June 2009 Whale Sightings

June 30, 2009

J pod was encountered just north of Lime Kiln Lighthouse (48° 31.298 N; 123° 09.804 W) spread out traveling south at 10:43 a.m by Center for Whale Research staff Erin Heydenreich, Emma Foster and Basil Von Ah. Whales were spread from shore to mid strait. A lot of milling, foraging and surface activity was observed. The whales turned west off South Beach (48° 26.42 N; 123° 00.68 W) where the encounter ended at 2:03 p.m. J's later turned around and headed back up island.
Center for Whale Research
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Orca Network received a message from Brenden Sams relaying a report of orcas in Humboldt Co, CA for the last 2 days. He left no details but said he had photos, we will forward on any further info. or photos as they come in.
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We spent a delightful day with J Pod in the afternoon and evening. We left them headed north at 7:00 PM at Limekiln, and later in the evening heard them near Mitchell Pt. on the northwest side of San Juan Island.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island
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We got word that the Orcas were near False Bay and heading up island. We rushed over there and immediately were able to identify J-1, "Ruffles", we then saw granny, Riptide, Sachi and a few others. We were so excited, J-pod twice in a row! It's always so amazing to see Granny; she is estimated to be 98 years old and the matriarch of J-pod. We watched J-pod as they cruised with the current toward Lime Kiln State Park. They traveled very close together for a while, and then spread out a little. On our afternoon adventure we saw J-30, Riptide, along with other J-pod members. Riptide was born in 1995 and is the eldest surviving offspring of J-14, Samish. He is maturing into an adult and is growing a very tall dorsal fin. We watched as he fished, very interesting, you can see how quickly he is capable of moving. We also saw lots and lots of spy hopping. On the way back to Friday Harbor on our afternoon trip we were looking at all the sea birds, mostly gulls, congregating in one spot on the ocean surface. This is a sure sign of 'fish'. The birds were making lots of noise and sure enough we saw a Minke whale. Minke whales are one of the smallest baleen whales. We watched for a few minutes and another minke surfaced, but this one was much smaller, one of the Captains named him "Twinkie". "Twinkie" the baby minke
Naturalist Jeannette Miller, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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We had word that J Pod was also down south of the island! The kids were thrilled when they got to witness J1 Ruffles just poking along about 1 mile offshore from Lime Kiln. We also watched J2 Granny just in front of Ruffles, and the kids got a laugh out of the fact that Ruffles is a big "momma's boy" who stays pretty close to her for most of his life. We left the whales around 1045 . For our afternoon trip, we went to visit the orcas again, who were doing the classic "west side shuffle" between Lime Kiln and Eagle Point (1300). The whales were following the shoreline pretty closely, and as we watched from nearly 1/2 mile from shore, everyone aboard was asking great questions about whale behaviors. We had J22 Oreo and her boy J34 Doublestuff a bit further away from the main group, and they seemed to be doing some fishing based on their multiple direction changes. And then Doublestuff literally erupted from the water doing two huge breaches in a row. He sure is getting to be big at only 11 years of age! Then the group of inshore whales decided to follow his lead and did several breaches, tailslaps, and spyhops as well. We headed back down to Salmon Bank, as the kids were going to do an experiment collecting plankton. But imagine our surprise as we floated silently in the water while making the collection to have the same very small minke whale from yesterday surface very close to the boat! He must have been down on a long dive as we had last seen him over 800 yards away from the boat in his prior surfacing. One of the kids noted he must be eating some of the same stuff they were trying to collect! We watched for a few minutes longer as we watched the minke proceed to a baitball and scatter all the birds as he "stole" his meal from them.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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10:30am - Resident orcas observed from shore at Smallpox Bay on San Juan Island. Several male dorsal fins were visible, as well as open saddle patches, as the pod traveled Southbound. One orca exhibited two fluke slaps, and another changed direction for a short time. All continued South, and were again observed at Dead Man's Bay.
Jason Sneed, Marine Naturalist
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This morning (10:05 am) we have J Pod heading north on the west side of SJI near Hanna Heights. There are whales coming in from the direction of Hein Bank, not sure if this is J Pod or others - details to follow!
Sandy Buckley, Postcards From Friday Harbor

June 29, 2009

Reports were of L's off Salmon Bank, when we got out there at about 2:15pm, there were many whales, at first appearing to forage with the minor ebb tide, then the orcas all came together heading toward the west. There were so many we wondered that there were more than L's. Sure enough some K's were with them as they went on a long dive, and surfaced northwest toward Eagle Cove. Another group of orcas approached from the southeast, looking like they were going to join the first big group, did a few tail lobs, then turned back to the west. The large group then turned and all the whales were joining up and speed swimming! toward the west when we left them at about 3:25pm.
Caroline Armon
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Orca Network received a call from John Barino of the Olympic Coast NMS - his family observed 3 - 4 orcas including a young one from the Coho ferry (Victoria to Pt. Angeles) at 9 oclock. We're assuming they may have been K or L pod whales, as they were seen heading out west that evening.
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Center staff Erin Heydenreich, Emma Foster and Basil Von Ah departed Snug Harbor and encountered K's and Ls traveling south past Open Bay (48° 33.818 N; 123° 11.560 W) at 11:43 a.m. The whales were spread out along the west side of San Juan Island. At around 2:30 p.m. several L's grouped up and turned west toward the Strait of Juan de Fuca (48° 21.930 N; 123° 05.030 W). K's and L's continued traveling west spread out in groups.
Center for Whale Research
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We spotted two minke whales amongst the multiple bait balls forming at Salmon Bank (one of the minkes is the smallest I've ever seen, so perhaps it's a new calf?).
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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In big seas, we followed the Ks and the Ls that were headed West about 7 miles south of Victoria. The Js went North from Turn Pt. and I would think that we would see them today.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside
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When we approached Salmon Bank south of the island, we could see a few boats in the distance, which was encouraging (1315). Soon we found our own little group of orcas to watch, and it was so thrilling to see how active the whales were. I couldn't ID one of the orcas that must have breached almost a dozen times in about 10 minutes as he was a bit far away. But we had no problems making an ID of L41 Mega, L79 Skana, L88 Wavewalker. These big boys have huge dorsal fins, which is also why we call them indicator whales (since these whales live with mom all their lives, if they are around, you know mom isn't too far away!) Soon our three "big boys" were joined by other members of their family.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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K's were milling off Pile Point around 9:30 a.m. (probably earlier). Soon word was out that many whales were coming down from the north. Some of the K's went north to meet them. The whales coming south turned out to be many L pod whales. They swept the strait around noon as they came south on this beautiful day. Quite a sight--so many tall (male) fins! I heard people identify the L12's, L2's and L7's. The Center was out much of the day so they will be able to tell us if it was all of the L's. As I write this (6:27 pm) the J's are reportedly up north perhaps near the coal docks. L's and K's are heading west. Hope they come back soon.
Sharon Grace, San Juan Island
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We heard some calls at about 12:05 on the Lime Kiln Hydrophone - so great to be able to listen to the whales even though we can't see them.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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11 am: Hearing a few SRKW calls (mostly S19s?) with nice "reverb" at OrcaSound hydrophones.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach
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There are a few Orcas, probably L12,L-85,L-22, L-79 and L-89 down near Eagle Pt, San Juan Island right now (8:20 am).
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island Charters, San Juan Island
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Orca Network received a call from Arlene Sullivan on Mayne Island,BC, reporting a pod of ~10 orcas including 2 males heading NE through Active Pass, just traveling, not stopping to feed, at 1:20 pm
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At 0625 a few orcas passed Point Roberts heading Southeast. They were difficult to identify due to frigid strong winds whipping up 4 foot waves. They were just travelling through with scarce surfacings then long dives. It is possible that these were the trailers since I'm quite sure that there was a breach and some blows off in the distant rough waters earlier this morning.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce, Pt. Roberts
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Orca Network received a call from Dave from Island Packers, on the Islander out of Ventura, CA - reporting ~ 5-8 orcas at 34 05.15N, 119 29.13W. The pod included 1 sprouter male, 1 adult female and several juveniles & sub-adults.
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We continue to see the minke whale (again this morning) at the mouth of aleck bay, between swirl island and hughes bay, south end of lopez. It is there many mornings.
Sheila Bishop, Lopez Island

June 28, 2009

Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research encountered J pod early morning off the west side of San Juan Island. Later in the day Center staff Erin Heydenreich, Emma Foster and Basil Von Ah encountered K and L pods travelling in loose groups up Swanson Channel (48° 42.939 N; 123° 15.980 W) at 12:30 p.m. At 1:37 p.m. the last group passed Mouat Point on North Pender Island B.C. and continued travelling north up Active Pass. At 2:15 p.m. the L2's were encountered just off Spieden Channel (48° 33.112 N; 123° 11.521W). They were spread out travelling south.
Center for Whale Research
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So. Resident Orcas - West side of Stuart Island.
Bart Holman
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Orcas heading towards the Westshore coal docks to the Fraser River at approx. 1600. They were quite active with some breaching as they pass the South Arm of the Fraser at approx. 1800.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce, Pt. Roberts
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We had a great day today in swanson channel with at least J pod and K pod!!. I could not ID any L pod members but heard reports they were around. I got a good shot of J45? could not get a good look at the saddle but he was traveling right beside J14.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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On the Western Prince we met up with the L2s (L2, L78, L88) as well as L87 traveling southbound along the northwest side of San Juan Island. They were hugging the coastline, then surprised absolutely everyone by going on a long dive and veering offshore before surfacing among the boats. You can check out some photos of L88 Wavewalker passing by us here. When we left them at about 3:50 in the afternoon they were again southbound (a little further offshore this time) at about Andrew's Bay.
Monika Wieland, Western Prince Naturalist
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I had actually found whales earlier this morning from shore out on the west side of San Juan Island. They were slowly heading north towards the Center for Whale Research, and didn't seem to be in any hurry. We were able to join up with members of J Pod, the L2's and the L12's just as they approached the Turn Point Lighthouse on Stuart Island (1200). It was so beautiful. The whales were coming to the surface in groups of 6-8, and we were able to ID many members of J-Pod including J1 Ruffles, J2 Granny, J26 Mike, and J27 Blackberry. Soon we also saw L41 Mega, L78 Gaia, and many other L-Pod females. There were several times when the whale groups would come together, and during these times, we'd see lots of upside-down swimming, tail lobs, tail slaps. For the afternoon trip aboard the Western Explorer, we didn't catch up to the whales until they were approaching an area known as the Coal Docks (1415). They started "porpoising" or speed swimming about 300 yards in front of the boat. This was followed by multiple breaches, spyhops, and plenty more rolling around on each other. One whale must have breached at least 6-7 times in a row.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Explorer
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In the afternoon we were on land at lime kiln lighthouse. We first saw a small pod of Dall's porpoises and then coming north to south were 4 orcas which the docent named as L-78, L-88 and L-26 and L-2. They were fairly close to shore and made for good viewing pleasure on a warm sunny day!
Liz Heinrich, Equitech
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Orca Network received a call from Arlene Sullivan on Mayne Island, BC, reporting a report from neighbors who saw a pod of orcas heading SW through Active Pass.
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A single gray whale swam past Tulalip Shores Sunday afternoon sometime between 1:30 and 2:00pm, heading south towards Tulalip Bay.
Vicki Mattson, Tulalip Shores
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In the morning all three pods were going by my house on Mitchell Pt. so my evening passengers were able to come on down, and we got out to see them. Orcas everywhere. And it's always amazing watching the Residents come out of Active Pass and watching them smell the Fraser River, like yesterday afternoon. Though there were four Orcas that had turned in the morning and were off the West Side (San Juan Isl) , I decided to go North, and we were able to be there and greet them coming out of Active Pass (Active Pass seperates Maynes and Galiano Islands, up there in the Gulf Islands north of the San Juans).
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island
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We missed hearing the whales on the hydrophones at LimeKiln, but at 9:48 am picked up some GREAT calls at Orca Sound, so they must have been heading north. Sounded like they were having a paty!
Susan & Howard, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Lots and lots of calls on LimeKiln hydrophones with very little background noise.
Val Veirs, San Juan Island
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Listening to J Pod and (?) on Lime Kiln right now!
John Boyd, San Juan Island

June 27, 2009

We had a gray whale swim under our sailboat and surface right next to us (yikes, what a surprise!) as we were headed back to Everett Marina. Here are the details: 1 Gray Whale, just north of the green shallow water buoy that is west of Everett Marina traveling WNW, towards Whidbey Island, around 6pm. Traveling, surfacing for air every couple of minutes.
Jennifer Wapenski
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Howard did a talk at NAS Whidbey Island, and was told the 2 Gray whales had been observed that morning off NAS Whidbey, where they have been present for three months (between West Beach/NAS Whidbey) - will be interesting to see how long they stay!
Susan & Howard, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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The Ocean Magic II caught up with J Pod just after 13:00 as they came around the SE point of Lopez Island heading West. They were quite spread out and appeared to be foraging. Our later trip found them South of San Juan Island, very active, with lots of splashing and breaching. They then grouped up and we had some great passes by the whole family! It was great to see both new calves looking very healthy. I happened to click the shutter at the right time and got a fantastic shot of Granny, Ruffles, and (I am assuming) J45, Granny's great-grandson! We left them at 17:30 at Middle Bank, still West-bound.
Mika Ogilvie, First Mate on the Ocean Magic II (Prince of Whales)
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J Pod was off Eagle Point, San Juan this afternoon, around 4.30pm. They were seen gathering speed as they headed west. In choppy water we watched the individual families file past with spyhops, tail slaps, and breaches, bucking a flood tide. It was awesome to watch them as they surfaced. We got to see individual faces above the waves for a change. The tiny ones looked like they were doing well.
Marie, Orca-Magic, POW
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1930: Likely J pod well spread out and moving northward. Few vocals though some great S-4 calls (that neat growl) and some echolocation clicks.
Val Veirs, San Juan Island
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Tom Reeve of Lopez Island called to report a pod of ~15+ orcas was off S. Lopez Island, heading east to west toward Iceberg Pt at 1:30 pm.
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Nadia Baker called at 11:30 am to report a pod of orcas was heading south from Bellingham Channel, toward where they were kayaking off S. Lopez Island. At 1:25 pm she reported the whales had nearly reached Iceberg Pt, S Lopez Isl.
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Nadja Baker called at 1:25 pm to report a Minke whale about 1/4 mile south of Iceberg Pt, S. Lopez Island.
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A couple of friends of mine who were out flying today spotted a Gray Whale NW of Everett at 10:30 AM. It was feeding in the shallows on the shoals.
Veronica von Allwörden, Langley, Whidbey Island
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Orca Network received a report of 1 whale observed east of Possession Beach (SW Whidbey Isl) in Possession Sound (probably about 1 mile from shore). Traveling south, 5:15AM. Looks like he had somewhere to go. He was heading south pretty quick. He'd surface about every minute and let out a good blow his tail would flop and then go back under. There was a fin on the back, but it wasn't especially big. From this description, it sounds like it was possibly a humpback whale - Grays don't have a dorsal fin, and Minke whales don't have a conspicuous spout and typically don't show their flukes when diving.

June 26, 2009

Ken Balcomb, Erin Heydenreich, Emma Foster and Basil Von Ah of the Center for Whale Research departed Snug Harbor on vessels Orca and Starlet, and encountered whales traveling south past Kellett Bluff at 10:52 am (48° 34.146 N; 23° 11.113 W). The whales were very spread out and traveling at a fast pace. Several members of K pod were documented as well as the L2's and L87. The encounter ended two miles off Cattle Point (48° 23.642 N; 123° 01.217W) at 1:34 p.m. The whales were still very spread out across the strait and appeared to be heading west.
Center for Whale Research
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There were two minke whales feeding in the area of Salmon Bank today. We were with them from about 1:30 PM until 1:50 PM. We then left the scene with them milling about generally headed inshore towards South Beach.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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Eric and I went flying at 2:45 PM, during the low tide and saw a lot of very fresh whale pits in the sand bars northwest of Everett. On our return flight at 5:30 we saw two gray whales feeding just west of Everett. I was unable to ID the whales.
Veronica von Allwörden, Langley, Whidbey Island
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3 Orcas Sighted off Maury Island, just off the lighthouse at approx 5p.m. Appeared to be feeding. Not close enough to see many markings.
Craig Farthing
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We left the Ks last night off the Southern tip of Lopez Isl. Js had gone North in the morning, so they should be back today.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's West Side Charters
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On our afternoon trip, we headed out to meet up with the Orcas reported to be heading north in Swanson Channel. When we arrived, J Pod was in a tight resting formation, drifting past Village Bay on Mayne Island. We knew that would likely change as they approached Active Pass. Sure enough, the tail slaps started just as they rounded the bend at Helen's Point. The whales stayed fairly tightly together until they were mid-pass, when the action really got going - upside-down swimming, breaches, tail slaps, pec slaps, spyhops - as they approached the tide rips at the east end of the pass. As they were exiting the pass, the whales did a long dive going through the final large tide rips, and surfaced some distance to the east. Once in the Strait of Georgia, the pod split into matriline groups and spread out for the crossing. The mud plume from the Fraser River had spread all the way across the Strait due to the low tide and earlier winds, and the whales seemed to be doing many more spyhops than we usually see as they exit Active Pass. We left J Pod shortly after their exit from Active Pass. They were still heading east towards the coal docks.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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We received a call from Arlene Solomon, reporting a pod of ~10 orcas, including 2 - 3 males, heading into the SW entrance of Active Pass between Mayne & Prevost Islands at 3 pm.
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Hopes were high as we headed west of Salmon Bank. We were all delighted to watch K-11, K- 13, K-25, K-27, K-34, K-20, and K-38, from 2:10pm until 3pm, in close family groups foraging as they headed northwest toward Eagle Cove, and two groups of other whales along the shoreline. We came across two Minke whales foraging at Salmon Bank. The first Minke looked like an adult, the second a juvenile with a very curvy-hooked dorsal fin and a small white spot on the left flank. Both whales surfaced more often than we normally see, and close distance to each surfacing, so not so elusive and everyone saw them, along with rafts of marine birds!
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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In the area of Middle Bank we caught up with members of L pod. They were split up into family groups and were also showing feeding behaviors. The groups were spread out more than a mile from shore and were headed northwest making quiet vocalizations. By 3:30 PM they had only progressed to Eagle Point.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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Whales in Active Pass this afternoon. About 3:30 pm, about 12 orcas, heading east on a fast tide. Some tail slaps and breeches. Two snuffled right at the shore in the kelp.
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island, B.C.
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8:30 am - Just had one grey whale feeding in front of Spee-Bi-Dah beach (Port Susan). It looked a little lighter in color and smallar than other whales that we have seen.
Malcolm & Tarry Lindquist
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Whales all over today on the west side of San Juan Island, very spread out. We were a mile or two off shore with L78, K16 and possibly J35, who played in a kelp bed, then pushed the kelp over towards us.
Jill Hein, Coupeville
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Carole May reported hearing orcas on the OrcaSound hydrophone at 11:17 am.
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Calls and echo location heard all the way from Scotland from 11:00 - 11:25 PST) Nothing heard on Lime Kiln.
Steward Macintyre, Scotland
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We met up with J-Pod again heading north in Swanson Channel around 12 noon. They were in nice tight groups and we spent most of our time observing the J14 family group with J1, J2, and J8. We were able to identify every J- Pod family group but the J16s, so they either went undetected or were off on their own somewhere else. When we left them around 1 PM they were just nearing Otter Bay, still traveling north against a flood tide.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island

June 25, 2009

June 22 - 25ish - Orca network received a call from Den McClure who saw one orca 1 week to 10 days ago, in Willapa Bay, WA - in the lower bay near the entrance, eating seals.
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Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research encountered J's K's and the L2's off the west side of San Juan Island, in the early evening. The whales were spread out in groups traveling north.
Center for Whale Research
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I watched J-Pod off of Land Bank and Lime Kiln on the west side of San Juan Island from about 3:30-4:30 in the afternoon. They headed north very close to shore, then turned and started coming back south before veering to the west to meet in the incoming K-Pod. It was definitely one of those special passbys where most of the pod was just off the kelp beds, and onlookers got nice looks at all the J-Pod family groups!
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island
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OrcaSound hydrophone, 1830: First we heard mewing, like in K-pod, and then we heard S-1's as in J-pod. The whales were spread out and their blows drifted north in the southerly, backlit by the ever-so-slow setting sun - they were headed slowly north.
Val Veirs, San Juan Island
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All the people on land, on the westside of San Juan Island enjoyed seeing Orcas swimming north, near shore, with the flooding tide, from about 3:30 to at least 4pm. The whales were spread out from Lime Kiln Point south about a mile. All the boats appeared to maintaining the 1/2 mile from shore, no boat zone.
Caroline Armon, San Juan Transit & Tours
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Between 1:10 and 1:45 a loose group of orcas passed SJI between False Bay and Eagle Point, moving East while hunting, zigzagging very seriously. They came by in a group of four (male, females, juvenile) followed by a group of 7 or 8, including two males and a very young orca.
Mary WillAllen, naturalist, The Whale Museum
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Cool orcas off SJI today most of the day. First, J pod went down island on the ebb, then up island on the flood to Lime Kiln, with most of the pod making close passes to shore with lots of surface active behavior. As J1 and J2, among others, went north, most of the pod seemed to stall out around Lime Kiln, still with lots of surface activity. At the same time there were reports that K pod had passed Discovery Island and other reports further north had J1 and J2 disappearing. Minutes after J1 and J2 "disappeared," the orcas at Lime Kiln started heading at a fast pace off shore and towards Discovery. Within minutes J pod, including J1 and J2, were together making great time and distance against a strong flood tide. Several juveniles breached nearly continuously, until J pod met up with K pod and perhaps more than a few L's about a mile off Hannah Heights at around 5 p.m. There were whales all over, with much active socializing. There appeared to be at least three groups of ten or more whales in close proximity, rolling all over each other, with much switching of whales (at least sprouters) between the groups. About half of K pod headed in close to the shore at Hannah Heights within 10 minutes of meeting up. At Hannah there was a good chop going on. The K pod whales appeared to be surfing, foraging and playing at the same time. A young calf (K42?) tried to copy the older whales and dove aggressively into a large wave before getting bashed sideways by the pretty good sized wave. The calf kind of wriggled like a fish, righted himself and continued on unabashed after his older brethren. As the flood tide began carrying the main group of orcas up island, the K pod whales that had been close in to the beach headed out and joined up with the main group. I left them just after 6 pm still heading up island as a group. On another good note I think I have seen more socializing already this year, than all of last year which seemed to be a continual quest for food.
Sharon Grace, SJI
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In the afternoon as the whales went north past Lime Kiln I was able to get a picture of Gaia L-78 and Wave Walker L-88. I don't know if other L Pod whales were present with J Pod and K Pod, but it was interesting to see these whales with Js and Ks. I would imagine that their mom, Grace L-2 was there, but I didn't get a picture of her. L-2, L-78 and L-88 were seen with J and K pods on Monday June 22nd as they all came south down Haro Strait.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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I saw 2 gray whales off West Beach a little before noon . Looked to be an adult and a young one - could it be that a mom has brought her baby to Whidbey? They were a couple of hundred yards off-shore, and appeared to be heading SSW.
Jill Hein, Coupeville I have seen a minke whale out by swirl island, entrance to aleck bay, south Lopez Island. It has been moving around near the feeding seabirds.
Sheila Bishop

June 24, 2009

Carla Hedgepeth called Orca Network to report seeing 2 orcas in Winchester Bay OR, off the Umpqua River near Coos Bay, at 11:30 am. There was a male & one female or juvenile, they were heading south. Location was 43 40.76 124 334.33.
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I have seen a minke whale out by swirl island, entrance to aleck bay, south Lopez Island.
Sheila Bishop
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Js spent the afternoon South of Pt. Roberts trying to decide whether or not to battle the flood tide and come down to the San Juans. Nope. They decided to ride the flood back to the Fraser, and hopefully come on down tomorrow. The last I heard they were 10 miles North of East Pt. still headed North at 6:30 PM.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island
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There is a minke whale headed south off of the west side of SJI - north side of Hannah Heights- approx 100 yards off shore, 8:05 pm.
Sandy Buckley, Postcards From Friday Harbor
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Two grays Between 3:00 & 3:30 PM off the west side of Whidbey just north of Ft. Nugent Rd. They were spouting & heading south but then appeared to turn around.
Shirley Taft, Oak Harbor
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Just had a call (11:40 am) from a friend observing two gray whales feeding very close together in very shallow water between the East and West Twin Rivers west of Port Angeles. One has a very distinct white blotch on underside of tail fluke.
Margaret Owens, Forks, WA

June 23, 2009

I have seen a minke whale out by swirl island, entrance to aleck bay, south Lopez Island.
Sheila Bishop
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Minke traveling west to east just outside the kelp line, south end of Lopez between the Monument on Iceberg Point Preserve and Flint Beach, 1:30pm.
Sally Reeve
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We met up with the [orcas] crossing to San Juan Island. They had been traveling quite fast according to the other boats and they ended up splitting into 2 or more groups, with some whales moving towards the southern half of the island and others northbound up Haro Strait. The Orcas were quite spread out in all directions - apparently it was J pod and K pod. We had some wonderful views of 2 younger calves playing in the currents where the kelp was collecting, along with logs and other debris. One even draped a bit of kelp across its dorsal fin!! We moved north, from one group to another and left them off of Kellet Bluff, Henry Island as we looped around the north side of San Juan Island. Then the sunset tour. J pod had covered some ground and was up in the Canadian Gulf Islands. We were able to watch J27 (Blackberry) who at 18 is turning into quite the large male. Along with J27 was his sister J31 and a sprouter male who I believe was J34. We were able to also get great looks at J26, the other 18 year old male with his mom J16 and younger sibling J42. Again very active tonight! Breach after breach, even by the little calf! The next family group included J17, J28, and newborn J44?
Jaclyn, naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research, relayed a report of orcas, possibly L pod, off Swiftsure, heading west at 7:30 am.
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Orcas were heard off the hydrophone between 3:21pm to 3:40pm PST. It sounded like around half a dozen as I heard 4-5 distinct calls.
Gina in the UK

June 22, 2009

Got to finally catch up with J pod off Lime Kiln on Monday evening. They started coming by around 17:15 or so. I believe we got to see them all. They were fairly vocal as they swam by, Bob Otis had his radio out there with the hydrophones so we could hear them calling. Was a very windy time out there and the only boats were a couple watches out of Canada. The boats were so far out there, as the pod was very spread out. Take care!
Vickie Doyle, Kent, WA
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Steve Hetler called in a real-time report at 9:30Pm, of at least four orcas moving east, upriver about a quarter mile from the jetty at the mouth of the Siuslaw River in OR. He said there are many seals in the river.
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Center for Whale Research received a report from Soundwatch of 40 plus whales traveling south from East Point on Saturna Island, B.C. at 12:25 p.m. At 2:00 p.m. Center staff Erin Heydenreich, Emma Foster and Basil Von Ah encountered J's and K's in mixed tight groups traveling at a fast pace southwest through Boundary Pass (48° 43.930 N; 123° 09.584 W). The whales continued to travel past Turn Point and spread out across Haro Strait (48° 36.568 N; 123° 14.784W). All members of J and K pod were confirmed present as well as the L2's and L87. The rest of L pod reportedly went west in the Strait of Juan de Fuca earlier that morning.
Center for Whale Research
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We spotted some whales travelling along the shores of Point Roberts, as they occasionally do when in the area. Initially, just a few whales were seen, then offshore, we started to see more fins. The whales were spread out over an area that was several square miles. They were travelling alone, or in very small groups, slowly drifiting with the tide, with no obvious direction of travel, and often doing long dives. We were fortunate to observe K26 (Lobo) spending some quality time with younger brother K42, even doing some side-by-side foraging. Further out in the Strait, we encountered J1 and J2. At one point, J1 lunged, presumably after a fish, and following that, J2 (Granny) breached twice - one a forward arch, and then one standard up in the air breach. Our passengers were so impressed when they heard that she may be approaching 100 years of age and still had that kind of energy and flexibility. Surprisingly, vocals were very sparse, and with almost no boat traffic, we would have been able to hear them for miles.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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Jeff Hogan reported Js, Ks & some L's (at least L2 & L87) off the west side of San Juan Island.
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2 days in a row of all three pods of Southern Residents! At 1500, we observed the whales making the turn around Turn Island, and they really started pouring on the speed as they headed down Haro Strait. First came members of J Pod. We observed J1 Ruffles, J2 Granny, J30 Riptide as they porpoised past the boat. Then came a mixture of J's & Ls. I heard that there were members of K Pod as well, but I didn't observe any from our location. As they are known to do, as the whales made their way south, they began to spread out in smaller matriline groups. At 1600, the whales were approaching Kellett Bluff.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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All of J-Pod with some L's and K's porpoising, power swimming, against the strong flood tide, from Saturna Island southwest across Boundary Pass toward Stuart Island, from 2:20pm to 3:25pm. They were traveling quite fast, in tight knit family groups. As we watched the first group approach Turn Point and the tide rips, one whale spy hopped, then 2 in unison, then the breaches started. There were 4 to 5 orcas in each group, 8 groups total, in that time period, heading around the point into Haro Strait. In every group, whales spy hopped, breached, lunged, cartwheeled, back flipped, pectoral slapped, or tail lobbed as they closed in on Stuart Island! Words can't describe the fantastic, countless breaches, percussive and surface behaviors!! Even J-1 Ruffles joined the party and breached!
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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At 17:58 I can hear whales at Orca Sound hydrophone.
Celia Barroso
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They're there again (orcas on OrcaSound) right now - 5:08pm!
Ruby Keefe, Culver City, CA
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Heard some GREAT orca calls on the OrcaSound hydrophones beginning at about 4:30 pm, then at 5:43 pm on the Lime Kiln Hydrophone, so they must have been heading south along the west side of San Juan Island.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Hearing our friends at 12:17am on the orcasound hydrophone!
Ruby Keefe, Culver City, CA
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Sounds like party time for the 'Superpod boys and girls' right now at 12 .15am on the Orcasound hydrophones.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Victoria B.C.
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The return from Northern waters started at 9:07 AM off the Tsawassen Coal Dock with some great breaching and ended at 10:24 with the last ones passing the Lighthouse Marine Park.
Peter Hamilton, LifeForce, Pt. Roberts
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Orca Network received a call from Bonnie McKee reporting a pod of orcas in Admiralty Inlet, off Bush Pt. at 1:40 pm. She had observed at least 2 females so far, they appeared to be heading north. We headed down to Bush Pt, arriving at 2:25 pm - by then they had crossed the Inlet, & were swimming north against the tide. Looked like 6-7 total, but no ID's as they were on the other side; possible Transients?
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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I'm hoping for some clarification on which whales I saw today from the beach at Libby Road around 9.45 am. I did not have binoculars with me, but our walking group observed a couple of boats idling followed by spouts from two whales. I watched for an hour as we walked to Hastie, and these whales were making steady progress towards Anacortes. At times there only seemed to be one, and more than once I saw a dark shape and a 'fountain' like blow
Sandra Pollard, Freeland, Whidbey Island
This sounds like the 2 Grays that have been off NW Whidbey lately

June 21, 2009

Gayle Dinsmore called Orca Network to report 3 orcas (1 male, 2 females) heading north 70 miles south of Monterey, CA a few hundred yards offshore.
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Saw two babies, one breaching, tail slapping, and lots of dorsal fins of that J pod and part of L pod just after noon, while two spyhopping directly in front of us standing at lime kiln state park as though to state we're back and notice you all standing by awaiting-thanks!
Brian, a hooked whale watcher
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The rest of L and K pods arrived at Active Pass at 2:30 PM still heading south to meet up with Js, L12s and the two Ks. J pod was up at the Fraser River and from 8:30 PM to 9:05 they slowly travelled by Point Roberts with some foraging. Once all the socializing declined all three pods were heading back North towards Point Roberts. From 8:58 to 9:20 some of the orcas were seen off Point Roberts.
Peter Hamilton, LifeForce, Pt. Roberts
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The orcas were in or very close to Mutiny Bay, Whidbey Island at around 3pm. I believe there were at least 7 or 8 of them. There was one "baby" that looked very new. A couple of them have some pretty distinctive notches in their dorsal fins so maybe that could help to identify them. I was comparing my pictures to the dorsal fins on Transient KWs of BC & SE Alaska and I think the one with the two notches in its fin might be TO36C.
Lindsey McCune
I had a look at Lindsey McCune's photos of the transients (off Whidbey Island) and she definitely had the T36's. Simon Pidcock, Ocean Ecoventures
Jared Towers of Canada's Cetacean Research Program, Pacific Biological Field Station has further ID's on the Transient orcas photographed off S. Whidbey Island June 21st: The animals I can confirm are as follows. T036, T036B, T036C, T099, and T099B. T099A is likely there as well but can't confirm it at low resolution. Jared Towers, Cetacean Research Program, Pacific Biological Station

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After watching several whales pass by the Center and receiving various reports of more whales up north, Ken Balcomb, Howard Garrett, Erin Heydenreich, Emma Foster and Basil Von Ah of the Center for Whale Research, departed onboard both Orca and Starlet. At approximately 4:10 p.m. both vessels encountered J, K, and L pods travelling in tight groups up Boundary Pass (48° 44.495 N; 123° 07.195 W) . It appears that all members of the three pods were present, totaling 86 whales. The encounter ended at 6:30 p.m. The whales were traveling tight in two groups and continued north up Boundary Pass (48° 44.877 N; 123° 05.293 W).
Center for Whale Research
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We saw an incredible display by J Pod at 1:45 to 2:15pm. We first spotted the dorsals just North of American Camp on the West side of San Juan. The pod was moving north, in small group of 3 or 4 spread out along maybe a 1/4 quarter mile. Whales were close to shore, sometime within 10 feet just south of False Bay. The males and some younger whales really put on the show with dual spy hops, cartwheels, full breaches by the younger whales and lots of tail slapping. Mike, Alki and Blackberry were identified by the naturalist on aboard. Very interesting was the identification of a male, Mega, from L Pod and the naturalist thought there may have been some mating outside of False Bay. First hand viewing seemed to confirm this may have been the case. J Pod continued North toward Lime Kiln when we left and turned South.
Jennifer Parker, Seattle
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We spent our afternoon on the northwest corner of San Juan Island in Speiden Channel with Southern Resident Orcas from J & L pods! J pod was just passing Henry Island and playing in a rip or current where presumbably they were fishing. They were very active - changing direction, tail slapping, and even some logging at the surface by 1 or 2 whales. They continued north forming tight groups and picked up speed with a few Orcas porpoising out of the water with force. Then slowing again - more activity - even a few breaches! The L12 subgroup was not far behind also traveling north.
Jaclyn, naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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At least 5, as many as 8 or 10 orcas were observed off of Pipers Lagoon Park in Nanaimo. (124 56 42 W, 49 13 40 N). One very large whale (~4 to 5 ft. dorsal fin), 2 small babies, 2 or more juveniles, traveling northwest, 2 pm.
Adam Compton
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There were at least 20 Orca Whales spotted on the west side of Lopez Island between 11:00 to 1:00.
Theresa Borrodell
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Three minke whales viewed in very close proximity feeding in Salmon Bank around 3pm. All whales seen no further than 200 feet from the boat. Whales viewed for 5 minutes before heading to Anacortes.
Jennifer Parker, Seattle
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Howard Garrett, calling from the Center for Whale Research on west San Juan Island reported the L12s heading north off Eagle Pt. and J pod off Iceberg Pt. heading south at 10:30 am. Orcas also reported off Salmon Bank at 10:55. At 1:10 pm, J pod & the L12s were passing the Center heading north. At 2:30 pm the Center received reports that the orcas up north were now in Active Pass, heading south, so it looks like a Superpod is in the making! Update: Howard joined Ken Balcomb and the Center for Whale Research staff in heading up to see the superpod - they encountered them at approx. 4:10 pm off the NW tip of Stuart Island, and left them at about 6:25 pm south of Saturna Island, as all three pods headed north toward Boundary Pass. Ken Balcomb reported that they had looked through all their photos & film from the superpod encounter, and all known whales in the Southern Resident Orca community were present and accounted for - great news for Orca Month!!
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We heard J-Pod was slowly working their way north near Kellett Bluff. Soon (1330) we were watching J-Pod actively working the tide rips in search of salmon near Kellett Bluff. Lots of direction changes as the whales did their thing, sometimes maintaining their position by swimming into the current. We saw several spyhops, tail slaps, and I was especially excited to see my "buddy" J1 Ruffles. We also saw J30 Riptide, and one of the new moms (her saddle was hidden by the waves in the riptide). But the day suddenly got even better. We had heard reports of a group of unidentified whales passing Campbell River last night around 1800. We got a report from a friend that a large group of "maybe Transients" had just made it through Active Pass. Soon (1430) we were off of Prevost Island and saw fins. LOTS OF FINS. Before we knew it, whales started breaching everywhere! Not acting like Transients, we soon thought--Residents?? And that's when we began to make some IDs, L78 (Gaia), L72 (Racer), L7 (Canuck), K26 (Lobo), K16 (Opus), K21 (Cappucino), and K40 (Raggedy). We left the whales heading South in Swanson Channel near Thieves Bay at 1500.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Explorer, Friday Harbor
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Very loud calls on Orca Sound hydrophones. Sounds like Jpod. There are clicks also. Time is 1326.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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1430: J pod widely spread out and moving north. Nice vocals (calls and clicks) on the OrcaSound hydrophone.
Val Veirs, San Juan Island
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Well over a dozen orcas headed west from Aleck Bay toward Iceberg Point at about 10:30 this morning. Their travel pace was pretty relaxed but they made sure to give a show on the way: a couple nice breaches, some tail slaps and several spy hops.
Tom Reeve, Lopez Island
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Just reporting a sighting of a pod of Orcas right off Mutiny Bay on Whidbey Island. It was about 3pm . They were heading towards Seattle initially but then turned around and appeared to be circling in the shipping channel. We aren't familiar with the various pods but this one seemed to include at least 7 whales, including one baby and another younger (1 year old?) one. They were traveling then would stop, play and go in various directions. They seemed to be feeding on something-we saw lots of fish on our fish finder and some [porpoise] in the distance but couldn't really see what they were eating.
Caron McCune
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Jeff Dodd of Langley called this afternoon to report a sighting of 4 orcas from the Port Townsend/Keystone ferry at 1 pm. It appeared to be 4 females, milling off Pt. Hudson, between Pt Hudson & Pt. Wilson. They were about 1/4 mile from a large bait ball and some seals - not sure, but a guess would be these are Transients, likely the group reported last night off west Whidbey.
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Got a chance to take my little girl out to see the gray whales for the first time in her life. They are still around the northern section of West Beach RD heading south. I realize you already received a great picture from a spotter but I was able to catch both the bigger whale and the calf coming up to spout in unison. Unfortunately I was on the shore and they were 100 yards or so out.
William Ingram
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We watched 2 gray whales for half an hour around 3:30 pm at the pull-out south of Swan lake on West beach road on Whidbey Island. They were swimming side by side, hanging out in the same area close to shore and then slowly moved South and away from shore some more. We never saw their flukes.
Liz Brown

June 20, 2009

Off Carmanah Pt. (west coast of Vancouver Island) About 6-8 [orcas] (some juvenile) travelling east.
Stan Shepherd
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The day started off with a sighting of a Gray whale off Point Roberts Marina at 7 AM. At 4:55 PM the orcas were off Point Roberts heading north to their historic fishing grounds off the arms of the Fraser River.
Peter Hamilton, LifeForce, Pt. Roberts
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At Turn Point the Prince of Whales zodiac met up with members of J Pod around 1pm. The whales were so active with numerous breaches etc. They were slowly heading toward the Strait of Georgia. Several family groups were swimming together, however I never saw the tiny ones, J44 and J45. They must have been tucked in tight close to mom. I had never seen Ruffles, J1 breach before. His huge pectoral fins were impressive.
Marie, Orca-Magic, Prince of Whales
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We received another report, from Fran Mandich of Bush Pt - they saw an active pod of 4 or 5 orcas off Bush Pt. heading south quickly at 8:20 pm.
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T49A, T49A1 and T49A2 were skulking around between Race Rocks and Pedder Bay for most of the day.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria BC
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We had T2's, T14 and T20 and 21 pass by Campbell River BC this morning, last seen south bound at Bates Beach, Comox.
Matthew Ellis, Eagle Eye Adventures, Campbell River
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Js and K20/38, going N at Coal Docks, 6:30 PM.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island
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J Pod traveled north up San Juan Island, past Turn Pt. continuing to head north. Ruffles J-1 and Granny J-2 were in the lead and they had company - Spock K-20 and Comet K-38! We saw LOTS of orca. These were all in the vicinity of Stuart Island, between 1:45 and 2:15 pm. Photos submitted included shots of the J14s & J16s, confirmed by Dave Ellifrit of the Ctr. for Whale Research.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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On the afternoon trip again, J Pod plus K20 & K38 were observed crossing the Strait of Georgia from the East Point of Saturna Island to the Point Roberts/Tsawwassen area. It was one breach after another as the whales made the crossing, with some individuals repeating the behaviour up to 5 times in a row. One whale managed to get his entire body clear of the water by flicking his tail flukes to the side at the height of his breach!
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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On the 1630 Keystone to Port Townsend ferry, a minke whale was observed by myself and the ferry captain around 1645. The whale was approximately 100 yards off the bow of the ferry. It was alone, heading west just north of Port Townsend Bay. I saw it surface three times.
Scott Hagerty, Port Townsend, WA
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Had some of your Southern Resident friends come through Discovery Passage headed home! They might be a little skinnier as they had to run the Discovery treadmill, bucking a 7 knot ebb tide and moving through the water at bursts of 14-15 knots! We left them still travelling at 2030 hours in 3 distinct groups. We are guestamating 24-26 animals total.
Nick Templeman, Discovery Marine Safaris, Campbell River
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15+ Orcas just reported (8:45 pm) heading south past Campbell River BC, stay tuned for id's. (maybe L's and K's?)
Matthew Ellis, Eagle Eye Adventures, Campbell River
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Orcas sighted off Whiskey Point, Quadra Island BC. between 20:10 and 20:40 (approximately: N 50 02' 10.4" / W 125 12' 55.3"). We believe 6 in one group and 9 in the second group, traveling south - toward Cape Mudge and the Strait of Georgia. They were simply swimming against the out tide. First group was reasonably close together. Second group would have been spread out almost in a line of about 200 meters. One very large male for sure in the second group.
Ken Robertson
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We have a small [orca] pod due west of Lagoon Point, Whidbey Island - seem to be milling around perhaps feeding approx 1 mile off shore, only see small dorsal fins. 6:50 PM Saturday.
Paul Kukuk, Whidbey Island
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Thanks to a call from a friend working at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, we were able to have a long distance sighting of [orcas] between 5:30 and 6:30. They traversed back and forth in front of the terminal a bit and then headed north. Very spread out. Some breaches. Spotted a couple of young ones.
Karoline Cullen (in Tsawwassen)
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Hearing [orca] clicks and faint calls on OrcaSound Hydrophones at 1148 am amogst vessel noise.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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1130 am - J-pod spread out moving slowly northward fairly close to shore, off OrcaSound hydrophone area, NW San Juan Island.
Val Veirs, San Juan Island
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I am writing to report possible vocalizations on the Lilm Kiln Hydrophones. 11:00 am.
Rolando Chavez
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Sandy Buckley of San Juan Island saw/heard lots of [orca] whales headed south close to shore off west San Juan Island around 5:30 am.

June 19, 2009

At the north end of Haro Strait. About 10 [orcas] travelling north.
Stan Shepherd
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T11 et al was headed east in the Straits off Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island.
Brad Hanson, NOAA Fisheries NWFSC, Seattle
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On our afternoon trip, J Pod was spread out along Sturgeon Back, Strait of Georgia, from the South Arm to the North Arm of the Fraser River. There was obviously alot of foraging going on, but also a fair amount of socializing. We were priviliged to observe J27 (Blackberry) and little brother J39 (Mako) engaged in some playful behaviour. Photo of J39 doing a teasing spyhop. On the other boat, Sue (the Naturalist) reported J42 (Echo) and little J45 performing alternating spyhops, while the remainder of their matrilines milled nearby. It's fantastic to have J Pod back, foraging and socializing once again.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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We saw our first Orcas of the year today off Point Roberts between 8:30 and 9:00 pm. We were watching from the beach and spotted five whales with at least one large male in the group. They were moving quickly in the choppy seas with some breaching, tail slapping, and charging. As they passed the Point they headed South.
Dr. Sandra Scott, Point Roberts, Washington, Science & Environmental Education, University of British Columbia
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We got word from our friends, Jim and Brenda, that they had seen Orcas this morning at Turn Pt. So at 10 this morning we headed for Active Pass and got there in time to see them come out of the Pass headed East. As usual they were very active as they came out of the Pass. We left Js headed south this evening at 7:00 PM at Pt. Roberts.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island
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What with the wind, the waves, the flood tide and meeting up with the L12's once again. We saw a total of 8 whales on my first Zodiac trip at noon. Initially we found five off by themselves including three big boys and two females at Constance Bank, then later encountered Mega L41, and his sisters L77 and L94, closer to shore. The 3.30pm Ocean Magic encountered Mega, L41 and Alexis L12, heading out west, past Metchosin, Vancouver Island between 4-5pm. Other whales were seen in the distance but too far to ID.
Marie, Orca-Magic Prince Of Whales

June 18, 2009

Once at the naval air station, Whidbey Island we watched two Gray Whales feeding in 20'-40' of water. One was definitely a larger adult with the second one most likely being a juvenile. They would take several breaths and then dive for 2-3 minutes. They were moving in generally a southward direction. As we were leaving for our sunset trip we came upon a Minke Whale in the mouth of Friday Harbor. It slowly circled the boat in a feeding pattern. It was taking single breaths and then diving for approximately 2 minutes.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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Jim Maya of Maya's Westside Charters called to report J pod, the L12s and K20 & K38 looking happy in Race Passage at approx. 7:10 pm. They had been spotted earlier in the day off Jordon River, S. Vancouver Island, heading east.
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We saw members of J Pod, members of the L-12s subgroup, and we saw Spock K-20 and Comet K-38.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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I am writing to report that we saw 3 Orca's while running back from Heceta Banks towards Newport, OR at approximately 11 am. I did not record the lat and lon, but we were approximately 2 miles S x SW of the southern tip of Stonewall Banks. The Orca's were travelling nearly due South in tight formation with what appeared to be 2 adults and 1 juvenile or calf. I am not positive if there was a male as the fins on the adults appeared to be close to the same length. The water at that point was about 58 degree's and smooth.
Jason Bartosz, OR
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Mary Jo Adams reported seeing 2 gray whales again off Moran Beach, NW Whidbey Island early Thursday afternoon.
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We went to Whidbey Island to see not one, but two gray whales. We think one appeared to be a bit larger than the other. It was a great show. Gray whales are amazing animals.
Naturalist Jeannette, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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I spotted a Minke whale off the bow of our whale watching boat coming out of Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. The naturalist as well as the captain of the boat said they had never seen a Minke that close to the harbor before. We saw the whale surface the water about 3-4 times in about 5 minutes before it dove for a longer period of time.
Sarah Katz

June 17, 2009

We went to Whidbey Island to see not one, but two gray whales. We think one appeared to be a bit larger than the other.
Naturalist Jeannette, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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A group of 5 of the L-12, L-22's in a fairly close formation, slowly swimming from the Salmon Bank buoy northwest toward San Juan Island, from 12:55pm to 1:50pm. At first they seemed to be traveling in 2 groups, then all 5 came together, and appeared to be resting in the slack flood tide with little tidal exchange. I could ID L-12, L-89 (Solstice near the Solstice!), and not sure, but think the other male was L-85, along with 2 other females. The sun glinting off their backs and through the spray of their exhalations, the 2 males shoulder to shoulder coming up together, was beautiful, but made it difficult to ID.
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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Ken Balcomb encountered the L12's spread out a few miles off False Bay on the west side of San Juan Island at 10:45 a.m. The whales were very spread out and the conditions were poor. Only L89 and L94 were documented, but reports confirm that all of the L12's were in the area.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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We left the L12s, which I think is a new resident pod, off of False Bay, West Side, San Juan Island, today at 5:00 PM going East down island. Update: Orcas about 9 PM headed N past Hannah Hts, San Juan Island.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters
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I was out on a Zodiac today at 1pm and we caught up with the L12s at Cattle Point , San Juan Island. They were foraging with a few tail slaps and one mighty breach from Mega - too bad I missed it. Just looked the wrong way at that moment. Happened so fast and he never did it again. They were travelling slowly north close to shore.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic POW.
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We had the L-22s, L-22, L-89, L-79 and and additional whale L-77, I believe, off the westside of San Juan Island. Lots of back and forth activity, at one point L-22 was bracketed by both her much bigger sons.
Jeff Hogan, Killer Whale Tales
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Bob Morrow called with a report of at least two orcas headed north at 7 PM this evening, within a hundred yards of shore near Langlois OR, north of Cape Blanco, south of Bandon.
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Orca Network received a 2nd hand report of the gray whales off NW Whidbey in the afternoon.
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3 orcas straight out from south beach moving further out away from SJI west. They were little dots in my viewfinder w my 400mm lens on.
Michele
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Mary Jo Adams of Oak Harbor reported watching 2 Gray whales off NW Whidbey Island, offshore and just south of NAS Whidbey Island at 4:25 pm.

June 16, 2009

Attached (not pictured) is a close-up photo of one of the 2 [gray] whales we observed just off of the north end of West Beach Road (a mile south of the Navy Base) - 2 PM. The south end of Lopez Island is way off in the background. This one just about came under our boat, while we were drifting with the engine off! This whale is one of two now moving south, parallel to West Beach Road, just about where it intersects with Ft Nugent Road about 2:30 PM. Maybe the patches will help ID.
Rudy and Barbara Deck, Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island
Thanks to Rudy and Barbara's great photos, Cascadia Research was already able to ID the whale pictured above: Amber Klimek, our primary gray whale matcher, took a look at the whale in the photos Barbara Deck took on the 16th and found it in our catalogs this afternoon. It is CRC-396, first seen in 1999 in Disco Bay, Northern Puget Sound, and last seen in 2006 off British Columbia. In the years between, it's been spotted in the summer months hanging out near southwest Vancouver Island, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and off the Northern Washington Coast. Thanks for the great photos!
Jessie Huggins, Cascadia Research, Olympia

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Al Pizar called to report approx. 5 orcas 4-5 miles off Yachats OR at 2:50 PM, in water 32 fathoms deep, at 48.17.8N by 124.12.06W. There were 1 or 2 males and 2 or 3 females or juveniles, headed SW. His buddy saw them tear a seal lion in half. He says there are lots of resident gray whales there.
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In the morning Five Star Whale Watching's vessel Fastcat, discovered two large Humpback Whales near the Victoria Golf Buoy heading East. The two Humpbacks were being very lathargic when first sighted, doing 5-6 minute dives. However, as we continued to observe the two Humpback Whales they did begin to become more active and later in the morning a double breach was seen. The last reports of the Humpback Whales were that they were near Port Angeles.
Andrew Lees, Five Star Whale Watching
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The pair of humpback whales south of Victoria were BCY0160 and BCX1057. They were last seen north of Port Angeles. Both animals are regular visitors in our waters.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria B.C.
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Just as I informed my passengers that we no longer knew where the Humpbacks were came news of the L12s inbound. We were off and saw them both on our afternoon and evening trips. They were West of Victoria. The L12s right now are off False Bay, San Juan Island headed toward Eagle Pt. 8:45 PM
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Charters, San Juan Island
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Tom Trumper called to report seeing 4-6 orcas at 10 AM, about 4 miles out from Westport CA, near Ft. Bragg. No obvious males were in the group, which was headed generally north.
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I spotted the first minke I've seen in ages today. About 6pm one passed briefly off Flint Beach, South Lopez. It wasn't too far past the kelp line and I saw it going both eastbound and westbound in the three or four times I managed to spot it.
Tom Reeve, Lopez Island, WA
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Orca Network received a message from Sandy Buckley of San Juan Island that the L12's had been sighted 5 miles west of Race Rocks, heading in, at around 4 pm. We had another indirect report they were off Secretary Island, off Victoria around 6 pm.

June 15, 2009

At least two orcas seen near Neah Bay, approx. N 48deg 22', W 124deg 25' traveling north at approx. 9AM.
cuba 'ron' alsobrook
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The NOAA Ship Miller Freeman had about 8-10 killer whales, with no adult males, at the head of the Monterrey Canyon CA. I am still waiting for lat/longs from them. Unfortunately they did not get photos.
Candi Emmons, NOAA Fisheries, Seattle
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We were on our way to the Victoria area this afternoon to watch the 3 Transients that had shown up there, when something in the water caught the eye of Captain John. We were just south of Beaver Point on Saltspring Island when T20 and T21 surfaced. They were doing very long dives, 7-8 minutes at a time, and were likely resting. They still followed a zig-zagging pattern though, making it very difficult to predict where they would surface again. Given the long dives, it was pure chance that these whales were spotted at all. We left T20 and T21 after 4 PM, travelling in a mostly northerly direction towards Navy Channel.
Joan Lopez, Vancouver Whale Watch
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We had some Transients off Quadra Island BC today, found by "Neptune" (Simon). Identified as the T2's, possibly T90's and met up with T14.
Matthew Ellis, Eagle Eye Adventures
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We had a report of Transients at Constance Bank. Before long (about 3:30), we were in sight of the orcas. The whales would occasionally pop up higher than normal when they exited a wave, making for some exciting viewing. After only 15 minutes however, the whales went on a long dive and we couldn't spot them anymore.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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Two orca (female & calf?) - observed from W/B ferry; West side of N. Pender just N. of Otter Bay at approx. 1600 PDT; moving slowly N., surfacing briefly every minute or so.
Perry Edwards, Richmond, BC
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Around 4:00PM a minke whale surfaced in front of my house on Klapache Ave NE going East; resurfaced under the Cliff House restaurant going toward the barges anchorage area and then disappeared.
Hélène La Porte, Tacoma, WA
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Orca Network received a call from Thomas Murphy, reporting 2, possibly 3 Gray Whales off West Beach, NW Whidbey Island this morning at 11 am.

June 14, 2009

I just heard from my husband, Bill Bailey, captain of the Catalyst that they encountered this week, about 25 orcas, that appeared to be fish eating residents rather than transients. They were a mix of older whales and youngsters and there were fish jumping around. They were sighted south of Port Snettisham, near the Midway Islands in Stephen's Passage AK.
Shannon Bailey, Pacific Catalyst II, Inc., Friday Harbor, WA
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We saw 3 Orcas around 2:25 pm in Nehalem Bay, OR. We were around 250 yards from the Mouth of Nehalem Bay when they swam about 10 to 15 feet right past us. We later viewed them around 3pm for about 10 or 15 minutes & were literally with in touching distance of them as I think they were just playing with us. They certainly touched my sons & my life.
Rick Raivio, Vancouver, WA
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Capt. Steppe Willeford of the Saratoga Sue called to report a Gray whale 1 mile east of Gedney/Hat Island, between the island and the Everett Marina at 1315, at 48 00.3 N, 122 16.9 W. It surfaced twice then dove, heading south.

June 13, 2009

Carla Hedgepeth called to report seeing 4 orcas in Winchester Bay OR, near Coos Bay, and the Umpqua River, at 8 AM. There was one male, a female and two juveniles. They were headed north in 40' deep water, at 43.41.800N by 124.12.589W.
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Our evening tour spent time with a Humpback Whale. We think that it was the same animal from the day before, but this time it was in Griffin Bay at about 6:00 PM. It was feeding in the current of the flood tide that was rushing through Cattle Pass. We tracked the whale as it traveled out through the pass and then lost sight of it in the rough water. There were no views of the flukes, but the animal was very active swimming up and down the channel as well as from side-to- side.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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At 4:30pm we saw a humpback in Rolling Bay, Bainbridge Island. It was fairly close to shore heading north following the shoreline.
Doug Miller, Bainbridge Island
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Humpback whale was close to shore off Skiff Point at about 4pm, heading slowly into Rolling Bay and northward toward Fay Bainbridge State park.
Nancy Houghton, Rolling Bay, Bainbridge Island, WA
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Up at Patos Island off Alden Point there were over a hundred Harbor Porpoise. Grouping up and doing many full jumps & breaches. Quite a sight. While on the way home to Orcas on our big loop from our monthly Lighthouse tour we got lucky and saw a Humpback whale inside Griffin Bay heading out to Cattle Pass.
Denise, Orcas Island Eclipse Charters
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Humpback off quadra island BC today.
Aaron Webber, Campbell River Whale watching
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Transient orca T14 south end of Quadra Island BC. 3 other orcas bute inlet.
Aaron Webber, Campbell River Whale watching
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We went out for a gorgeous day cruise with friends this afternoon, and towards the end of the cruise we were treated to a lone gray whale sighting north of Hat Island around 3pm. It surfaced no more than 30 feet from the boat! We watched the whale for another 10 minutes as it headed west from us.
Laurie & Paul Harris, Edmonds, WA
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Rachael Paul called Orca Network to report a Gray whale and smaller whale or calf off NW Whidbey Island at 2:45 pm. She watched them from West Beach all the way from Hastie Lake Rd. to Joseph Whidbey State Park as they headed north.
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Orca Network received a call from Marion Fuller reporting a pod of orcas mid-channel off Kingston at about 10:35 am, heading south. They saw at least 2 adults and possibly a younger whale.

June 12, 2009

Neal Thomsen called today to report a sighting from 2 miles from shore at Casper, CA, just south of Ft. Bragg. He said at least 9 orcas were harassing at least one seal. The party boat captain saw breaches from a distance and went to investigate. Three large males went south, leaving two juveniles and four others bashing and flinging the seal before letting it get back to the rocks.
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Just to let you know that the L12's, K20 and K38 went west early in the morning. So the (orca) sightings in Puget Sound must have been transients. Mark Malleson found the L12's, K20 and K38 at aprox 11:30 am off Jordan River, B.C going west.
Simon Pidcock, Ocean Ecoventures
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There was a whale [no indication what kind of whale] spotted about 8:40 off Richmond Beach (south of Edmonds) on Friday, June 12. It was heading south.
Gail Dugan
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A report of a humpback whale sent us into the Strait of Juan de Fuca off of Pile Point from about 1:10pm to 2pm during slack ebb tide. We watched the whale surfacing, taking 4 to 5 breaths, then diving from 4-6 minutes. The juvenile, about 40'? in length, seemed to be zig zagging as it was slowly working it's way west-northwest, as it would surface offshore, then the next surfacing would be inshore, repeating this transecting pattern. Only saw the flukes once, it showed the arching of it's body- the humped back- on every last surfacing before it dove! On our way out in the Strait we saw 2 groups of 3 Dall's Porpoise.
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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Transient orcas T10, T10b, and T10c off quadra island, B.C. Canada @ 1100 heading north.
Aaron webber, Campbell River whale watching
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Orca Network received a call from Bill Watson, reporting orcas off Casper Headlands, 4 -5 miles south of Ft. Bragg, CA at 11:30 am. There were 3 - 4 females, & 1 juvenile. they were 300 yards from a sea lion colony, heading north.
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A humpback whale right on the shore at Lime Kiln Pt. State Park, spending the day traveling north.
Jeanne Hyde
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We watched a Humpback Whale off of the west side of San Juan Island today. It was just south of Hanbury Point slowly traveling west. It seemed to be a smaller animal and would take one or two breaths before going down for up to five minutes. There was only one deep dive that resulted in us being able to see the fluke. We were on site from 2:20 PM to 3:00 PM.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours

June 11, 2009

From the website: "Orcas in Neskowin OR:" The third photo shows five spouts as the orcas work in unison to capture a meal. I don't know if they were successful. But the sea lions were barking quite a bit. The fourth photo has an inset showing a close-up of the whale in the photo.
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We had an incredible experience today with the L12's and K20 and K38 off San Juan Island, offshore from Cattle Point!! Lots of playing, multiple breaches by K38, and lots of tail lobbing!
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Dave Anderson called to relay a report from Brett Ginther of Deception Pass Tours - Brett was almost certain he saw a Humpback Whale east of Deception Pass State Park just outside Deception Pass.
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We caught up with the L12 sub-group off of the south end of San Juan Island today. They were traveling mainly along the coastline, but at South Beach they took a right turn and moved offshore. L41 "Mega" was seen as well as L12 "Alexis" who was photographed by one of our guests. The group as a whole was very active with lots of seemingly playful behavior occuring, like multiple spyhops by one animal, repetitive tail lobbing by a juvenile and an adult that rolled over behind our boat and proceeded to beat the water with a pectoral flipper. The animals would bunch-up and then separate and were continuing to move further offshore when we departed the scene at 2:45 PM.
~Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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Mary Watson of San Juan Island called at 1:25 pm to report many orcas in Eagle Cove, SW San Juan Island, feeding near the beach.

June 10, 2009

Pod of killer whales off the Oregon coast. We first spotted them in Manzanita about 30 feet off the shore. They we're headed toward Short Sands.
Shon Boulden
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From 1:15pm to 2:05pm, we were delighted to watch L-41, L-77, K-20, and K-38, actively foraging off of False Bay. They headed west-northwest at first, then made directional changes and milling as the flood tide picked up. Lots of percussive behaviors- tail slaps, pectoral slaps, and breaches! L-41 was upside down, repeatedly slapping his curled tail flukes back on the surface! Nice to see the K's with the L's, and familiar behavior- hope they got some salmon.
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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Dave Ellifrit, Emma Foster, Erin Heydenreich, John Durban and Leigh Hickmott of the Center for Whale Research headed out after receiving a report of the L12's off Hein Bank from Jeanne Hyde at 6 a.m. At 9:48 a.m. L85 was spotted off Salmon Bank (48° 25.958 N; 123° 00.629 W) traveling slowly towards San Juan Island (48° 27.93 N; 123° 00.84 W). The whales were very spread out and apparently foraging. The whales present were: L12, L25, L41, L77, L94, L79, L85, L89, L22, K20, K38. All whales that were in the area were documented. This is the first sighting of any L pod whales since March, and the second CWR encounter with L's in Puget Sound this year.
Center for Whale Research
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Great day on the water with L12's and K20 and K38 off the bottom end of San Juan.
On my way home (from San Juan Isl) I came across the T10's and 2 other female transients cruising north along the west side of Halibut Island in Haro Strait. We left them just north of Mandarte Island still traveling north.
Simon Pidcock, Ocean Ecoventures, Cowichan Bay
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Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research had a brief encounter with Transient orcas T87, T88 and T97 off the Victoria waterfront. Also, we had a report yesterday from Mark Malleson about T10's off Mandarte Island and T21's down south, but neither report is confirmed at the moment.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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K38 was jumping a lot today. He seemed much happier to have other Orcas around. It's a boy! I'm so proud! (Big tears welling in eyes.) The photos I took today are the first of the underside of K38.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island
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The two K's and L12s started off at 5:12 am off west San Juan Island - headed north, turned, headed south---and have been doing the shuffle ALL DAY LONG, all day between South Beach and Landbank- I dont even think they have made it to Lime Kiln yet. Up down, up down -- CLASSIC.
Sandy Buckley, San Juan Island
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The 3.30pm Ocean Magic encountered some of L pod orca this afternoon off San Juan Island. We found 'Mega', L 41 and 'Alexis, L 12, foraging 1-2 miles offshore from other members of this family group. We watched for a while and then moved closer to shore where we watched L 77 'Matia' and two others that I weren't able to identify, as they were far off. They were all heading North. I did hear that K 20 and K38 had joined this group so perhaps those two seen very close to shore were the K's.
As if that wasn't magic enough (see above report), on the way back we sighted two more Orca off Seabird Lighthouse, Discovery Island, and they turned out to be T20 and T21. We only saw them once and then they disappeared.
Marie, O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic, Prince Of Whales, Victoria B.C.
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Southern Resident Killer Whales on the west side of San Juan Island. We identified members of L-pod. We first saw some members of L-pod just south of Lime Kiln State Park heading North. Just as we decided to make a trip around San Juan Island following the orcas, they changed their direction and began heading South. We quickly changed our direction and began heading south as well. We watched as the orcas traveled and even spy hopped.
Jeannette, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours

June 9, 2009

I was forwarded an e-mail and photos from Julia regarding a group of killer whales. She got some pretty good photos so hopefully someone can identify who this group of (transient?) killer whales is. Dawn Noren, NOAA Fisheries
Forwarded report: My name is Julia and I am working with pinnipeds at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, OR. On Tuesday I saw a group of at least 8 orcas off the central Oregon coast traveling southwards, between 5:40 pm and around 9:00 pm. The group consisted of two big males (one of them has a very remarkable dorsal fin - looks like cut at the tip), several adult females and probably one calf. The first sighting was at 5:41 pm pretty close to the shore in Depoe Bay. They spent about 20 minutes in the bay before slowly traveling south. A sea lion was present but the orcas seemed not to be interested at all. I followed them and saw them again off Rocky Creek State Park, Otter Crest and Cape Foulweather. Off Rocky Creek they were playing (or hunting?) and breaching. One of the big males separated from the group (maybe with one or more group members) and continued traveling south. From time to time they swam farther off shore and were hard to see. I ended up watching at Moolack Beach where the they were pretty close to the beach again. They showed almost the same behavior as off Rocky Creek for at least an hour. Around sunset they swam farther off shore again and I lost sight.
Julia, Newport, OR
We forwarded these photos to orca researchers and received the following replies: "I can ID T125 and T127 from the attached photos. It would be likely that both T125A and T128 would be present as well. These animals are usually seen near Langara Island so it's nice to have an encounter of them so far to the south. Jared Towers, Canada's DFO Pacific Biological Field Station, B.C. And from Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research: "Looks like T125 and T127 plus others."
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K20 and K38 were spotted off the west side of San Juan Island around 10:30 a.m. Center staff Erin Heydenreich and Emma Foster responded to the sighting and encountered the duo off Battleship Rock (48° 36.980N; 123° 12.211W) at noon. The mother calf pair were traveling slow and tight heading north. The encounter ended at 12:48 pm at Turn Point with the whales continuing north toward Boundary Pass (48° 41.261 N; 123° 14.720 W).
Center for Whale Research
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The "fearsome twosome", "the dynamic duo", K20 and K38, continue to roam these parts, ending up tonight heading south just outside of the east entrance of Active Pass at 6:15.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island
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Linda Taylor from the Depoe Bay Whale Center called to relay a report of 8-9 orcas, including 2 males, off Depoe Bay, OR. By the time Linda got out to see them they had headed west, out to sea.
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Jeff Hogan called to relay reports of orcas off west San Juan Island at 10 am, no ID on who it was at the time. (we believe this was likely K20 & K38, due to other reports)
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Orca Network received a call from Pt. Arena, CA Lighthouse docent Brian Riehl (also a Pt. Arena city councilman), with a report of a pod of at least 5 orcas (he saw 4 or 5 surface at once for sure), including a small calf but no adult males present, about 1.5 - 2 miles off the Pt. Arena Lighthouse. He first saw a breach at 1 pm, then only a spout & nothing more. Then at ~1:45 pm he saw the group of 5, watched them milling & possibly feeding for about 10 minutes, then they just seemed to disappear, so he couldn't tell which direction they came from or left toward. He said they have had a sea lion colony there for the past week - in an area where they hadn't had sea lions for years, & this morning there were 2 dead sea lions on the beach, but they didn't have bites or teeth rake marks on them.

June 8, 2009

Gray whale west of the Sekiu River were here last evening, out a bit farther, and not enough remaining light for a photo.
Martha Ellul
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Orcas off the central oregon coast - around 7:30 p.m. my boyfriend and I were sitting in our hot tub over looking Otter Rock watching a grey whale and some sea lions close to the beach when further off shore, just west of Bird Rock we spotted fins and ran to get the binoculars. I was certain they were Orcas because the fins were just too large to be porpoises. We figured we would watch them as they continued to travel north and that would be it -- but the excitement was just beginning. Three adults and one baby Orca came right into shore so we jumped out of the hot tub and drove down the street to the point over looking Devils punchbowl to get a closer look. They were so close we did not need our binoculars. They were breaching over and over again! We were the only people out there on the head land to see this until we phoned one neighbor, then the word got out and within 10 minutes half the neighborhood showed up! A group of three sea lions began swimming south from the marine gardens and were headed straight toward the Orcas! When the sea lions discovered the trouble they were in all three jumped out the water and dove toward the rocks. We couldn't figure out if all this breaching, rolling and tail slapping was some kind of ritual, play, mating or feeding?? Still unsure if they had a sea lion under water that they were feeding on or if the sea lions got away? The pod finally said goodbye and continued on their journey North about 8:30 p.m.
Dan and Heather, Whale watchers, Otter Rock Oregon
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Early in the day we had reports of K20 & K38 inbound. We saw the whales several miles east of Dungeness at 1330. The mother/calf pair were moving at a fairly good clip, with K38 sometimes ahead of mom, sometimes behind. Both appeared to be in good health and moving well. While we have seen matrilines sometimes "do their own thing", this is the first time I've seen a mother/calf separate from the other 4 members of her matriline (especially this pair). We last saw Spock & Comet heading east at 1420.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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K20 Spock and her calf K38 Comet were just off the Dungeness Spit. It was a little eerie seeing them out there all alone.
Heather Harris, San Juan Excursions
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I heard that the lonesome twosome (K20 & K38) were at Partridge Pt. headed SE at about 5:30 this evening.
Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island
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Orcas by Ebey's Landing (W-Central Whidbey Island) at 4:30 pm - might be more whale watch boats (4) than orcas, hard to tell, slowly moving south.
Al Lunemann, Coupeville
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Today we made the long trip across the Strait of Juan de Fuca (it was calm and beautiful!), to see K-20 and K-38 off of Ediz Hook from about 2:15 to 2:30pm. They were traveling southeast with the flooding tide at a fair pace. In my 12 years of observing the SRKW community, I have not seen just 2 whales without the rest of their family, pod, or other community members reportedly in the general area!?
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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1900-2030 pst. Pod of 4 orca. One large dorsal, 3 smaller. Viewed from Devils Punchbowl State Park, Otter Rock, OR. 10 miles north of Newport, OR. Full breaches, tail slapping, for about 30 minutes. Moved north towards Cape Foulweather and Depoe Bay. Probably feeding on Otter Rock resident harbor seals. Very few gray calves have been spotted yet. The grays usually begin to be abundant around June/July close to the Otter Rock shoreline. We usually see one or two lone transients here. Having this pod display, and so close to shore, is a rare treat.
Larry Shmagin

June 7, 2009

4 - 6 slow moving orcas sighted at 10:05 am, West seattle Seola Beach (47 degrees 29.585 minutes; 122 degrees 22.639 minutes).
Heidi Steele, Seattle
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I left K20 and K38 2.5 miles S. of False Bay headed in a Southerly direction at 6:30 this evening.
Capt. Jim Maya,
Maya's Westside Charters,
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Jeff Hogan called to relay he had heard reports of K20 & K38 in the San Juan Island area again, still with no other orcas present.

June 6, 2009

My husband & I saw a gray off the beach trail (Joseph Whidbey State Park, NW Whidbey Isl) at 6:30 PM. It was good size & was heading south.
Shirley Taft, Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island
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We were fishing out of Neah Bay, first sighting was Humpbacks 11 miles out near J bouy. This is the east end of Swiftsure bank, there were 4 together and we saw them in a feeding pattern for many hours. One very large one did a full straight up breach and rose to about the rear hump, maybe 75 yards from us - very impressive! We thought that sharing the water with the humpbacks had made for an epic day and on our return about two miles west of Tatoosh Island a pod of orcas came in sight! Very actively feeding while we paralled them for a good period and made note the largest male had a dorsal that was turned over in a very tight curl at the top (right to left curled). I guess there were six or seven in the group with one small one probably half the size of the rest.
Greg, Mike, Shannon and Brett (the reporting group!)
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Joe Alicea of Oak Harbor called to report a Gray whale off Joseph Whidbey State Park at 12:16 pm . It was a couple hundred yards out, right off the parking lot.
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Two members of K pod were encountered off East Point (Saturna Island), between 2-2.30pm by the Ocean Magic. It looked like K20 and her youngster K38. Conditions were excellent for spotting other orca but alas, none were seen. Where was the rest of this family group I wonder?
Marie, Orca-Magic, Prince Of Whales, Victoria B.C.
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You probably have gotten this by now, but six (likely Ks) Orcas were reprorted at the County Park yesterday morning about 9:00 AM. By the time we got on scene, 10:15, there were two. K20 and a calf, probably K38. They headed N toward Turn Pt. then up Boundry toward the Coal Docks. I last saw them at 3:30. The other four were never seen, as far as I know. In all my 20 yrs. watching Killer Whales, I've never seen just two SRKW's on their own for such a long time. Several years ago, I saw J1 nip at a female, and for the next few days she and her small line, three offspring as I remember, wandered the Islands by themselves for a week or so. Very interesting. Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island
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Jeff Hogan called to relay a possible report of several orcas off west San Juan Island today.
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A daily visitor (Gray whale), west of the Sekiu River-
Martha Ellul

June 5, 2009

The pictures of the gray whale west of the Sekiu River, just in front of our house.
Martha Ellul
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Saw what appeared to be the Grey whale(s) again off the Nor'Wester building and the west runway (NAS Whidbey, NW Whidbey Isl). Appeared to be about 150ish yards out and seemed to be staying in one place, coming closer to land then moving back out to the sound. Looked like two of them spouting for about a min. then they would dive for about 10 mins. Watched them for about 45 mins around 1630. Saw the same two boats as Chuck Niedzialkowski saw on June 4th and they were indeed close to the whales but had motors off. Perhaps the whales were swimming to them?
William Ingram, Oak Harbor

June 4, 2009

We were thrilled to see a pod of orcas as we approached the Strait of Juan de Fuca at 1441. We observed them for about an hour from a distance of 1/4 mile or so. Pictures are attached (see above). We were at 48° 03.3' and 124° 54.0' (west of Lake Ozette, ). It is estimated that there were 8 orcas, 3 of them adult males, traveling SE. There may well have been more than 8. As we sail to the Queen Charlotte Islands, along the west coast of Vancouver Island, and in September, back home to Oregon, we will send our observations of Orcas and other cetaceans.
Fraser Pierson & Jeff Hubbell, SV Storm Petrel
My best guess for the last photo (shown here) is L41 with L77. It would make the best sense since we had them on June 2nd headed that way.
Mark Malleson, Victoria B.C.

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I want to report that several orcas were spotted this morning before heading into the Anacortes ferry terminal (5-10 minutes out) in front of the 11:15 am ferry from FH to Anacortes. It was about 12:20 pm.
Shannon Bailey, Pacific Catalyst II, Inc.
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Just wanted to inform you of T14 (Pender) heading north mid Strait of Georgia between the Powell River ferry terminal and Savory Island in the afternoon.
Matthew Ellis, Eagle Eye Adventures
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Orca Network received a call from Tyler, a Canadian visiting the California Coast, reporting a sighting of at least 2 orcas off the north end of Garrapata Beach, near Big Sur, CA at 11:30 am. The orcas were about 1 mile offshore, they were first heading north, then turned south, then back north again.
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I was rowing around the south end of Rat Island (near Indian Island across from Port Townsend) about 100 yards past the turn inside the green buoy. At very low tide I know it's about 20 or 30 feet deep there since I can sometimes see the eel grass. Anyway my right blade hit something and immediately thereafter a Gray whale blew briefly right under my port rigger - and then dived, brushing the bottom of my boat with its back or tail. I'm pretty sure the whale was as surprised as I was. Did the whale see me? I think not. After our encounter this morning the whale took off toward the Navy dock, and then circled back to swim parallel to my path and blew a couple of more times. It never did breach and I never really saw its body but I would guess it was at least 25 feet long and made quite a wake just below the surface as it swam away from me.
Jim Buckley, Rat Island Rowing and Sculling Club
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Grey whales off the Nor'Wester building (NAS Whidbbey) again today. About 150 Yds off the shore. At least one good size Grey Whale that was actually rotating sideways such that we thought we were seeing an Orca fin at first! The Grey seems to be happily feeding.
Chuck Niedzialkowski

June 3, 2009

Spotted pod of orcas swimming along the shore of South Thormanby Island, in the evening between 7:30pm - 8:30pm . There were 6 orcas in the pod swimming right along the rocks and cliffsand 1 lone orca swimming approx 100meters off shore. They were travelling W along the shore heading towards Halfmoon Bay (BC Sunshine Coast - Lat: 49.28'00.21 N, Long:123.57'48.73W). They were hunting and feeding on seals. Saw at least 2 seals get munched. The lone orca swimming off shore. had the largest dorsal fin, likely a male.
Teresa
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We saw a minke again in Port Townsend Bay between town and marrowstone island, same area as last time.
wendy and daniel
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We have Grey whales, looks to be two again, feeding a hundred yards out in the water South of the runway near our building the "Nor'wester" at NAS Whidbey. They have been here off and on over really the last several months.
Chuck Niedzialkowski, Oak Harbor
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The MV Sea Lion headed out to Hein Bank today and caught up with a Minke Whale feeding there. Two other whale watch boats were in the area and they both had Minkes with them as well, for a total of three. We arrived at approximately 2:00 PM and stayed for a little more than half an hour. We saw the whale surface 10 or 12 times coming rostrum first out of the water. We could even discern the rostral grooves and got good looks at the pointed snout.
Tristen, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours

June 2, 2009

I saw 5 orcas at Yaquina Head in Newport Oregon at 7am . The latitude and longitude are: N 44.675672, W -124.082251. They appeared to be in transit, and I only saw them for about 5 minutes as they passed Colony Rock at Yaquina Head. They did not appear to be feeding. There was one male.
Amanda Gladics
We received the below ID's for these Transient orcas reported off Yaquinna Head, Newport OR on June 2nd: These animals(see above photo) look very much like the T124A matriline. T124A, T124A1, T124A2, and T124A3.
Jared Towers, DFO Pacific Biological Field Station, Canada

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We conducted one of our monthly outer coast surveys from Westport, WA. It was incredibly calm, both in terms of weather and whales. We saw two gray whales, two humpbacks, small numbers of Dall's and harbor porpoise, and one northern fur seal all day. One interesting note was a gray whale that we found in the midst of a high density of crab pots. We were worried when we saw the whale swimming right into a set of buoys at the surface, but then it did it again, and again - at one point the whale actually took a set of buoys down with it when it dove, only to release them 10 seconds later. We were preparing ourselves for an entanglement, but apparently it was well aware of what it was doing, rubbing itself along the lines.
Erin A. Falcone, Biologist, Cascadia Research
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We have just heard from our vessel that they have encountered members of L Pod (the L12's) near Albert Head, B.C. This is the first confirmed sighting of members of L Pod in the waters off Victoria this season and what a wonderful surprise!
Andrew Lees, Five Star Whale Watching
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At a little before 3:00 this afternoon, the L12s showed up a little to the east of Race Rock. Late in the evening, we left L89 and L22 way out west of Victoria this evening at 6:30. We were lucky enough to see these breaches.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters
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We followed Transients this morning .
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters
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We had the T-2s I believe today along with T-14 in the Campbell River area. Left on our tour at 1515 from C.R. with reports of orcas off of Fransisco Point, south end of Quadra Island. Went around and found 5 animals in post feeding activity. The young one was breaching alot, and amazing vocalization for about 40 minutes. Afterwards we headed to the mouth of Bute Inlet and found a black bear foraging along the shoreline. We found another black bear on Sonora Island on the way home, and some info on the way turned into finding "Pender" T-14 Southbound @ Cape Mudge (see photo above). A beautiful trip and happy guests with a 4hr safari turning into 6hrs!
Nick Templeman, Discovery Marine Safaris, Cambell River BC
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We have Orcas off the south end of Quadra island BC. @ 1425 . 4 or 6 orcas; Humpback in the area as well.
Aaron Webber, Campbell river whale watching
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Orca Network received a call from Jane at the Cape Mears Lighthouse, west of Tillamook OR reported 2 orcas west of the lighthouse, heading north at 3:23 pm.
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Linda Taylor from the Whale Center in Depoe Bay OR called to report 3 or 4 orcas about 1/2 mile outside Depoe Bay, heading north fast, at 8:45AM.
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We had some great looks at a Gray Whale today off of the beach near NAS Whidbey Island. It was foraging alone in approximately 25' of water and moving in no particular direction. I am guessing that this is the same animal that we have been seeing in the area for several days.
Tristen, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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Kraig Hansen of Snohomish County Parks said they are still having sightings of a Gray whale or two in the Everett area this week.
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Chuck Niedzialkowski called at 2:20 pm to report 2 Gray whales off NAS Whidbey - one larger, & one smaller, off the Norwester Bldg, just south of the airstrip. They were there yesterday, June 1 as well, and had been there in the same area since 10 am this morning, feeding about 150 yards out.

June 1, 2009

We saw one small gray whale, slowly traveling south off of NAS Whidbey Island, last Monday, from about 2 to 2:20pm.
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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One gray whale in Boundary Bay today. It was actively foraging the entire time we were there - about 45 minutes. When we began to leave, very slowly making our way out of the area, the whale suddenly appeared alongside the boat, and then one more time before turning back to its foraging area. On May 27, there were 5 grays in the bay - at least 3 of which had been there since mid-April. I think this whale is our final visitor for the season.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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Gray whale today at 2:20 pm near Whidbey Island Naval Base. These whales have a streamlined body with a narrow, tapered head. Gray whales are always great to watch, we observed the whale foraging. We even saw the whales fluke. Gray whales are bottom sediment feeders. The whale exhibited the predictable breathing pattern. Gray whales are a mysticete or baleen whale and have two blow holes. Sometimes you can see a heart or v-shaped spray.
Jeannette, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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What a magnificent start to Orca Month with over 20 Transient Orcas in the Strait of Juan De Fuca! During our afternoon tour we were incredibly fortunate to not only observe two Harbor Seal kills by the Transient Orcas but a greeting ceremony as two different groups met north of Port Angeles. We observed one dramatic kill in particular as a young Orca porpoised directly towards a harbor Seal and then exploded onto the poor unsuspecting Seal! Later as the two groups met we saw a number of tailslaps, Spyhops, pectoral waves and breaches, it was breathtaking to watch.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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The call came - 3 miles N of Dungeness Spit, which is near Sequim. One of the other captains announced that there was a seal to the port side of his boat. No sooner said, three female orcas headed toward the poor seal at top speed, porpoising through the water with blazing speed. The captain said he just saw the seal turn its head toward the onrushing Orcas about a second before he was gone. This all happened so quickly that I missed most of it with my camera but not the eyes. We left about 4:00 PM and shortly after that the last boat on scene departed and the Ts were not to be found again yesterday evening.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters
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8:30AM: Fred Rice, a visitor at the Klaloch Lodge in Klaloch WA, reported 2 orcas headed north and a pair of gray whales headed south, seen from shore at the lodge. One looked like a male.
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7:15AM: Ian Young, Captain of the Point Lobo for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Inst., reported 3 orcas, 2 adults and a calf, heading east to the beach where seals and sea lions are, at 36,48.00 N, 121,48.20 W

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