing behavior this season, is it helping to stun the fish? A few spy hops, then some resting groups, with a male by himself offshore. Then they all went on very long dives, hopefully with full stomachs!
Caroline Armon, CMN, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions
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The [orcas] were milling between False Bay and South Beach. Boats were spread out across the channel in every direction and we assumed the whales would be too. We saw a massive dorsal surface inshore of us, followed by a couple of mid size and then baby K! He was active. Super active. Rolling, tail slapping, porpoising high out of the water. The rest of the whales seemed to be indulging him and there were bouts of activity here and there between the little guy and the others. I couldn't take my eyes off them. It was the most active I have seen the whales in a week or two. There were 5 or so whales in the little group. The best part was that they just milled; spinning, rolling, spy-hopping, and pec-slapping.
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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The time the Orcas are spending off the south end of San Juan Island, by False Bay, showing classic foraging, fishing behavior, makes me hope they are feasting on the Chinook Salmon! Today, with the tides settling down, the beginning of a flood tide, L-Pod and K-Pod whales were going back and forth, in 3 large groups, in different directions, then joining up. Rumor was J-Podders too, although I wasnt able to ID or photograph the group over by Eagle Point. From about 2:55pm to 4:20pm, we watched the L-12s, which includes L-25 Ocean Sun and L-41 Mega!, and K-20 Spock with her 7 year old son K-38 Comet and others. Again they did a lot of tail-fluke slapping the water. I have noticed this prevailing behavior this season, is it helping to stun the fish? A few spy hops, then some resting groups, with a male by himself offshore. Then they all went on very long dives, hopefully with full stomachs!
Caroline Armon, CMN, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions, San Juan Island, WA
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Faint calls at Orcasound now. 8:42 am.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Isl. WA
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2 Humpbacks by Weynton Reef BC.

July 19, 2011

Watched J Pod in Rosario Strait near Guemes Island. About 17 orcas with two juveniles.
David Bieniek 6:18 pm: Orca calls at Lime Kiln.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Every time you capture something like J34 taking a peak at some kayakers, people think I used photoshop. NO! This happened in the afternoon at the southern tip of Henry Island. It was amazing for my passengers and probably for the kayakers from Sea Quest Kayaking Expeditions out of Friday Harbor. Yep, kayakers really bother the Orcas!
Capt. Jim Maay, Maya's Westside Whale Watch , San Juan Island
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Up in the Swanson Channel off North Pender Island, we caught up with a mixed pod of orca whales. Both J and K pods were socializing in a group of about 15-20 individual orcas. One passenger assisted in confirming the identity of J-34 "Double stuf" (son to "Oreo," brother to "Cookie;" see a theme here?!). Back at the whales we saw the new baby, K44, swimming just next to and behind mom before we had to start making our way back to the harbor.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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We found the whales around Turn Point headed south but they turned around as soon as we got there and started going north, which was perfect for us! We saw the J2 matriline mostly but we saw J16 also. A few breaches, spyhops and some frolicking around made for a great day. Here is a picture of a spyhop (see below) and another of a J pod female on her side and you can see her eye looking right at us.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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11:30 am: We have orcas! Watching J Pod in Rosario Strait near Guemes Island. About 17 orcas with two juveniles.
David Bieniek
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About 6 pm, [orcas] entered Active Pass from the west and went past our Orca Rock at a blazing speed on a fast tide. Ks and Js, as best I can tell from my amateur id'ing. Who is it with the square chunk out of its dorsal fin (J47)? Some tail slaps and a cartwheel on a sunny evening.
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island, BC

July 18, 2011

J-Pod and the K-12 family traveling north with an 8+ flooding tide! From about 3pm to 4:15pm, they were spread out in 6 groups, then came together in 3 groups out in Haro Strait, with a trailing group near the shore of Stuart Island. Lots of tail lobbing- fluke slapping going on in the strait! Fishing? A few breaches, spy hops, pectoral fin slaps, then rolling over each other and socializing! IDd the males; J-30 Riptide, J-26 Mike, and J-27 Blackberry. Wonderful to see J-2 Granny with her family, in the lead, looking like she decided they were heading to the shortcut of Active Pass, to Georgia Strait. The sun came out, glistening on the whales and Harbor Seals with pups on Spieden Island!
Caroline Armon, CMN, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions
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OrcaSound Hydrophone reports:
I've been hearing some occasional echolocation over the last half hour, but around 1550 I heard some clear S2s on the Orca Sound hydrophones.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island, WA
1218: hearing calls now at OS after orcas had been at LK.
1330: Loud clear calls on OS again.
Laura Swan
10:46: ORCA AT LIME KILN; 11:54 am: ORCA AT LIME KILN - BIG TIME
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
11:15 am: SRKW calls and clicks again on Lime Kiln hydrophones --
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound
8:30 am: Killer whales still at lime kiln.
Cathy
8:30 am: - lots of talk off Lime Kiln right now.
Sandra Pollard, Whidbey island
7:56 am: Listening to the orcasound hydrophone (from Pittsburgh!) and hearing orca calls. Not sure which pod.
Peter
7:31 - Orca at Lime Kiln
Lon Brockelhurst
Echolocation and calls at Lime Kiln. 7:20 am.
Meg McDonald

July 17, 2011

We found lots of [orcas] today by False Bay. Js and Ls, not sure if any Ks were with them or not. They were spread out, mostly feeding, but around 2:30 noticed some sea snake activity. as a group of 10 or 12 came by very close to Mystic Sea what a treat the water was dead calm, no motor noise anywhere, just the magic of whales breathing. When we left they were slightly south of False Bay, slowly heading south.
Jill Hein, Coupeville, Whidbey Island, WA
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1 Humpback in Calm Channel BC

July 16, 2011

I saw one orca, about 8 PM swimming south from the Tacoma/Gig Harbor bridge headed south through The Narrows.
Luchia Young
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Granny surprised us by popping up twice with a couple of probing spyhops to suss out the humans watching J's and L's from the shoreline south of Lime Kiln. She passed quietly on her way after foraging among the kelp beds with a newly decorated dorsal fin trailing kelp.
Sandra Pollard, Freeland, Whidbey Island
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We headed south, and as we turned around Cattle Point it started to clear up, giving us good visibility. As soon as we reached False Bay, off in the distance was a large, triangular dorsal fin. Soon after that we were surrounded by killer whales, and even got to see a younger one breach three times before swimming off. We followed the whales back towards Cattle Point then headed towards Salmon Bank in search minke whales.
Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safar
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The sun came out on the west side of San Juan Island in the late afternoon a mile or so south of Lime Kiln St Park (at those great viewing sites along the road) and so did the orcas! We assume they were J pod, as we checked at the park earlier in the morning and were told that J pod was over in Oak Bay near Victoria at that time. When they came close to shore in the Lime Kiln area I got two photos. They were taken within four seconds of each other at 6:25pm. Note that a young whale is with the belly-up mom in one of the photos. Most of the whales swam back and forth along this area for at least 1 hours, obviously feeding. Didnt get a count of just how many were there in total, but certainly there were at least 15 and probably many more than that - spread out quite a bit from south of where we were watching to north of us at the viewing spot up at lime kiln state park. Lots of breeches, spy hops. Males were visible farther out. By 6:30 pm or so 3-4 whale watching boats arrived on the scene.
Joan Gerteis, Langley, WA
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OrcaSound reports:
7:33 pm & 7:46 - calls at OrcaSound hydrophones.
6:12, 7:28 pm - great calls at Lime Kiln.
1:29 pm - calls at Lime Kiln.
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I left some members of Lpod heading West off otter pt ,and ventured off in search of three humpbacks. I made contact with the hb`s several miles west of race. They were feeding and travellng to the southeast.
Reid Philip, prince of whales, Victoria, BC
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1 Humpback at the top of Raza Island BC.
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It didnt take long for us to spot a lone minke occasionally coming to the surface to take a breath.
Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island,WA

July 15, 2011

We were following J's around Eagle Point on San Juan Island when all of a sudden they turned towards Victoria waterfront and started traveling quickly. Shortly after we started seeing whales coming from Victoria waterfront towards the J's and turned out to be L's and K's. They put on quite a show during the reunion and there were whales everywhere!
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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[Orcas] at Eagle Cove Today! This morning around 7:30 I heard the whales loud and clear before viewing them! It sounded like Jurassic Park at Eagle Cove! HUGE slaps, claps and cannon ball sounds! The water was flat and glassy and their blows echoed against the rocks. I ran out to the edge of the bluff as I didn't want to miss viewing this early morning party! The whales closest to shore approached from the North around Eagle Point. They were frisky, tail lobbing and pec slapping, some looked to be chasing fish back and forth. While further out into the strait there was a BIG party going on! Huge breaches by multiple whales, full body out of the water over and over again. I counted over 30 breaches in a 30 minute period. Although the breaching was far out in the strait, the loud clapping sound as they hit the flat surface of the water carried across the strait in warp time! The whales closer to shore turned around and headed north again, the group further out in the straight finished their acrobatics and turned towards shore, following the route of the others, about 15 minutes behind them. What a beautiful way to start the day!
Lodie
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We continued on through Cattle Pass and quickly found a great group of Orcas near False Bay. As we slowly approached and started watching one group, we saw even more whales in every direction around us. The word from other vessels on the scene was that Ks and Ls were moving in to the area to hang out with the Js. It seemed like just about every member of the Southern Resident Community was spread from close to shore to the Olympic Peninsula. It was incredible! Unfortunately we had to head back to the harbor, but on the way we encountered a Minke whale as well as the most harbor seals I've ever seen around the boat playing and feeding in the tide rips.
Mike - Naturalist, San Juan Safaris

July 14, 2011

L's off Ukee (Ucluelet - W. Vancouver Isl, S. of Tofino) this am around 10am, people saw them from the Wild Pacific Trail at the lighthouse there!
Facebook post from Claire Mosley
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We headed south out of Friday Harbor this afternoon with word that there were killer whales around False Bay. Once at False Bay we caught a glimpse of three dorsal fins and some spouts, then there were six+ dorsal fins all coming up from underneath the glassy Salish Sea. It was J-pod. They were slowly traveling close to each other, nearly synchronized in their surfacing. After spending some time with the whales, we headed back towards Salmon Bank. As soon as we got to that area, we spotted a single minke whale and watched it surface a few times before it disappeared into the depths.
Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Hydrophone reports
After listening to previously recorded transient calls on the OrcaSound website, I believe the calls I was hearing and posted on your FB page from this morning was Transients (Meg posted so too). Lime Kiln hydrophones, starting at 7:15am for about ten minutes. And then again roughly every ten minutes would hear a few more calls at a time, last ones being at 8:10 am. Faint but very audible, a lone descending call.
Alisa
Calls and echolocation beginning at Lime Kiln11:38 a.m..
Meg McDonald
Faint calls beginning at Lime Kiln now. 7:15 am PDT.
Meg McDonald
8:06 PM, ORCA AT LIME KILN
Robo

July 13, 2011

They were first picked up east bound off of Sooke in the morning and met up with the T185's briefly near William Head. Here the T099's and T036A's took out a harbor porpoise and eventually continued east for Discovery Island after parting ways with the T185's. They were last seen heading north up the west side of Haro on a line for Darcy Island. The T123's went south east for Dungeness.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales
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At this writing 20+ open saddle KWs heading up the coast 1 nautical mile off Lenard island
Nixie Palm, Rod Palm Principal Investigator Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society (L pod?)
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We received a call at 5:38 pm from JR Zamore (sp?), reporting sighting 1 orca whale while bottom fishing off Westport.
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J pod porpoised north along the west coast of San Juan Island, as each breath exposed most of their flanks. Traveling at great speeds, the orcas manipulated the drag of water to propel their colossal bodies forward and out into the frictionless air. The pod was separated into smaller groups which were in tight formations. We identified Riptide (J-30) in the first trio and later saw a group of four which included Mike (J-26). The excitement continued as we entered the narrow chutes of Cattle Pass on our return to Friday Harbor. Within the strong currents our boat strained through, there were over thirty harbor seals enjoying the food it transports. Once back in calm waters, we were suddenly surrounded by numerous harbor porpoises which are normally elusive and seen individually or in small groups. We turned off the engine and listened to their exhales as they passed in front and behind our boat.
Kirsten, San Juan Safaris Whale Watching
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Heard reports of Orca Whales by Anacortes at 9am, then in Rosario around 1pm, then heading west, south of Lopez at 2pm, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where we watched groups of J-Pod going by Cattle Pass at about 2:45pm! They slowed down as they hit Salmon Bank, as they typically do, spreading out, milling about, tail fluke slapping, rolling, and foraging in the strong 10+ flooding tide. Young whales breached passing Cattle Point Lighthouse! Mom-calf pairs stayed closer to shore, as they often do. I ID'd J-27 Blackberry, J-31 Tsuchi, J-22 Oreo and her kids J-38 Cookie and J-34 DoubleStuf, J-28 Polaris with 2 year old daughter J-46 Star. We thought we spotted J-26 Mike, by his left leaning dorsal fin, up with a group off of Granny's Cove. The sun came in and out, the water was like a pond. Now 4:15pm, a juvenile Minke whale (Christy Hynde-Bank's calf?? Minke calves spend about 6 months with mom) foraging by Salmon Bank! I wonder if the Minke socialized with J-Pod, like the one did last season? Marine birds, Bald Eagles on Long Island, Harbor Seals and Harbor Porpoise in San Juan Channel, showed all the 'stars' of the Salish Sea!
Caroline Armon, CMN, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions
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Between noon and 1pm several orcas made the trek past the south end of Lopez. They were traveling very slowly and reversed directions several times out from Flint Beach. There were about 10 orcas, not traveling together. Well, I just looked out to see another orca going past now at 2pm. I almost missed this one as the whale watch boats had all left. Correction, the whale watch boats are first coming into view now. The marbled murrelet study boat is getting a good orca trip too. So far I have seen 6 in this orca group, traveling east to west.
Sally Reeve
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Multiple orcas, at least 5 -7 whales sighed west of the Whidbey Naval Air Station today at about 1130. There was at least one cluster of younger whales and nurse whale and some splashing and breeching. Multiple whale boats as well as another group of whales and whale boats closer to Lopez Island. J Pod once more or other residents?
Charles Niedzialkowski, LMHC
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7:36 PM - ORCA AT LIME KILN
Robo

July 12, 2011

[Orcas] frolicking in Boundary Pass while riding with PS Express from Friday Harbor to Port Townsend.
Dianne Iverson
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North out of the harbor and across the Haro Strait (and the US/Canadian border) to Saturna Island. And what did we find? The largest of the dolphin (odontocete) species: killer whales! Upon arriving to the scene, passengers saw three whales off our port, with another one off our bow and more coming from the east at our starboard. A large male was swimming behind us about 5oo yards in the shipping channel. He seemed to be the one to rev things up in the pod; this male gave two full clear-the-water breaches before resorting to some tail slaps as a tanker ship was about to pass through southbound. Word in the pod must have spread that it was active time, and multiple orcas-including several precocious calves-began breaching, tail slapping, peduncle throwing and upside down tail slapping repeatedly. And then again. And then some more! This continued for at least thiry minutes and was still going on intermittently when we had to leave for home port. Our hydrophone (underwater microphone) indicated that it was a very spread out and vocal resident whale (salmon-loving/eating) pod.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Hydrophone reports
4:03 PM - ORCA AT LIME KILN
Robo
6:55 PM - ORCA AT LIME KILN
Robo
Lime Kiln hydrophones, 1524. Many S16 calls, clicks, and buzzes on Lime Kiln now on hydrophones. They have been growing louder during last 15 minutes.
Orcasound hydrophones, 1404. K pod (S16) calls over loud ship noise on Orcasound hydrophones.
Val Viers

July 11, 2011

At 7:08 this evening I was traveling from Edmonds to Kingston on the ferry and sighted a single baleen whale heading north. It was too far away for me to say for sure what the species was (no binoculars :-( ). It was either gray or humpback, but if I had to say I'd say it was a humpback based on the blow and movement.
Leigh Calvez, Bainbridge Island
This fits previous reports of one or two humpbacks south and west of Whidbey Island for over a week - ON
*
This afternoon, members of J and K pods slowly headed north along the west side of San Juan Island. I saw J2 Granny, the J17s, J27, and a number of other J pod orcas which I have not yet attempted to identify. In the middle of the parade, I also saw K20, K38, K27, and newborn K44. I would surmise that all the Js and the K13s headed north. I could not determine any L pod orcas were in the mix.
Jane Cogan
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Heading south out of Friday Harbor we turned on the speed and booked it towards Cattle Pass! We first arrived on scene to a nice spread out pod of Orcas, looking to both our left and right there were orcas near and far! They seemed to be traveling in a "zig-zag" pattern, which is notorious to feeding habits, so we dropped our hydrophone in to take a listen! Sure enough they were "clicking" and vocalizing! We sat in silence and awe as we listened to the clicks get louder and louder, we couldn't see them as they were on a longer dive, but we could hear them! Soon enough a mother and calf came to the surface and let us have a really good look. It was K-27 and her brand new (less than a week old) calf K-44! The new calf seemed to be exploring his new abilities with his tiny 6-7ft body as he porpoised and splashed through the surface of the water. We sat in silence for a while as the mother and calf made their way off and just when we thought we got our last look at them they reappeared with over 16 other members of K Pod!! We watched in awe as the pod grouped all together and headed straight for the boat! We were stuck where we were and surrounded by orcas! Gracefully as ever, they skimmed the surface headed straight for the boat, they sank right under the water calmly passing underneath and resurfacing on the other side! It was so amazing to see how aware of us they were as we were to them! I don't think they had as much fun watching us as we did watching them as they slowly moved away from our boat, all in unison and synchronized perfectly. At this point we were all stunned and amazed!
Alex, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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A very short call came in from Eve in Astoria OR saying they saw orcas north of Coos Bay.
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OrcaSound hydrophone reports:
2:38 pm: ORCA AT LIME KILN
8:39 pm: ORCA AT.LIME KILN
9:11 pm: ORCA AT ORCASOUND

Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Just started hearing a couple of faint calls at 1508...clicks now at 1510...Only hearing calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones again at this time (1535)....sounded like a mix of K and L Pod calls at Lime Kiln, but Orca Sound hydrophone calls sounded more like Js with S4s and S7s.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island, WA

July 10, 2011

T036A's and T099's going north past Ten Mile Pt. in the evening.
Mark Malleson
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2:15 pm, 4 or 5 orcas, 1 male and 3-4 others, are 50 feet off the beach, 200 yards west of the Keystone (Coupeville) ferry dock, in the kelp, not going anywhere. No IDs yet. Called in by Billy Wind. I rushed out to the beach but they were already gone and nobody knew which way they went. Some reports said there were ten orcas. -HG
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I was out fishing off of Secretary Island in Sooke with a pink salmon on the line when a pod of about a dozen orca rolled through the area around noon. A large male was definitely heading straight for us and went under the boat. We netted the fish just before it became whale food. The pod was heading towards Race Rocks spread out over a half km. They cruised right through a group of around 20 boats. L pod?? A friend told me that a pod had rolled through same time on Saturday as well.
Andrew Paine
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We decided to go see J Pod at Turn Point, and by the time we headed up north they were already approaching the Pender Bluffs in Canada. We watched as a very large group of Js were slowly moving their way along the shoreline. J27 and gang were definitely checking out the kelp beds, and at one point, the whales were being watched on all sides-us on the outside side of the whales, and harbor seals and people along shore. Lots of surface percussives including spyhops and breaches! Time passed far too quickly and soon it was time to head back to port.
A quick lunch break and we left the dock, Ks were still doing the "west side shuffle" along San Juan Island. And as we headed out of Cattle Pass, we took a wide swing out past Salmon Bank and found a small minke whale. Flat calm waters made spotting the whale from quite a distance easy! Before long, we were off again to go see K Pod. We were only with Ks for a bit before they suddenly veered offshore and began to vocalize quite loudly. This just so happened to coincide with a call on the phone from one of our Canadian friends who told us that the members of L Pod that had been out west had made it to Discovery Island and were headed right towards San Juan. So a short reposition and soon we were viewing over 30 members of L Pod! L79 Skana. L41 Mega. As the whales got closer to K Pod, they began to slap the water with their tails. At one point there were 6-7 whales tailslapping at the same time. One female passed the Western Explorer and decided to push her calf onto her rostrum! Lots of vocals, spyhops, a few breaches, and the whales began to mill everywhere at once! Soon though it was time to head back, but we did manage to find 3 more minkes (for a total of 4).
John Boyd, Western Prince, SSAMN, San Juan Island, WA
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Today at 1:15 PM orcas were just approaching Land Bank's Westside Preserve on San Juan Island when they turned south. I, too, went south to American Camp, where the whales passed still heading south between 2:15 and 2:45 PM. Some animals were several miles offshore, but the K12s and K14s passed fairly close to shore at the point near Grandma's Cove.
Monika Wieland
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Members of J pod slowly headed north along the west side of San Juan Island this morning. J2 Granny was in the lead. I heard J8 Speiden not too far behind. I'm not an expert on identifying individual orcas, but it seemed like the orcas were traveling more or less in family groups -- the J14s with little J45 and several other orcas, the six J17 family members along with a few other orcas, etc.
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island
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Yesterday afternoon Lpod was east bound, past Victoria, heading to Eagle point to meet up with the K's. Lots of vocals from Lpod, and I heard on the radio Kpod was vocalising loudly as well, as the two groups were getting closer.
Stu, (Zod driver)
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Aboard the Island Explorer 3 on the early morning we encountered a Minke Whale at Salmon Bank. Then we headed north and saw a few K's heading South. There were others spread out on all sides of the boat. As the other whales traveled northbound, the southbound Orcas change direction. We soon found ourselves among the K's. I spotted K-40 Raggedy, K-21 Cappuccino & K-26 Lobo. We spotted K-27 Deadhead with her new calf K-44 swimming right next to mom learning the ropes. He looks so small in comparison to a mature male like Cappuccino. Lots of happy tail slapping, pec slapping, a spyhop by the young ones and one spectacular headstand. We couldn't ID everyone but we did see K-13 Skagit, K-25 Scoter, K-31 Cali, K-20 Spock & K-38 Comet. They ended up in 4 groups traveling Northbound.
Vicky Miller-SSAMN Marysville, WA
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These orcas just came by heading north where they turn and typically go through Active Pass after passing the north part of North Pender Island. Before I saw any I could hear breaches south of me. As they came into my view no breaches were observed, however, they were in quite close to the shore this time. They were moving relatively quickly, passing by here from about 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. How gorgeous are these lovely orcas! How lucky are we that they are still on the planet and here in the Salish Sea, despite our constant effort with myriad manners to mess up their environment.
K. Westrell, N. Pender Island, BC
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Another beautiful day as we motored toward False Bay. As we drew closer we could see dorsal fins here and there. We sat, turned off the engines and observed whales in every direction. We were watching a female moving along our port side when we spied a mini dorsal fin on the other side of her. It was the smallest orca I have ever seen. When we dropped the hydrophone our suspicions were confirmed. We heard the familiar kitten-like calls of K pod. It could only have been the new baby K I have heard so much about over the last few days. The mom and calf moved but we sat and observed other individuals moving through the area. We listened to faint calls and it was even calm enough to hear echolocation noises.
Laura, San Juan Safaris
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Around 10:15 am, a small group of 5 or so orcas (transients?) went east with the tide past our Orca Rock in Active Pass. Then later: We came back to our place from gathering wild strawberries just in time to catch the last 10 or so whales passing by, heading east through Active Pass around 2:15 pm. Whales twice today!
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island, BC
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Out on the Island Caper for a tour, headed up north into Plumper Sound (BC) to try and catch J pod headed towards Active Pass. Timing was perfect - we found them in resting mode (all tight together, slowly going along and surfacing all at the same time) just before they entered the Pass. We followed slowly behind as they went through (LOTS of boats in the Pass, including 2 huge BC ferries, and many rec/sport and whale watch boats) - hugged the north shoreline tightly and could see they were starting to "wake up" - spreading out, surfacing at different times, tail lobbing, upside down swimming. And once they hit the open water of Strait of Georgia, all heck broke loose - they started breaching, spyhopping, lots of tail smacks, lunging - what a show! We even saw a double breach (caught on film)!! This continued for a good half hour, and about half way across the Strait, we unfortunately had to say goodbye to head back south. Another gorgeous day out there - flat calm waters - we could still see the whales cavorting many miles off as we headed home. Doesn't get much better than that - thanks, Capt. Don!
Penny Stone, -Lummi Island
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We encountered 15+/- transient orcas off the south end of San Juan Island yesterday at approx. 13:00. Lots of great activity from the whales including many spyhops.
Katie Jones, Western Prince Naturalist

July 9, 2011

The T010's and T026's came south through Oak Bay, Victoria in the morning and dragged a couple of seals out of the Chain Islands. I left them south west of Trial Island at 0955 headed for Race Rocks.
Mark Malleson, Victoria, BC
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I was off Salmon Bank today with a group of transients. It was a calm day on the water, and with engines off it was great to watch the t`s.
Reid Philip, prince of whales
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Out for the day in our little skiff on the west side of Lummi Island, were surprised by J pod on our way back in the early evening (6-7pm) heading south (from Sandy Pt. to Village Pt. into Rosario)- gorgeous evening with only one or two boats around - whales pretty much in travel mode spread out, with some circling and lunging action...nice look at one of the big guys, J26, who doubled back on us to our surprise...
Penny Stone
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Orcas headed south along the west side of San Juan Island this afternoon. Like yesterday, most were quite some distance from shore as they rounded Kellett Bluff, and headed south. There were K pod members in the mix, but I do not know what other pods were represented.
Jane Cogan
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Around 2:30pm from shore at Lime Kiln -Whale Watch Park. I assume they are the mixture of J and K pods that have been referred to earlier. Noted that there were two young whales in this group, not necessarily in the pictures. I saw a very young one, and the young one in the pictures.
Shannon Bailey, Pacific Catalyst
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(orcas & minke) Up the west side of San Juan Island it didn't take long to see a blow, and then another, and another. Stretching from shore to about a mile or so out were groups of fours and fives traveling mostly south. Just the M/V Sea Lion, about 20 Orcas, and 40 very happy passengers. We shut down the engines and watched the animals slowly moving down island. We even had a chance to drop the hydrophone and pick up some incredible vocalizations. Its hard to describe the overall feeling on the water. But with no wind, no waves, no other boat noise, the backdrop of the olympics, clear views of Mt. Rainer as well as Mt. Baker, good Orca vocals on the hydrophone, and the sound of whales breathing, the first word that comes to mind is peaceful. We even saw some breaches, some porpoising, and some tail slapping. Then, on the way home, we saw a single Minke feeding around whale rocks, as well as a dozen harbor seals hauled out and lazing in the water.
Mike - Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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3:30 pm: Southern Residents are at False Bay right now heading south.
Melisa Pinnow, San Juan Island, WA
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As we rounded Henry Island along the northern end of San Juan Island, we headed south along the Haro Strait and began to see boats in the distance spread out over several miles. Upon closer viewing, those boats happened to have numerous southern resident killer whales around them! We saw some orcas tail slapping or tail lobbing and one even tail slapping on its back! At one point, we had a large male swimming straight for us! We pulled forward to give him some space and eventually he turned towards another boat; was this a curious whale investigating his surroundings? Over the radio we heard that we were seeing a mixture of J and K pods.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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OrcaSound/Lime Kiln Hydrophone reports:
Hearing loud calls on lime kiln at 14:30. Hearing clicks and faint calls on lime kiln at 14:22 Hearing loud calls on lime kiln at 14:30.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
Orca calls at OrcaSound - 1:39 pm. Clicks at Lime Kiln, 2:23 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia WA
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Around 2 PM K-Pod headed south past Lime Kiln. K21 was among the leaders and gave two huge breaches a little ways offshore. I also saw K27 with calf K44, K25, K12, and K14, K26 (who is HUGE), and K42 traveling in a tight group together.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island

July 8, 2011

J and K Pods passed by Lime Kiln Lighthouse heading south between 4:30 and 5:15 PM. Most whales were quite a ways offshore, and there was a lot of breaching going on. The whales were pretty backlit, but from my photos I was able to ID K20, K38, K25, J2, J14, J30, J37, J26, and J17.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island
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Late this afternoon, resident orcas headed south along the west side of San Juan Island. Most were about a mile off shore as they rounded Kellett Bluff and headed down Haro Strait, porpoising their way south. Update at 10:06 pm: Orcas northbound, or so it seems. It is almost getting to dark to see them.
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island, WA
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Jenny Wilson of Friday Harbor reported lots of orcas foraging and lunging in the waves north of Eagle Pt., west San Juan Island, at 7:30 pm. Some of the whales were in close, others further out.
*
~ 6 pm: Orcas going past False Bay, heading south pretty fast.
Melisa Pinnow, San Juan Island, WA
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We met up with southbound [orcas] in Haro Strait at about 3:00pm between Spieden and San Juan Island. Radio reports told us that the group closest to us included K44. Members of this tight, somewhat synchronized group included K25, K20, K38, K13 and K27 with K44 tucked along either the outside or in between mom and K20. Each time J44 surfaced he was underneath a huge stream of bubbles from his exhalation (see photo below) - still getting his breathing timing down? A whale spyhopped close by. Checking out what all the ruckus was about? Group continued south - one adult whale rolled over and did a mouth-open inverted tail lob. Tail lobbing by K20 and K38. A few members broke off for a bit of foraging. A couple other members were further offshore, porpoising south, Another couple groups went by, J2, J8, and J47 included. There were some cartwheels and breaches, one of which was by L87 - and he got total air - 100% out of the water. Awesome. We departed around 3:50, the trailing group just having passed south through Spieden Channel.
Heather Hill, San Juan Excursions
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'The little fella', K44, was sticking close to Mum (Deadhead - K27) and shore off Saturna Island at 2.00 pm today. The weather was calm, and with the engines cut back on 'Mystic Sea' we could hear the blows as K pod traveled and foraged, some in small tight groups, others on their own. Breaches were in fashion today - let's show 'the little fella' how it's done.
Sandra Pollard, Freeland, Whidbey Island, Washington St
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[Orcas] spread out all over Boundary Pass today, looked like more than one pod but we only spent time with K's. Lots of activity and they were moving south pretty fast. We saw K26, K33 and then a group of 4 juveniles porpoising down the pass together. Here's a picture of a K pod member kelping (see photo below).
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver, Vancouver, B.C.
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There's a theory among whale watch captains that whales breach more when the waves are choppier. Last night's trip was definite proof for that theory! As we traveled northwest (up west San Juan Isl), sea spray was blowing over the bow and the port side of the boat; everyone took shelter. But then finally, our efforts paid off and we began to see dorsal fins and whale breath about 400 yards off our starboard bow: L-pod. We came about to travel behind the southbound killer whales. The chop and wind continued but the whales seemed to love it because just then, the breaching began! And I don't just mean one or two breaches, I mean forty to fifty over the course of thirty minutes! We had baby orcas breaching, whales breaching in call-and-response style, three whales breaching in a row, two whales breaching simultaneously, three baby whales breaching side by side, on and on. And then, the ultimate: a large mature adult male fully cleared the water in a breach! Was he showing the whale calves how it's done? Were we witnessing a teaching seminar on the how-tos of impressive breaching? We were surely impressed as humans watching!
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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OrcaSound Hydrophone reports: ~10 pm: Calls on the OrcaSound hydrophone right now.
Katie Preston
9:43 pm: Orca calls at OrcaSound hydrophone, still going at 10 pm.
4:52 & 9:12 pm: Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone.

Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
Echolocation and K pod calls beginning at Lime Kiln. 9:04 pm.
9:42 pm: Faint K calls at Orcasound now. 9:42 pm.
K pod calls at Lime Kiln. 4:53 pm. J pod is there too. 5:05 pm.

Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
~ 7 pm: Saw J and K pod swimming south past lime kiln today.
Brittany Bowles
~4:50 pm:Calls on Orca Sound right now.
Andrew Lees, Victoria, BC
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Report from Whales and Dolphins of BC: Reports that a few pods of Northern Resident Orca came into the upper Johnstone Strait area and late in the day, headed back out towards the West.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC
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On the ferry back to Anacortes I was in the midst of my Orca Network/Whale Museum killer whale ferry talk when a passenger informed me of orcas off our starboard, just east of the Lopez ferry dock. The ferry slowed, and a worker announced "two baby orcas" had been sighted. In reality, mom and a youngster. I saw one surfacing, then they dove deeper, eluding the ferry and we moved on. Transients from the look of the mom's dorsal/earlier reports?
Heather Hill, San Juan Excursions
(yes, Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research identified the whales in the photo as: "T49A1 maybe with his younger sibling" - ON)
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Out with the whales on PS Express - 6 transients including 2 babies by Smith Island (off NW Whidbey Island, WA) - the seals were very alert and out of the water.
Loretta Libby Atkins
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Transient orcas were off Minor Island (NW of Whidbey Island, WA).
Andrew Lees, Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching, Victoria, BC
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9:05 am: 4 Orca by Kanish Bay just above Campbell River heading NW.
Jeff, Painter's Lodge
Reports came in that there were up to 12 Transient Orca around Deep Water Bay - the tours were looking. Most radio reception broke off since the tours wound up in the inlets and traveled as far as Kelsey Bay in Johnstone Strait.
5:30 pm: 8 Transient Orca including a calf were between Savary Island and Lund heading towards Powell River.
Dulcie Macdonald, Savary Island
6:30 pm: 4 Adult Transient Orca and one calf had been splashing about on a possible kill between the East side of Harwood Island and the Mainland. They were headed southward towards the Powell River Mill and Ferry Terminal but took a long dive.
Terry Brown & Jude Abrams (spelling?) aboard the SV Blue Parrot
7:20 pm: The perfectly lit blows from the 10 to 12 Orca as they cruised past Westview towards Grief Point. Dinner guests and I enjoyed the show.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC, Powell River
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Judith Alophsen called Orca Network to report seeing a Humpback 1 mile north of the Edmonds ferry dock in the morning. She watched it breach 2 - 5 times, as it headed toward the Victoria Clipper that stopped to view the whale.
*
8:47 am: Large Humpback Whale blow spotted just West of Mitlenatch Island heading Southward. By 9:15 am: the Humpback Whale was down by Sentry Shoal still Southbound. There were a few tours out there including AJ from Painter's Lodge, Powell River

July 7, 2011

11:45 am: 5 Orca (assumed to be the group of Transients that from yesterday that didn't go through Seymour Narrows - SM). They were doing a number of large spy hops close in on the South West side of Savary Island. They headed West towards Vancouver Island between Sentry Shoal and Mitlenatch Island where they were lost in between the white caps.
Dee Ingraham, Savary Island
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OrcaSound Hydrophone reports:
~10 pm: Sounds like faint calls at Pt Townsend.
Kathy Stevens Hitzemann
I heard faint calls on Pt. Townsend hydrophone starting at the time of Kathy's original post (9:30 ish?). Then starting at 9:45 hearing them more distinctly. At 10:00 pm started hearing some S4 like honks and various whistles and calls that were consistently getting louder. Faint again by 10:20 or so with some whistle until 10:30, quiet by 10:40.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Shoreline, WA
~10:30 pm: All I've heard for the last 12 minutes or so are little squeaks...sort of like Pacific white-sided dolphins perhaps.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
We too heard the last 15 or so minutes of these whistles and clicks, what we heard sounded more dolphin-like, but we missed the earlier calls, and can't confirm what exactly we were listening to - could also have been orcas.
Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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5:30 pm: Lone Humpback Whale was left still in the same general area. Garry left it close to Turn Back Point by Arran Rapids.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys, Powell River
3 pm: Lone Humpback Whale by Sonora Lodge
Aaron, Campbell River Whale Watching
11:30 am: A lone Humpback Whale was spotted by Hall (or possibly Hull) Point headed in a southerly direction towards Dent Rapids. Through broken radio transmissions.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC, Powell River, B.C.
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About 7:20 this evening, 20+ orcas went east through Active Pass. As they entered the Pass, their poofs were nicely backlit. The tide was running so fast that they just zoomed by us. It was the fastest whale show ever!
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island, BC, Cullen Photos
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OrcaSound/Lime Kiln Hydrophone reports:
9:59 am PDT: Calls and echolocation at Lime Kiln. The first group seen by Lodie was K pod, with many clear calls at Lime Kiln. The second group seems to be arriving now - and it sounds like J pod.
10:37 am: K pod has reached the Orcasound hydrophone.
10:48 am: Lots of sweet K calls on OrcaSound now, and I also heard a single J call a minute ago.
1:36 pm: Distant calls are continuing at Orcasound.
3:11 pm: There are very faint calls audible on the Lime Kiln hydrophone. It sounds like the orcas are far away.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
~1:40 pm: sweet calls & whistles on OrcaSound (just tuned at work, love technology that I can hang out listening to Orca most anywhere I am)
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Shoreline, WA
1:26 pm: Just got word that calls are heard on OrcaSound hydrophones again - they must be heading back south down west San Juan Island.
Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
~11:45 am: Still some calls at Orcasound.
Vickie Doyle, Kent, WA
10:48 - calls at OrcaSound; 11:31 Orca calls at Lime Kiln; 11:34 - orca calls at Orcasound.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
S16 and other So Resident orca calls and echolocation clicks starting at 9:54 at Lime Kiln. No earlier detections at Orcasound, so this may be K pod heading north. There are fewer and fainter calls now on Lime Kiln (at 10:15).
OrcaSound Wholistener & Jane Cogan, San Juan Island, WA
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The rumors of a superpod have been confirmed. For about 45 minutes this morning, orcas paraded by, headed north While some were porpoising their way north either single file or in small groups, others were headed north at slower speeds but in larger groups. In the middle of all the porpoising action, there was a small resting group. Meanwhile, some orcas were lying on their backs, slapping their tails. I believe I saw some Js, some Ks, and some Ls -- too many to count. Some were closer to shore, but others were probably nearly a mile off shore. Later this afternoon I started hearing vocalizations on the OrcaSound hydrophone. It appeared that there were orcas lingering west of Kellett Bluff. A few other orcas were porpoising from the south.
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island, WA
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As we journeyed up and over to the west side of San Juan Island we discovered a large pod of 15+ killer whales in Haro Strait; all surfacing and traveling in perfect synchronization. We believe this pod was made up of several members from both J and K pods. We were excited at the opportunity of spotting the very NEW (2 day old!) calf from K pod, it was hard to try and get a look as there were so many in the group traveling all together! Very exciting to see! We left the orcas as they continued to travel northbound and made our way to Gooch Island, just over the Canadian border, to find some harbor porpoise!
Alex, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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~10 am: Forecasting a Super Pod day!!! Another huge group of whales just visited Eagle Cove also heading north! (probably 20 mins behind the first group). We viewed at least 30+ whales (I believe part L's) very playful and exhibiting what I would call sensual behavior! Again, same pattern of multiple breaches off of Granny's Cove, so interesting to view this exact same behavior with each group the last several days. They paused off Eagle Cove, gathered into a tight group, lots of surface time, then started rolling around, doing the whirly-twirly, lots of tail slapping and spy hopping! Finished off with a few cartwheels and partial breaches! They have just passed Eagle Point heading north and are out of view, yet I can still hear them partying...loud blows and slaps on the water! Still not a boat in sight! At one point, a large group of the whales stopped traveling and gathered close together, all fins at the surface like a line up! They went down very briefly, followed by what I perceived to be sensual, tactile behavior, rubbing against each other, almost like caressing one another at the surface, then lots rolling and twirling close together (I call that "whirly twirly") and lots of tail slapping! I could not view a sea snake from my vantage point, but I would imagine that was present based on the behaviors! (this is a perfect description of a Greeting Ceremony and Superpod - sounds like an amazing morning off San Juan Island! ON)
Lodie Laurieanne, Gilbert Budwill
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J + K + L at Lime Kiln, west San Juan Island at 10:15!
Brittany Bowles
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Saw them (J, K & L pods) at San Juan county park (NW San Juan Island). Amazing site this morning. Some of them moved through swiftly despite the annoying boaters getting too close. Some stuck around the kelp beds for awhile. Breaches and tail slaps aplenty. Amazing. Really amazing.
Sarah Schmidt Berger, Whidbey Island, WA
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Jenny Wilson called at 9:12 am to report tons of [orcas] hanging out off San Juan Island at Eagle Pt, heading very slowly north toward Pile Pt, in resting lines and groups.
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~ 7 am: [Orcas] passing Eagle Cove (SW San Juan Island) right now! Large, frisky pod of at least 20+ whales close in to shore heading north. Lots of breaching as they passed Granny's Cove (same pattern as last night), tail-slapping and some rolling at the surface. Happy whales and no boats in sight!
Lodie Laurieanne Gilbert Budwill
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TO63 (aka "Zorro" or "Chain Saw") and 3 other transients, northbound in Stephens Passage, Auke Bay, Alaska - 4pm.
Jim C Collins
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At 11:45 am John Eaker called to report a pod (7-14 orcas) about 100 yards off the jetty at Bandon OR, spread out for 1/4 mile, milling and apparently feeding.

July 6, 2011

Orcas came by east of North Pender Island, BC around noon. They were spread out and one could see two or three close together at times, but more often one, then another one--for over an hour. My home is just north of Thieves Bay.
Karen Westrell, N. Pender Island, B.C.
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Reports below from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.:
7:40 am: The radio call came in from a fisherman on the boat R&R that he spotted around 8 Orca around the Salmon Point / Miracle Beach on the Vancouver Island side and Sentry Shoal, mid Georgia Strait heading Northward.
8:35 am: The first of the tours from Painter's Lodge found the Orca doing their disappearing act just South of Mitlenatch Island.
10:30 am: Aaron, Campbell River Whale Watching called to let me know that he had identified T19B, T19 and possibly T19C in one of the groups. They were still heading in a North-West direction by Mitlenatch Island doing some tail slapping intermixed with long dives.
After we got back from our WW tour, we heard that there were up to a dozen Orca at Bates Beach about b this morning!! Confirmation by one senior guide that at least 1 large male. No direction.
Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching
2 pm: Just North of Campbell River by Brown's Bay and Seymour Narrows a group of 3 of the Transients were spotted by AJ, Painter's Lodge.
2:30 pm: Through broken radio transmission I heard that there were "some" Orca by McMullan Point, Dent Rapids. I believe it was Warren on Tenacious 3, Discovery Marine Safaris.
4 pm: Three Orca including T170 were by Chatham Point working their way up along the Vancouver Island shoreline still in a Westerly direction up into Johnstone Strait.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys
6:20 pm: The 5 Orca that stayed below Campbell River headed to the East side of Quadra Island and worked their way around and back down Hoskyns Channel towards Heriot Bay by the Breton Islands. This group included T19 and there was at least one calf in the mix.
Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching
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Rough seas in the Straits Wednesday evening, but we were able to spot a large pod come around the south end of Lopez 7 to 7:30pm, going east to west.
Sally Reeve, Lopez Island, WA
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Jill Hein of Coupeville was camping at Deception Pass State Park, and called at 4:50 pm to report 8+ orcas in Rosario Strait, heading south, with more splashes further out in the Strait. At least one male was present - they were too far off to ID.
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Doug Smith called at 4:35 pm from West Beach, Deception Pass State Park, to report a pod of 3 or 4 orcas leaping out of the water in Rosario Strait, about 500 - 600 yards off shore, putting on a show.
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The Js and K13s headed north along the west side of San Juan Island. This is believed to be K27 and her newborn calf, K44.
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island, WA
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Orca Network saw a Facebook post this afternoon from Island Adventures Whale Watching about a new calf in K pod, then shortly after received the photo and report above from Jane Cogan, then confirmation from Astrid van Ginneken of the Center for Whale Research that a new calf was photographed today with K27, and designated "K44" by the Center for Whale Research. While they were photographing the whales and getting ID shots of the new calf, K27 rolled under her new baby, and lifted him up so they could see the markings on the underside and determine that K44 is a male (gender often isn't known for weeks, months, or sometimes years)!
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OrcaSound/Lime Kiln Hydrophone reports - pm:
~9:50 - 10:20 pm: AMAZING PARTYING calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones now! They are practically blowing our speakers out - they must be having a baby shower for K44. They went from loud and constant calls and echolocating, to suddenly quiet, at about 10:20 pm. Tuned into Orcasound to see if they went north, but no calls there. Around 11 pm I heard a few very faint calls from Lime Kiln hydrophones - maybe they moved offshore?
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
~10 pm: Calls clear on Lime Kiln. Killer Whale Tales states members of all three pods - you gotta go listen - it's beautiful tonight!!!! No boat noise, and their calls echo.
Vickie Doyle, Kent, WA
10:03 pm: Lots going on at Lime Kiln.
Emalie Garcia
9:31 pm: Orca calls at Lime Kiln.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
Orca calls at Lime Kiln 9:28pm.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Shoreline, WA
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Pod of [orcas] passing Eagle Cove again 8:20pm, traveling from the south, lots of breaching, spy hopping, tail-slapping and double breaches rounding Granny's Cove and passing Eagle Point heading north.
Lodie Laurieanne Gilbert Budwill
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The Center for Whale Research went out in several of their research boats to photo ID the new group of Southern Resident orcas who came into the Salish Sea today. They confirmed that members of L pod have returned, but seas were choppy and the whales were very spread out, and all the photos haven't been seen yet, and so far all of L pod has not been ID'd. They saw K27 with her new calf, K44, and K27 rolled under her baby and lifted him as CWR photographed, so they were able to see right away that it was a boy!
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Around 2 pm this afternoon there were orcas moving quickly with the tide, heading east through Active Pass, past us at our Orca Rock. A group of about 8 - 10 led the way, in a resting line for awhile. They were followed at a large distance by a pair and another pair trailed behind them. Cheers,
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island, BC
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We emerged in the Rosario strait. A moment later, we saw them: four orcas surfaced about 220 yards now off our port side, the eerie fog surrounding them. As we watched the whales, another group surfaced behind us with three more individuals. With the fog, it was difficult to see how many whales there were and in what groupings. Two here, five there; three this way, six more that way! Then all of a sudden, they vanished on a dive. We shut down our engines and waited, each passenger scanning a different direction. When they finally surfaced, there were about twenty orcas together in a tight group, just off our stern! We could hear the poof-poof-poofs of their exhalations. At a glance, we determined that there was a mix of J and L pods, with identifications of a male, "Mega" (L-41), and a female, "Princess Angeline" (J-17). As we were getting our last glimpses of the whales, the fog lifted and we welcomed back the sunshine.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island
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12:00-12:45 today we had a large and very spread-out group of orcas headed west-to-east of Flint Beach, South Lopez Island.
Tom Reeve, Lopez Island, WA
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~11:30 am: We have been watching the [orcas] from our spot at Eagle Cove for the past 45 minutes. An impressive number of whales, must be at least two pods, possibly all three resident pods. Mamas and babies passing by close in to shore and whales in every direction as far west into the strait and as far south as you can see! Hoping all power boats will be cautious and aware of their presence. Magnificent day, calm water, sun glistening off their backs, and sun rays catching the mist of their blows creating little rainbows!
Lodie Laurieanne Gilbert Budwill
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Early this morning resident orcas slowly headed north along the west side of San Juan Island. I saw the usual leaders, J2 (Granny) and J8 (Speiden) at about 7:25 am. Orcas continued to trickle past, a few at a time, for nearly an hour. I believe this group of residents included the Js as well as the K13s (and I would assume L87).
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island, WA
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[Orcas] going past the lighthouse at Limekiln Park, San Juan Island, at 7 am this morning.
Frank-Vicky Giannangelo
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Camping at San Juan County Park. Saw J pod around 7 this morning. Was fun to step out of the tent and enjoy the ' parade'. There was some breaching and some tails slapping but mostly they were working on heading north. I am assuming they were looking for breakfast.
Sarah Schmidt Berger, Whidbey Island, WA
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OrcaSound & Lime Kiln hydrophone reports - am
6:57am-they really livened up (calls at Lime Kiln). Loud and a lot of communication. Sweet morning of eavesdropping. Loud calls on OrcaSound now. With very little background noise - 7:32am. Echolocation too. J & K- really nice calls, clear and boisterous. They were very audible until about 8:20am then big boat, then they moved on - happy to listen in on their environment, thanx all who make it possible.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Shoreline, WA
8:16 am: Hearing a few calls at Orca Sound (and boat noise).
Emalie Garcia
Just walked in: hearing ships noise and lots of calls 6:45 am Lime Kiln Pacific time.
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo, FL
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Echolocation at Lime Kiln. 6:11 am. No calls to identify yet. Lots of echolocation and J calls 6:26 am. Also loud small boat noise. Interesting how the orcas were quietly foraging until the boat arrived to disturb them. This is exactly what research has found: whales have to shout to communicate over boat noise. K pod is there too. 6:34 am.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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We had around five Dall's porpoise feeding around 7:10 this morning. They were feeding in a bait ball. We are located between Vashon Island and the Olalla just up from Al's grocery store. This is our location- N- 47.25.26 W- 122.32.11.5.
Robin Headrick, Vashon Island, WA

July 5, 2011

We received a phone call from Boomer Wright (sp?) at Sea Lion Caves in OR, reporting a sighting of 6 orcas, 4 females & two juveniles, in front of the Sea Lion caves for about 1/2 hr, then heading south.
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Reports from Whales and Dolphins of BC:
Two Humpback Whales were spotted by Race Point/Seymour Narrows in the morning.
5:20 pm: They were close to Maude Island Northbound fighting the large tide in the Narrows.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys
2 Humpbacks north bound in font of Campbell River At Seymour narrows now (8:00 pm).
Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching
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OrcaSound/Lime Kiln Hydrophone reports:
Echolocation (I think) and a tiny squeak at Lime Kiln. 6:42 pm.
~7:40 pm: Another tiny squeak, and increasing small boat noise.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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I'm hearing the same, 6:51pm.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Shoreline, WA
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J-pod very spread out near Active Pass, but well worth the trip to find J2 Granny (she doesn't look any older), Speiden, Double Stuf and various other J-pod members. They were headed towards Cherry Point when we left them to head back to Anacortes.
Jill Hein (SSAMN), Mystic Sea
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We took a long trip north today with reports that there were killer whales hanging around Saturna in Canadian waters. The ride out was beautiful. The sun was shining, there was a clear view of Mt. Baker, and the waters were calm and glassy. What's even better is that the trip up was totally worth it; J-pod was in the area. We were able to identify Riptide and Slick amongst the individuals we encountered.
Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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The resident orcas headed north along the west side of San Juan Island early this morning. I believe the group included all the Js, the K13s, and presumably L87. This photo is of J47 and one of the other J17 family calves (J44 or J46; I think all three calves were traveling in their own little group for a while).
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island, WA

July 4, 2011

4:45 p.m. Direction change for J's - some heading south, spread out & quietly foraging. Land bank and Hannah Heights area (west San Juan Island, WA).
Annie Dieffenbach Pflueger
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K25 being a bit cheeky! and L87 getting a little raunchy with the J22's.
Mercedes Powell, Victoria, B.C.
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J-pod orcas off lime kiln, headed north at 3:30 p.m.
Brittany Bowles
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J pod was spread out along the southwest coast (San Juan Island, WA) in smaller groups. It consisted of the mature male Mike (J-26) whose sea snake was present and the flashing of pink startled and confused the passengers. As we headed further north we saw a formation of four with whom we believed to have Granny (J-2) and Riptide (J-30) leading. The juveniles we passed along the way were continuously lob tailing and we even witnessed a few breaches.
Kirsten, naturalist for San Juan Safaris Whale Watching, San Juan Island
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2 pm: Three Orca were reported in Calm Channel heading Northward towards Church House. Overheard through broken radio reception from an unknown source.
- Susan MacKay
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We had a report of 3 Orca in Calm Channel outside of Churchhouse this afternoon at about 2pm. As the boater had already returned to the dock so the sighting was likely at about 12 or 1230pm. No one was able to find them - and between all the tour operators that were out we covered a lot of ground. Nonetheless, still an amazing day on the water, great Eagle Show at Jimmy Judd island with about 100+ eagles.
Jen, Campbell River Whale Watching
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We were boating near Kingtson when two large Humpback whales appeared out of nowhere! They were playing and jumping fully out of the water making huge splashes. They were playing for about a 1/2 hour and then disappeared. We got some great shots of them on the calm water. Also, there must have been 20+ dolphin-like creatures surfacing on the water all around us with the whales. I couldn't believe how many there were (these were likely Harbor porpoise ON).
Scott Zaffram, Sultan, Washington
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Below reports from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC:
5 pm: Three Harbour Porpoises were foraging by Bold Point heading towards Quadra Island.
3 pm: Six Dall's Porpoise were zig zagging by the entrance to Bute Inlet.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys
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Of the two humpback whales photographed by Scott Zaffram one (thin patches of white on fluke) matches the Point no Point whale that Jeff Hogan was able to get good photos of June 2. The second is hard to tell due to angle, but could possibly be the same animal from Fox Island photographed 19 June.
Annie Douglas, Cascadia Research, Olympia, WA
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8 a.m. - orca parade off Lummi Island this morning in flat calm waters - very spread out in channel, across to Clark Island (going south) - couple big male dorsals - bunch of recreational boats out enjoying the morning sun (and parade)!
Penny Stone, Lummi Island, WA

July 3, 2011

Below reports from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC:
5:20 pm: Between 8 to 10 Pacific White Sided Dolphins were out in front of the Powell River Ferry Terminal foraging then made a decisive turn Southward. They even ignored the ferry wake they normally like to play in.
We also sighted about 7 or 8 pacific white sided dolphins foraging just North of Hole in the Wall (Calm Channel) - plus, 1 harbour porpoise in Okissolo South - and a couple more in Hoskyns Channel. Wonderful Day,
Jen, Campbell River Whale Watching
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It was a confusing morning -- first resident orcas headed north along the west side of San Juan Island, then south, then north again. Then, the most magical thing took place -- a giant resting line materialized. The orcas remained in that resting pattern for 5 or 6 hours, more or less west of Kellett Bluff. I'm not sure how many of the Js and K13s participated (and we cannot forget L87).
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island, WA
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Ocean Outfitters Whale Watching out of Tofino, BC also reports 30 Resident orca off Vargas Island (NW of Tofino, NW Vancouver Island), likely the Ls (and maybe some Ks?) reported off Tofino by Strawberry Isle yesterday.
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Just saw a pod of [orcas] at the west entrance to active pass from the BC ferries (~9:30 pm).
Gary Jones
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L pod off Tofino! 11:45 am: 20+ Killer Whales heading W from Amphitrite (S. of Tofino, BC, west Vancouver Island). Later: Southern Residents - L pod for sure, and estimates of 30+ orcas present! At 5:40 pm they're right off the entrance to Tofino and still heading West. Last seen 20:10, 8.9nm off Lennard Island (SW of Tofino). Belly-belly activity seen.
Rod Palm, Principal Investigator, Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society, Tofino, BC
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We had some great views of L pod aboard our vessel NANUQ, as they cruised west along Tofino's coastline!!
West Coast Aquatic Safaris, Tofino, BC
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6:15am: Orca calls on LimeKiln hydrophone, sounds like J pod.
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7:45am- calls still at Lime Kiln, loud & very lively-fortunate are those who might be sitting on those rocks at the lighthouse park.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Shoreline, WA
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6:15 am: I hear calls at Lime Kiln right now.
Chrissy Rosler
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~6:15 am: Whales still at Lime Kiln!!
Rebecca Spurgeon
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So Resident Killer Whale calls and clicks auto-detected at Lime Kiln (and once at Orcasound) from 5:45-8:30 this morning.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach, Seattle, WA
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Clear and loud calls on Lime Kiln now, and no boat noise! 7:29 pm.
Meg McDonald, Vashon, WA

July 2, 2011

We had 4 orcas milling about 50 feet off the public area at San Juan County Park after Granny's party (5-5:45ish). They were heading south.
Douglass Sillars, PhD
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A picture of J2 "Granny" taken this evening north of False Bay during the celebration of her 100th birthday (see below). We were with J8, J2, L87, J26 and several other Orcas up to 9pm near False Bay. We heard some great vocalizations and echolocation over our hydrophone.
Andrew Lees, Five Star Whale Watching, Victoria, BC
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3:21 pm: Orcas at Lime Kiln. 3:39 pm: orcas at OrcaSound. 4:49 pm: Orcas at Lime Kiln. 5:50 pm: orcas at OrcaSound. 5:53 pm: Loud calls at both Lime Kiln & OrcaSound. b and 7:50 pm: b still at Lime Kiln. 8:59 pm: Orcas still at Lime Kiln - weak calls under ship noise.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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5:31 pm: Sounds like J pod, hearing loud S1 calls and echolocation.
5:44 pm: Calls being heard on Lime Kiln. Jpod (Granny) is appearing for her birthday celebration. Hearing a lot of echolocation. Hope they are finding a lot of Chinook to eat. Hope you had a great celebration for Granny today. Too bad Ruffles (J1) could not be there today too.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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Orca sound hydrophone...faint calls right now! 6:05 pm. Loud and clear RIGHT now. Like a bugle! WOW!!! Now they are on Lime Kiln!! 7:05 pm. Still on Lim Kiln @7:40pm.
Judy Simons
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~ 5:50 pm: Hearing happy orcas at Lime Klin right now!! Thery're singing happy birthday to Granny!
Jay Schilling
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5:53 pm: Good calls still at OrcaSound too. K pod has been there since 4:30, but sounds like others have joined in. And echolocation. They are really talking it up at both Lime Kiln & OrcaSound! This is sweeeeet.
Alisa Lemire Brooks
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We came on scene at the bottom end of Rosario Strait with J16, J26 and J2 on the day of her birthday celebration! We stayed with those whales for most of our trip as they cruised up towards San Juan Island and we got one big bellyflop from J26 but unfortunately couldn't catch it on camera.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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We found the big guys; killer whales were off in the distance! We watched some younger juveniles lob-tailing and a group of four swim eloquently by. Then, in another direction a single large male dorsal fin sliced through the water attracting everyone's attention. A few moments later, out of nowhere he was joined by another male, and they made their way across the sea. On the way back in, we caught up with the two male killer whales again and stalled to watch them for a while longer.
~Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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On board the Island Explorer where we saw some of the J's and 1 K, K-25 Scoter. As we headed up the west side of San Juan Isl. we saw the crowds gathered at Lime Kiln to celebrate J-2 Granny's birthday. What a rare opportunity to see her on this special day. We also encountered the J-16's & the J-22's. J-30, Riptide led the group southbound toward Lime Kiln. The whales were very spread out and I suspect more were making the trip southbound. We saw some awesome breaches, spyhops and happy tailslaps. Riptide and Mike are growing up to be big boys.
Vicky Miller -SSAMN, Marysville, WA
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Between 3:00 and 3:30 we had a spread out group of 10-12 orcas headed very slowly east-to-west past Flint Beach on South Lopez Island.
Tom Reeve, Lopez Island
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12.15 pm. [Orcas] east of James Island seen from the Anacortes to Friday Harbor ferry. One big breach - was that Granny celebrating her birthday as we sailed off towards San Juan to celebrate it too? It was a memorable event in a glorious setting. Perfect timing as members of J pod passed by including Blackberry (J27) and Princess Angeline (J17), with a couple of high energy breaches to pay tribute and salute the matriarch on her special day.
Sandra Pollard (SSAMN), Freeland, Whidbey Is., WA
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Orcas passing Lummi this morning going south into Rosario Strait (9:30 a.m.) - 3 big males out there - very spread out - flat calm gorgeous morning - no boats - just the sounds of whale breath! looks like a good day for whale watching on the west side.
Penny Stone, Lummi Island
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Orca Network received a call from Captain RJ, reporting two humpbacks, what looked like an adult and a two year old, at 1800 hours off Eglon, north of Kingston, Kitsap County, WA. They were breaching off Eglon, and were traveling north toward Pt. No Point.
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The Scott's at Bush Pt, SW Whidbey Island, called to report seeing what appeared to be a Gray whale (though more likely one of the humpbacks reported in that area recently - see above report) off Bush Pt. at 6:45 am and again at 10:30 am, heading south toward Mutiny Bay.
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After watching the killer whales for a while we went in search of minke whales that were reported nearby. We could see flocks of sea birds on and over the water up a head and as we neared closer the small dorsal of a minke whale came out of the water. It was an amazing site.
~Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Saw what appeared to be two or three white sided dolphins while boating near Double Bluff on Whidbey Island at 7:45 this evening. They were fast moving. We kept our eyes pinned in their direction to see if they were dolphins or porpoise. They looked smaller and moved together like dolphins. It was choppy out there so we were happy that we spotted them. Beautiful.
Sarah Schmidt Berger Without photos, it is difficult to know, but it is more likely they were Dall's or Harbor porpoise, though we have also had several Common dolphins in Puget Sound recently, and on rare occasions have had Pacific White-sided dolphins in the Salish Sea - ON
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A group of about 6-8 Lags (short for the latin name of Pacific White Sided Dolphins - SM) they were traveling/foraging/playful dolphins mid passage at Eagles Cove.
Jen, Campbell River Whale Watching from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC:

July 1, 2011

The glassy conditions of the water allowed us to easily spot over half of the resident Minke population, which had gathered in Salmon Bank. It was incredible to view so many of the rorquals in one area. We could hear the exhales of the whales between the squawks of the birds which had also congregated in the area. Both the Minkes and the birds were there to feed on the same morsel, the herring.
Kirsten, naturalist for San Juan Safaris Whale Watching
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10:30 am: Two Humpback Whales were traveling Southward by April Point, Campbell River area.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC
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We rounded Cattle Point and headed up the west coast (San Juan Isl). We quickly encountered orcas which appeared to be feeding with thrashing and direction changes along with a few breaches and tail lobs. After being lucky enough to watch the unique behavior, we headed back south. Trip 2: We headed south with word that there were killer whales heading towards False Bay. Shortly after, there were spouts in the distance. It was J-pod! After seeing the first spouts, dorsal fins came up from all directions. One male was identified as Blackberry. The pod was changing direction, coming together, and then splitting apart again. A few of them were lob tailing and spy hopping as well!
Kirsten, naturalist for San Juan Safaris Whale Watching
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K's off San Juan Island around 1.00 pm, well spread out. No sign of Granny - perhaps she's getting ready for her party at Lime Kiln tomorrow.,
Sandra Pollard, Freeland, Whidbey Island, WA
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This afternoon from Lime Kiln Lighthouse we watched two groups of whales come across Haro Strait from Discovery Island. They were very spread out by the time they reached San Juan Island, and they slowly moved north past Lime Kiln from about 1:45 - 5:15 PM. The back-lighting made it hard to get IDs, but J8, J16, and J34 were all in this group. The whales never disappeared from view to the north, and their blows were visible for a long time before they passed the lighthouse again heading south at 8:00 PM. This time the closest group to shore included the J17s (J17, J28, J35, J44, J46, J47).
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island
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10:27 am: [Orcas] inbound at race rocks, BC. Don't know who yet.
John Boyd, San Juan Island, WA
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9:45 am: Report of around 6 Orca spotted off the Cape Mudge can buoy working their way Southward. Jen, Campbell River Whale Watching




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