June 2011 Whale Sightings

June 30, 2011

We had a report from a fisherman at 9am [orcas] at St. Vincents Bight eastbound. I spoke with a fishing vessel at 1130am when I got to Kelsey bay and he said they were at St. Vincent. Around 10 am: 3+ Orca were spotted at St. Vincent's Bight close to Kelsey Bay, lower Johnstone Strait by the same unknown commercial vessel.
Jen, Campbell River Whale Watching
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I then came across a group of about 50 white sides (Dolphins - SM) very spread out foraging in Johnstone Strait mid passage across from Yorke Island by the time I left they were turned to the west following a sailboat.
Jen, Campbell River Whale Watching from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC
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Around 1 pm: 50 Pacific White Sided Dolphins were reported over the radio by an unknown commercial boat.
Jen, Campbell River Whale Watching from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC
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9:44 pm - listening to Southern Resident orca calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones while I do the whale report!
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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~9:10pm: Orcas on Lime Kiln hydrophones right now!
Vickie Doyle, Kent, WA
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8:47 pm: Orca calls on Lime Kiln.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Hearing just echolocations Lime Kiln 8:47 pm ...being sneaky whales again?
Suzy, Key Largo, Florida
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Riptide J30 doing a back dive in Rosario Strait around 3, he later did tail waves, pec slaps, a cartwheel and a belly flop, photo taken aboard the Odyssey. A female from J pod was swimming on her side today in Rosario Strait around 3, all of J pod was VERY active with atleast 5 cartwheels, 6 breaches, 2 spy hops, 2 lunges and countless tail waves, tail slaps, rolling, pec slaps and back dives!
Melisa Pinnow, San Juan Island
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Today we left the harbor and went up over Lopez and out into Rosario Strait. We were nearly to Anacortes, just outside of Burrows Bay, when we saw a massive dorsal fin slice through the water. There were a couple of smaller fins in the vicinity and as we drew closer there was a huge explosion of water as an orca breached clear and landed on its side. Another breach followed shortly after and we noticed that there were whales very close to the rock. They were moving fast, changing direction a lot and finally our suspicions were confirmed when one of the whales surfaced, on its back, with a salmon in its mouth. We were able to identify Blackberry of J pod and Onyx (L-87). The whales gradually moved around the corner, deeper into the bay. We followed L-87 all by himself to the south and then rounded the corner to meet up with the whales in the bay. There were spyhops and then more spyhops, a few breaches, and lots of tail slapping. One younger individual swam on its back and tail slapped for a good 5 minutes straight. We prepared to leave 3 or 4 times but couldn't tear ourselves away from the activity. It was the largest display of surface behavior I have seen all season.
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Bottom end of Rosario near Davidson rock. Mostly J's but we did see K20 in the mix as well. We had breaches and spyhops, it was a great show and we got to go back home through the bottom end of Orcas Island, which was gorgeous! Took us 7 hours round trip but we all enjoyed every minute of it.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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12:35pm: We have an orca parade, with tour boat escorts, headed west-to-east off of Flint Beach on the south end of Lopez Island.
Tom Reeve, Lopez Island, WA
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Between 7:30 and 8:00 AM we saw orcas from Land Bank's Westside Preserve on the west side of San Juan Island. There were easily 30+ whales, so presumably it was J-Pod with the few K and L Pod whales that have been traveling with them. The whales were in a large resting group that was impressive to watch even though they were well offshore in the middle of Haro Strait. They were facing north, but making little progress against the flood tide.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island, WA
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Noon: Thanks to the tip a few minutes ago, I'm hearing some faint Killer Whale calls at Neah Bay (on OrcaSound hydrophones).
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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6:58 am: Group of about 4 transients (with no large male dorsals) were observed inside the Neah Bay breakwater. No kills were observed and no auto-detections of killer whale sounds were recorded.
Jon Scordino, Biologist, Makah Tribe, Neah Bay, WA
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At 7:00am, there was a report of 4 killer whales inside the Neah Bay jetty! We were unable to get any pictures or resight them but hopefully they will stick around in the area.
Adrianne Akmajian, Marine Mammal Technician, Makah Fisheries Management
from Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research after seeing the photos: This looks like T36A, T36A1, T75B, and T75B1.
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Porpoise - photo taken this morning 11AM - standing on Point Wilson and looking toward Marrowstone - likely two or three of them cruising north.
William Wise

June 29, 2011

10am: Three, possibly four Orca spotted SW of Myrtle Rocks near Texada Is., BC heading south. Good show of flipper flapping and tail waggling.
Holly, Pebble Beach
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4 killer whales (probably transients) from Ozette area, N 48 09.85 W 124 45.23. They were just off the shore from Cape Alava, swimming very close into the beach and circled a couple times towards Ozette Island and towards Cannonball (and around our boat!). There were at least 19 harbor seals in the area, half hauled out and half in the water. We did not see any attacks or feeding activity but did catch a couple of good taillobs!
Adrianne Akmajian, Marine Mammal Technician
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Just heard a little squeak at Lime Kiln. 6:55 pm.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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Between 3:00 and 3:45pm just off Eagle Point, as the crew (J pod+?) headed up the SJI coast. Very close to shore between Eagle Cove and Eagle Point, west San Juan Island, WA.
Alex Shapiro, San Juan Island, WA
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Our adventures today started off a little cool, cloudy and choppy as we traveled south towards Cattle Pass. Around the bend, headed northwest into the Haro Strait, we began seeing intermittent identifiable black dorsal fins: looks like J-pod was in the neighborhood. The pod was spread out over a half mile with about ten individuals in pairs and singles. Some of the animals were even breaching! Another whale watching vessel identified one of the leaders as J2, "Granny," leading the whales south but potentially changing the pod's direction to go north again.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones, 11:36 am.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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We had the T-49's off of Sooke, BC on our return trip from San Juan Island today. They were headed East.
Russ Nicks

June 28, 2011

Way out at South Pender Island, we found J27 and J34, with J34 doing lots of tail lobbing. Closer to the shore we spotted J28 with J46, with several other whales, too far distant to make ID's. It appeared they were heading towards Active Pass. 'twas a beautiful calm day out there, the sun even came out for a while. Interestingly, although the tide was fairly low, we didn't see any harbor seals hauled out at any of the usual places, that's a first for me.
Jill Hein, Mystic Sea, Anacortes
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3 pm: It took the whale watching tours quite a while to find them, but they did. Around 15 Transient Orca that looked like they were in two distinct groups, one group of around 7 whales joined together by Sentry Shoal, mid Georgia Strait below Savary Island. They were on a kill when spotted. There were at least a couple of calves in the mix. The orca apparently didn't move much and were milling about with no direction he left them in between S. End of Hernando and Mitlenatch. Also, did you hear about the dolphins that were found stranded on the mud flats in Oyster Bay also rumouur has it that there were Orca South Bound in front of CR at about 6am?
Jen, Campbell River Whale Watching, sent by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC
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I was out there at the same time again today (3:30 p.m.) and the (Humpback) whale was also there, though kind of far out. Saw it surface perhaps three times. I have not had any whale spottings before yesterday, but am surprised by how I can hear the sound of the blowing, even though there is quite a lot of other sound from waves, and it is quite far away. several times I heard it but did not see the whale, it is a most distinctive sound.
Joy Jaber, Hansville, WA
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3:15 pm: 6 Pacific White Sided Dolphins by Willow Point close to Campbell River. report overheard on radio from Eagle 30
10:30 am: 2 Pacific White Sided Dolphins were Southbound by Brown's Bay, Discovery Passage.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys
7:15 am: Approximately 20 Pacific White Sided Dolphins were Northbound by How Island, Sutil Channel. Also while on his run, at around 8:15 am Jack saw a large, light coloured Wolf on the shore of Sonora Island, just behind Cinque Islands, Discovery Passage.
Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching
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8 am: report of 4 Pacific White Sided Dolphins stranded on the muddy shores of Oyster Bay, South of Campbell River.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys Stranded Pacific White Sided Dolphins, Oyster Bay, BC
Early this morning four Pacific White Sided Dolphins were very close in to shore by Oyster Bay, South of Campbell River, feeding on some small fish. When the tide went out, they became stranded on the muddy beaches. This is very unusual for these highly intelligent mammals to find themselves in this sort of predicament without good reason. Once the call went out, there were around 50 people that responded to help get these Dolphins back to deeper water. Putting them on tarps, one by one, they were carried across the mud flats and released into deeper water. They swam away apparently OK. There is talk that the possible reason for this Dolphin stranding is due to their being chased by Transient Orca. Over the past number of weeks, there have been marauding groups of Transient Orca in this area.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC
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We had another great day today with J's and K's in Swanson Channel, through Active Pass and into the Strait of Georgia. Active Pass lived up to it's name as the whales were breaching, tail slapping and pec slapping through it.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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The gigantic dorsal fins of Blackberry (J-27) and Double Stuf (J-34) sliced through the water as we rounded Mouat Point of North Pender Island. The two males appeared to be feeding when they would pause from their northward travel pattern to circle one another as they powerfully taillob the surface. Double Stuf, in his early stages of maturity at the age of 13, still bears a curved and skinnier dorsal from youth. A group of four orcas, which consisted of a very small individual, hugged the coastline as they surfaced in unison while heading towards Port Washington.
Kirsten, San Juan Safaris Whale Watching
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Orca Network received a cell phone report, received at 9:09 am: Lime Kiln light house. J Pod with 6 members K Pod. 33 total: 5 males, 18 females, 10 juveniles.
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8:54 am: Only one sneaky call @ lime kiln in the last 16 minutes.
Chrissy McLean, PTMSC, Pt. Townsend, WA
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It sure sounds like echolocation only just now at Lime Kiln 8:28 am, now just hear one faint call, sneaky?
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo, FL
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OrcaSound Neah Bay hydrophone reports: - 3:17 pm: I'm not sure, but I think I've been hearing extremely faint whistles at Neah Bay for the past 5 minutes or so.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
The auto-detector also picked them up (whistles on Neah Bay hydrophone). Sounds like they could be killer whales to me.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach, Seattle, WA
It sounded like killer whales to me. I am probably a little late on this. Possibly L pod.
Cathy Bacon
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We were on aerial surveys today and saw killer whales off of Point of the Arches. Pat Gearin was on the water and also saw killer whales off of Ozette Island heading north earlier in the day. Likely he saw the same whales we saw from the air. Pat reported seeing a group of 5-7. We will have to look at photos to determine which group these whales belong to.
Jonathan Scordino, Biologist, Makah Tribe, Neah Bay, WA

June 27, 2011

Around 9PM - off NW Maritime Center in Port Townsend Bay - three or four small dolphins or porpoise swimming slowly to the south into the bay - showing just the silhouette of the back and dorsal fin rolling on the surface on this calm blue gray evening
William H Wise
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12:45 pm Around 20 Pacific White Sided Dolphins by Eagle's Cove in Discovery Channel being playful and chasing herring which were seen leaping out of the water as the Dolphins fed on them. - Garry, Aboriginal Journeys
9 am: Broken radio transmission by Aaron, Campbell River Whale Watching of a pod of Pacific White Sided Dolphins close to Separation Head, by Seymour Narrows.
The dolphins have been hanging around at Grief Point since just before 9 o'clock. Apparently feeding but not moving anywhere. They reappeared here just after 4 but a much smaller group. They gamboled around out front here until around 4:30. Then they appeared to split and some headed south east towards Vananda and the others north towards the mill. (Powell River)
Heather D.
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Glassy calm seas north Haro Strait/Turn Pt.-Stuart Island; 10 am, aside from the usual, family constellations of J pod...A Date?..J27/Blackberry swimming alongside K20/Spock and her son K38/Comet
Deborah Martyn, naturalist, Orcas Eclipse Charters
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Around 3 pm a glimpse of Transient Orca blows mid-strait still very slowly headed towards Atrevida Reef, North of Powell River. I watched them till about 1:15 and they seemed to be headed north towards Atrevida Reef about mid channel. They continued to play every so often with 3 more breaches, lots of tail lobbing and a couple of nice spy hops. There were at least 6 Orca and possibly up to 8 of them with two males and at least one calf. Certainly there was one extremely large male whose tail, when he tail slapped, looked almost as large as a small Humpback's tail. There were breaches, head stands waving tails in the air, tail slaps, spy hops, etc. etc. Then they suddenly decided to give the ferry and boat traffic a great show. They stayed out in front of Powell River slowly working their way towards Harwood Island for a good couple to three hours while they socialized. 10:50 am: The call came in that there were at least three Orca around the Myrtle Rocks area South of Powell River heading Northward.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC, Powell River, BC
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Up around Saturna Island, we went into the Strait of Georgia where we finally found [orcas]. We spent much of our time going back and forth across the border as we observed J-pod and L87, a large male named "Onyx" with a solid white saddle patch on his right side and a black-indented saddle patch on his left side. The pod was fairly spread out, with a pair (female and calf?) towards the north and another pair southwest of us. While we were powered down, a pair of females/juveniles/both came by our stern within one hundred and fifty yards and passed under us, popping back up off our port bow! We only knew they had surfaced by the sound of their blows.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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OrcaSound hydrophone reports: ~8:30 am: Im hearing a few calls on Orcasound.
Tessa Watson
~7:15 am: J pod, such clear loud calls! background so quiet. Quiet for a few minutes, hearing faint calls again 7:26 am pdt. 7:27am: loud calls on OrcaSound. spread out moving northwardly? 7:36am, sounds like K pod now on OrcaSound 8:12 am, louder calls, echolocation and really big splashing sound on otherwise calm sounding waters - breach? cool.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Shoreline, WA
~7 am: Orcas are on Lime Kiln hydrophone now quite active, sounds like J's.
Gina West
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Saw the orcas pass the lighthouse heading north at 7:45 am and a sea otter came ashore onto the bank in front of us.
Frank-Vicky Giannangelo
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I saw a whale out there (Pt. No Point, N. Kitsap) today. I heard a loud sound from the water and saw the top fin, then the large tail. It was quite dark, almost like the porpoise, but with that huge pronounced tail, it definitely wasn't a porpoise. This was around 3:30 or 3:45 p.m. The whale was seen around it three or four more times. The first two sightings were around maybe 100 yards out? The second two or three probably double that distance, headed north, into deeper water. I lost sight of it after that.
Joy Jaber, Hansville/Pt. No Point, N. Kitsap Peninsula, WA
We've had multiple reports of this whale and are sure it's the same humpback that has been in the area between Pt. No Point and Kingston/Edmonds for several weeks now - ON
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Saw a whale just south of the northern tip of the Kitsap peninsula on the east side in Skunk Bay at 10:15 am. It was swimming in shallow water, probably less than 20 feet deep, north bound. Smallish dorsal fin, darker in color- more gray black and solid color. No pectoral fin shown. (after sending a photo of the humpback dorsal fin Chuck confirmed that was the type of whale he saw).
Chuck Strahm

June 26, 2011

Janice Ceridwen, Hansville, WA, called at 8:18 pm to say she and her husband were watching a humpback in Admiralty Inlet, closer to the Whidbey Island side, heading slowly south, splashing and fluking. They said the flukes had horizontal stripes along both flukes, near the trailing edge. Then she sent this report: The humpback followed a pretty similar pattern to last night except no breaches and not as much tail slapping. When I called you he was about half way between Double Bluff and Maxwelton closer to Whidbey, but still towards the middle. He seemed to be feeding as he was not swimming fast at this point. We saw a great part of his back and dorsal as he surfaced and he is BIG. As it grew dark it became difficult to spot him. He was staying down for some time, and he covers great distances in such a big inlet. Then, at once I noticed him only about 200 ft off shore of the Hansville Store, north of Point No Point. He had come across, just like last night. Finally, at 9:45 pm he seemed to dive deeper with flukes high, increased his speed and headed south. No photos, too dark. (But, my husband saw a pattern on the fluke early in the evening with the scope, which he related by phone to you.)
Janice Ceridwen, Hansville, WA
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Saw two dolphins in Henderson Bay about 400 yards off the mouth of Minter Creek, at 5:30 pm. I don't know what kind. They seemed to be a dark brown. They were heading leisurely to the south. They were swimming slowly and only a part of their back and dorsal fin came out of the water. My impression was they were dark brown, but they didn't come out of the water far enough to see any markings. Actually saw what I figured were the same two animals several days before heading north on Henderson Bay towards Wauna.
Kevin, Gig Harbor, WA
These could either be porpoise, or possibly the two Common Dolphins that were sighted in Puget Sound this past month - ON
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8:32pm: Orcas at Eagle Cove (west San Juan Island) now - feeding behavior. We enjoyed the company of the whales at Eagle Cove until dark, nearly 2 hours. Feeding behavior turned into playful behavior of a mama and her youngster practicing breaching over and over again! The youngster looked like a slippery little pickle squirting out of the water at first, then it caught air! Perfect little breaches...at least a dozen or more!
Lodie Laurieanne, Gilbert Budwill
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OrcaSound & Lime Kiln hydrophone reports:
6:08 pm: Lots of echolocation - hope they are catching lots of good salmon! Sure are doing alot of high pitch whistling.
Vickie Doyle, Kent, WA
5:56 pm:Listening now--some clicking noises, too. Almost sound like dolphins.
Susan Wells Fun calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone at 5:48 pm. Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
5:46 pm: calls on lime kiln!
Mandy Bailey Orca calls at OrcaSound hydrophones - 4:19 pm.
5:27 pm - orca calls at LimeKiln.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
Listening to fun orca calls on the OrcaSound hydrophone (NW San Juan Island, WA), 3:50 pm!
Susan Berta, Orca Network
I am hearing vocalizations on the Orcasound hydrophone right now, 3:43.
Melisa Pinnow
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We found a mix of J's and K's with L87 just north of East point in the Strait of Georgia. They were very active, lots of spyhops and breaches and we got to see J2 playing with her great granddaughter J37. The old girl still has lots of life in her! she was keeping up with J37 with breaches, tail slaps and lots more.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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As we reached the west side of San Juan Island north of Lime Kiln, we saw what we were looking for, killer whales! Lots of them! The pod was spread out so we didn't know which direction to look; whales were breaching to our right, some were lob tailing to our left. They were all being super playful, it was quite a view!
Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Near Monarch Head on Saturna Island, slowly heading towards Eastpoint we were lucky enough to find the lead whales further north than anyone thought, and it turned out to be the K13s! K25 and his large dorsal fin were easy to spot, and as we sat quietly with engines off, Scoter slowly moved through the glassy water about 200 yards away. Suddenly he made a quick turn and we knew what he'd found--FISH! There must have been more than one as we saw tons of bait fish boiling to the surface and could only surmise a small school of salmon were in the area too. And then K25 showed his prowess by literally exploding to the surface--flinging a HUGE salmon into the air! In 15 years of being on the water, this was only my 3rd or 4th time to see this, and my first to get a picture of it! Soon other whales were moving through the same area, looking for more fish. Lots of surface percussive behaviors, including spyhops, tail lobs, and as a pair of massive tankers passed by, several breaches and another rarely witnessed phenomenon---whales surfing the huge stern wake of the vessels!! It was all smiles as we headed back to the harbor, and it ranks as one of my best days of the year out on the boat.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Explorer
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Another beautiful evening with J pod last night, stunning sunset and only us on the water. Plenty of activity going on, lots of spyhops! J28 was particularly fun to watch :)
Mercedes Powell 4:30 pm: 8 of the two groups of Transient Orca including T137 were still headed North West tight along the Vancouver Island Shoreline by Elk Bay, just above Campbell River. Also, at 9:30 am a group of 6 Orca by Cape Mudge including one large male. IDs included T137 and T137A.
Garry,Aboriginal Journeys
11:30 am: a second group of around 6 Orca were by Copper Bluffs headed NorthWest.
Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching
9 am: Broken radio transmission of Orca spotted by the Light - Campbell River direction.
8:45 am Around 6 Orca were passing Pebble Beach, south of Powell River with lots of breaching, splashing, lying on their backs doing inverted tail slaps and generally socializing. Two large males and a couple of calves.
Bill T.
A pod of Orca was seen at Myrtle rocks a 8:30 am Sunday heading south. There was a mother and a baby and about three others. They gave a beautiful display of tail slapping and flipper flapping.
Bob
5 to 6 whales went by Grief Point around 7:30 this morning heading south at a leisurely pace. Lots of breaching and tail slapping by one larger individual.
Heather Dickson, Grief Point
Sighting at 730 at grief point- 5 orcas.
michael
Above Transient reports from: Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC
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Orca Network received a call from David Smith, a WA state fish-checker. He had reports from boats who had sighted orcas, about 10 miles north of LaPush: 1 big male orca almost jumped into their boat.
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Orca Network received a call from Tony McGinnis, reporting ~6 orcas in Malaspina Strait, BC, near Myrtle Pt. at 9 am this morning, heading east. The pod included some adult males and calves. At this time we aren't sure whether these were Transients or Residents - did anyone else see them or get photos?
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1:30 pm: There are (I think) J's going by now too. Could be the ones who never showed up this morning...headed north. (started hearing calls at Lime Kiln at 1:37 pm!)
Sandy Buckley, San Juan Island, WA
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J and K Pod already sighted this morning!!!
Ocean EcoVentures Whale Watching - Cowichan Bay
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We had an amazing pass of members of J Pod at the [Lime Kiln] lighthouse this morning, there may have been others too - slow rolling pass with lots of the whales in close to the shoreline. I'm guessing it was around 6:30? Beautiful~ flat water, great light - a perfect start to the day.
Sandy Buckley, San Juan Island, WA
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Scott Veirs of Beam Reach called at 1:27 pm from the Gato Verde, 5 kms SW of Smith Island, reporting they were seeing between four and a dozen Minkes today, spread out between Partridge Bank and Hein Bank, lunge-feeding on the many (~20) large herring balls in the area. Harbor seals were seen hanging around and feeding on the scraps left by the Minkes, as well as many birds. Wow - a Minke Superpod!

June 25, 2011

I viewed 2-4 Orcas off of Alldridge Point, East Sooke Park in Victoria. 1 male for sure. They were far off for me but I was able to look through binoculars. 1 whale watching boat had a look and carried on.
Tim
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Orca Network received a call from David Smith, a WA state fish-checker. He had reports from 3 different boats who had sighted orcas, about 10 miles north of LaPush: 1st boat: 2 adults & 1 calf. 2nd boat: 2 adults & 2 calves.
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I saw about 15 orcas today swimming south past Lime Kiln State park at 3:00 pm. I'm pretty sure it was J-pod. Lots of breaching, lobtailing, and surface activity. Three of the orcas came within 15 yards of the shore! An excellent day for whale watching!
Brittany Bowles, San Juan Island, WA
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones, 2:58 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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We headed north into Canadian waters where the orcas were last sighted, to the Strait of Georgia. It took us over an hour to get there, but at last, killer whales! There were many orcas, perhaps two pods, spread out over a large distance. We stayed to the outside of the group and observed a trio with an individual lob tailing and even saw a three spy hops! Our passengers then realized that there was another group of six or seven whales about 400 hundred yards off the other side of our boat.
Kirsten, naturalist for San Juan Safaris Whale Watching
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2.00 pm - An occasional breach, a cartwheel or two and some tail slaps from spread out members of J pod south of False Bay, San Juan Island. Tucker the scat dog, in his bright yellow life vest, was sniffing the air with interest and earning his keep.
Sandra Pollard, Freeland, Whidbey Island, WA
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Whales (So. Resident orcas) on the west side right now - 10:45 am!
John Boyd, San Juan Island, WA
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So. Resident orca (S4) calls on the Orcasound hydrophone. First clicks auto-detected at 0852. There were none at Lime Kiln since 6:30, so southbound again? Lots of back and forth between Lime Kiln and Orcasound last night, though, so maybe just spread out and doing west side shuffle.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound, Seattle, WA
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I'm hearing some echolocating on Lime Kiln. i heard just one small call as well. im not sure but it almost sounded like a Transient (from above reports, these were Southern Resident orcas - ON).
Rose Hite
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6:26 am, a few sudden calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones with ships noise and extensive clicks and buzzes (echolocations).
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo, FL
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There were calls last night on Lime Kiln at about 11 pm Pacific. sounded like J pod.
Morticia Sebastian Michaelis Hensley
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Intermittent So. Resident calls at 1:30 am on the OrcaSound hydrophone -
Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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Orca Network received a report of 4 Transient orcas throwing a seal around off Ilwaco, WA Saturday afternoon. The pod included 3 adults and 1 calf.
Reported by Emma Stoess of USCG Cape Disappointment.
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Transient Orca Reports throughout the day, from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC:
10 am: a crackling Whale report came in (via radio). 11:20 am: another report came in which was just as crackling with a location of possibly Whaletown, Cortez Island. Later, the BC Ferry Tacheck, reported seeing Orca just milling about for over an hour from 12 pm between Whaletown and Heriot Bay, Quadra Island. Once the tours managed to find these Orca at 3:35 pm by Francisco Point, Cape Mudge area of Quadra Island, they were provided with a spectacular show of breaching, tail slapping and general socializing of between 5 to 6 Transient Orca. They continued along the Quadra Shore up to Rebecca Spit (the Spit in the initial crackling radio transmission - SM) then back down towards Francisco Point. Aaron, of Campbell River Whale Watching called in the report and said that by the time they left, around 5 pm the tour must have seen around 20 or so breaches from these very active Orca.
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About 6:30pm a group of us were at the Point No Point lighthouse, where we saw the Victoria Clipper speeding down the sound. Then it halted off Point No Point where we saw a gray whale (we believe this was a humpback, reported by others & recently photographed in the area - ON) do several breaches as it headed north.
Michael Howell
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At 8:00 pm saw a huge splash way out in the distant shipping lanes right next to a sail boat under sail. (My location: between Point No Point and the Hansville Store.) Checked it out with the scope, it was actually much closer to Whidbey Island. It was a humpback doing alot of vigorous tail slapping. While I watched the sail boat kept its distance and sailed south. The humpback continued to tail slap and spout for at least 15 minutes. Then it was gone, so I haven't any idea which direction it headed. While I was reporting my humpback sighting this evening to you, he swam across the shipping lanes and is now a little closer to the west side of the inlet. Then he headed out to deeper water, breached a couple of times and headed south around 9:00 pm.
Janice Ceridwen, Hansville, WA
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6:22 pm: Two Humpback Whales and possibly a third were spotted again close in front of the Rona store by Campbell River. These whales looked similar to the Humpbacks seen over the past while. They are possibly a mother and calf with the third one which would be an escort, usually a larger male protecting his future mate. These Whales were first reported over the radio around 11:30 am from an unknown source. Two tours were with them later in the day: Tenacious 3 from Discovery Marine Safaris and
Aaron, Campbell River Whale Watching.
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Calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones right now (12:06 am). They were being very loud just a few moments ago.
Morticia Sebastian Michaelis Hensley
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Clicks and So. Resident orca calls now (12:15 am) on Lime Kiln hydrophones. Began with percussives. Calls were louder during first 10 minutes after midnight.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach, Seattle, WA

June 24, 2011

9:37am: Board Chair Mike Dougherty just reported a lone killer whale that came no less than 10m from the dock in Rolfe Cove on Matia Island. It was so quiet they could hear it vocalizing underwater!
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach
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~11am, we saw 8 Orca heading west at a steady pace between Protection Island and Diamond Point. The group included one Male and one small calf.
Sue Thomas, Wildlife Biologist, Washington Maritime NWRC
We are pretty sure this is the same pod photographed off Sequim by Jay Cline that was in the Sequim Gazette. Dave Ellifrit of the
Center for Whale Research believes the male orca is Transient orca T75A.

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Possible Entangled Humpback in Puget Sound - We have had no further word or sightings of this whale - if you see it, call Cascadia Research at 1-800-747-7329 immediately. Boaters, please keep your distance and notify Cascadia if you see the whale. If you live in the Dalco passage area, you can assist in looking for this whale from shore as well.
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We observed what we believe to be a humpback whale at the tip of Kitsap Peninsula, close to shore, right off the tip of Hansville, between Skunk bay and Norwegian Point, Hansville from 9:30 pm to 10:15 pm. It was loudly spouting and we were inside our house and could hear him so we went outside to the water's edge and watched it for 20 min. It had a small dorsal fin. There may have been two but no more than that.
Suzie Shultz
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Brian Owen of Tacoma shared a 2nd hand report of a large whale (likely the Humpback) several hundred yards off Owen Beach, Pt. Defiance at 8 am.
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Jay Cline of the Sequim Gazette posted some photos of Orcas near Port Williams near Sequim Bay, WA on Facebook.
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~7:30 pm: I am at south beach (SW San Juan Island, WA) right now and am seeing a few whale watching boats with more then 10 orcas, they are heading north slowly, doing lots of tail slaps, a few breaches and direction changes.
Melisa Pinnow, San Juan Island
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We headed southeast over the top of Lopez Island and down the east side, we moved out from under the cloud and into the sunshine. Guess who was waiting for us in the sunshine? Orcas. Resident orcas. Lots of them. We found them in Rosario Strait. They were spread from the near side of the channel all the way across toward Whidbey Island. It was tricky to get a good ID as they weren't coming up too far out of the water, but our best guess from the partial saddles that we got was at least some of J pod with a possible few K's and maybe even an L or two mixed in. Shortly after our arrival there was a bit of splashing and we did get to see a little guy breach a couple of times off in the distance. There was one tight group that stuck together the whole time we were there that included one big male and a couple of ladies as well as a juvenile and a calf.
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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We saw a group of Orcas today from the beach about 3:40 pm west off Deception island moving into the straits in the direction of South Lopez Island. They were moving at a fairly fast pace and spread out in open water. At least one whale watching boat was following them at a respectable distance. After looking out over the water so many times over the years we finally saw a pod of orcas here.
Liz Brown
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We had a pod of eight orcas in the Santa Barbara Channel on our Island Trip today. Got excellent ID photos, which will be sent to Alisa.
CONDOR Express Whale Watching, Santa Barbara, CA
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We came across the same pod of 4 killer whales that we saw yesterday, in relatively the same area just outside Moss Landing (Monterey Bay, CA). First they were heading west towards the harbor and were being a little elusive so we hung back. Then, they turned east and became extremely playful (see photo below). The young whale in the group breached dozens of times and it looked like the adults were getting frisky-- and our suspicions were confirmed when we saw Tony Thomas' photo! This pod was so interesting because of how active and playful they were-- usually the transients we see will be social for such a short period of time after they kill something then continue foraging, but these guys didn't quit the entire time we were with them-- same as yesterday. They seemed truly happy.
Kate Cummings, Blue Ocean Whale Watch, Inc, Moss Landing, CA
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10 am: The same (although I didn't receive the photos to confirm IDs - SM) two Humpack Whales from yesterday were spotted again in Discovery Passage close to Brown's Bay, B.C.
Aaron, Campbell River Whale Watching
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10:20 am: Around 20 to 30 Pacific White Sided Dolphins slowly and steadily cruised past Westview, Powell River headed towards Grief Point. I was disappointed not to see them leaping, but the water was so calm, they're always a pleasure to see.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC
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10 am: Around 20 Pacific White Sided Dolphins just above Discovery Passage closer to Okisollo Channel, Powell River.
Jeff (Fog Horn) running a tour out of Painter's Lodge

June 23, 2011

1:30 pm: 20 + Pacific White Sided Dolphins were playing and foraging by Steep Island, Discovery Pass, Powell River.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys
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12:40 pm: As we headed out from Powell River towards Mitlenatch Island to find the Transient Orca 6 Pacific White Sided Dolphins cruised past us close to the South-West tip of Harwood Island heading South-East very intent on continuing.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC
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5:45 pm: 2 Humpback Whales were slowly headed Southward close to Chatham Point.
Aaron, Campbell River Whale Watching, Powell River, BC
The above two reports submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC
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2:45 pm: At least 5 Orca were spotted just south of Lund headed in a Northerly direction. (These are the elusive whales I missed on the way back to Powell River - SM)
Gina, Lund Water Taxi
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9:15 am: Around 12 Transient Orca were reported between Hernando and Mitlenatch Islands.
Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching
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Tenacious 3, Discovery Marine Safaris, Powell River, caught up with 12 Transient Orca soon after, slowly working their way South-East and left them around 10:45 am 1 mile SE of Mitlenatch Island.
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~4:30 pm: Some show must be going on at Lime Kiln the way the whales are sounding (on Lime Kiln hydrophones)! Listening for 30 minutes!
Rebecca Spurgeon
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Bumpy day today on the west side of San Juan! We got soaked on the way down but it was worth it! We spotted a small group of J's around False Bay, one of which was J26. The water was pretty choppy so ID's were difficult but J26 did a couple bellyflops for us which made it a bit easier. Here's a picture of it.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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We headed south out of Friday Harbor - just before we reached Lime Kiln we saw what we were looking for, the killer whales were up ahead. It was J pod! We slowly made our way across watching the whales who were spread out so there were different individuals passing us. One of the calves was especially playful lob tailing, and at one point breached out of the water. It was a spectacular view!
Kristen, Naturalist: San Juan Safaris
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Lots of great Orca calls, possibly J Pod on Lime Kiln right now at 4pm. Always good to hear especially having seen them two hours ago. I was out earlier on the Ocean Magic out of Victoria at noon, and saw several Orca, J pod and L87 foraging and heading north toward the park off San Juan Island in choppy seas and windy conditions.
Marie O'Shaughnessy.Victoria BC.
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1546: So. Resident orca calls (S1, S2s) on the Lime Kiln hydrophone now. First autodetections were recorded at 1448 and no autodetections were recorded at Orcasound in last few hours, so assume they are headed north (toward Orcasound hydrophones
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach, Seattle, WA
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Calls and echolocation at Lime Kiln. 2:49 pm PDT. J and K pods, and apparently lots of noisy boats. Still lots of loud calls and whistles at 3:22 pm. I sure wish I knew what they're saying. Whistles and echolocation starting again at Lime Kiln. 6:07 pm PDT.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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At exactly the same time as Tuesday, 7am, we had five or more orcas off the Anacortes ferry landing, heading west again! One male and the rest females or young.Larry saw two spyhops through the spotting scope but I missed them. They were spread out.
Eileen Eimermann, Anacortes, WA
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Heard today captains saw super pod (of Transient orcas) here took adult humpback. Resurrection bay three miles west of cape. Last couple days been 7 super pods in Puget bay. Went out yesterday didn't see one orcas but lots of humpies where close to where they got it today.
Kim Larson, Seward, AK
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We saw 4 transients a few miles outside of Moss Landing-- one calf, one juvenile, one female & a male. When we found them there were tons of birds and the male swam right for us carrying a huge slab of blubber from an elephant seal. It looked like he was holding it between his pec fins!! The group was really active; tail slapping, pec slapping, and the calf breached several times. The whales turned their attention to a fulmar and spent a great deal of time harassing it by slapping it with their tails and dragging it under water. They left it alone, barely alive, and moved on to another fulmar a few minutes later. They at least put the second one out of it's misery! What was really interesting was when a live fulmar scurried over to the dead fulmar and pecked at it a few times, almost like it was trying to see if it was okay.
Kate Cummings, Blue Ocean Whale Watch, Inc, Moss Landing, CA
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We received a report of a Humpback whale in Dalco Passage around 1:30 pm, between Gig Harbor and Pt. Defiance, WA.
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~ noon: looks like a juvenile humpback whale breeching from Kingston to Edmonds.
Michelle Dawdy McKain
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~ noon: Grey whale (most likely Humpback) between Vashon and Pt Defiance heading south very fast.
Ann Cordova Wilson

June 22, 2011

Dana Costello sighted a dark whale dive and lift its flukes off Toy Point, Fox Island @ 17:00. Physical, behavioral, and location description fits the humpback that has been swimming around near Pt Defiance and the Narrows.
Annie Douglas, Biologist, Cascadia Research Collective, Olympia, WA
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Can't believe it is only June as it seems like mid July out on the west end of the Santa Barbara Channel. We got close encounters with at least 30 Blue Whales and 15 Humpbacks, but there were a lot more spouts EVERYWHERE in the near and far distance. Incredible for June. Sightings were just north of the Santa Rosa/Santa Cruz Islands gap. We don't see many cow/calf pairs, so it was pretty cool. We also encountered about a dozen Pacific White Sided dolphins and 800-1000 (total of about 3 group sightings) Common Dolphins (see photo under "dolphins" below). Lots of Sea Lions and quite a few MolaMola's including babies. :)
Michele Wassell, CA
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We have had Pacific White Sided Dolphins feeding between The Mission Bay channel jetty/San Diego River (Dog Beach) and the Ocean Beach pier for the past few days. Monday (6/20) I observed some going into Mission Bay (most likely to get a snack from the bait barge). Today they were in close to the surf line and the ocean was very flat so I was able to observe multiple dolphins herding the bait fish with pressure wave together.
Cary Marie, San Diego, CA
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2 pm: The same three Transient Orca including T002C were found in Whale Pass by Rendezvous Island headed in a North-Easterly direction. A short time later they did a bit of zig zag and started Southward. Garry left them around 3:30 pm close to Hill Island in Sutil Channel with some other whale watching boats. These are the same whales that have been in and around the same general area over a number of weeks now. They appear and disappear every day or so probably into one of the many channels and inlets around and just above Desolation Sound.
Garry Henkel, Aboriginal Journeys, sent by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC
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A wonderful parade of whales passed our Orca Rock on Galiano today around 2:20 pm. About 10 [orcas], fishing as they progressed through Active Pass. A resting line for a short period of time, then many tail slaps as they went by us.
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island
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The Center for Whale Research were with Js and Ks from NW San Juan Island at 6:30 am, up to S. Pender Island at 10:12 am. At 11:23 they were off the south end of Saturna Island, appearing to be continuing travel to the NE.
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Resident killer whales were reported at nearly the farthest point we can travel on our trips and they weren't coming our way south either. We crossed the border into Canada at the Haro Strait, went into Plumper Sound and between Mayne and Saturna Islands to pop out on the other side in the Strait of Georgia: we could see the city of VANCOUVER! A little farther north along Mayne Island and BAM: whales! They were all over the place and being a little sassy too. It looked like J30 "Riptide" and friends/family from J-pod were together, with several cow-calf pairs. Even further, many of the calves--and some of the adults--were incredibly active, with tail slapping, pec slapping, upside down tail slapping, SPY-HOPPING, and breaching! And not just the lazy kinda-sorta breaches; we're talking full on clear-the-water breaching!
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Lots of whistles and calls (S1, S16) were detected by the WhoListener program this morning, first at Lime Kiln from 6:08-6:19, then at Orcasound (5 km north) from 7:47-7:52. Seems like some of the southern residents (J and K pod) are working the west side of San Juan Island, as members of both pods were observed and/or heard heading north towards and/or up through Haro Strait last night (5/21). Did they double back and then go north again this morning or were they really (~9 hours?) spread out?
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach
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Early this morning, orcas trickled by, slowly headed north along the west side of San Juan Island. I saw the first ones at about 6:20 am, but I suspect the true leaders came by earlier than that. Orcas continued to trickle past for about 2 hours. I believe I saw all six of the J17 family group, J16 and some of her group, along with other Js. The K13s and J27 were bringing up the rear. Yes, there was romance in the air, if you know what I mean. Maybe one of the K13s will have a little one about a year and a half from now.
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island, WA
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It was a beautiful orca pass at Lime Kiln between 6 and 7:15 am, some groups resting, close to the shore. Not a soul at the park either.
Sandy Buckley, San Juan Island, WA
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I heard a bunch of tailslaps about 4:30 this morning (west San Juan Island). We had Js slowly make their way to Active Pass and then jet through. We had the Js in mid-Georgia Strait heading East towards Point Roberts. Heard later they were headed back south!
John Boyd, San Juan Island, WA
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I got up at 4:30 and we were out with the whales by 5:45-6:00. There were almost if not all of J-Pod and the K13's. It was an awesome encounter.
Candice Smith

June 21, 2011

Very faint calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone now, 10:45 PDT.
Brittany Bowles
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I just heard that J pod was heading west at Beaumont Shoals at 2057, so the calls you heard (at 8:54 pm, Lime Kiln) were probably them. They did not come as far north as Bellevue Point tonight.
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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Came across 6-10 Orcas at about two this afternoon near Iceberg point (SW Lopez Island, WA). They were heading west. There was one adult male with the rest being females and juveniles.
Eric Ogren
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When heard about whales back at the mouth of the Fraser river! We turned around and eventually found part of K pod near the river mouth (K34, K27, K25, K20 and a few others). I mostly took ID shots today but here are a couple of them and one spyhop.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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J11's, J17's and J22s is who we had for 32 minutes off Whidbey . Also had reports of J2, J8, L53 off iceberg later in the day too.
Jeff Hogan, Killer Whale Tales
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Slick J16 and her daughter Echo J42 simultaneously did an inverted tail slap today at Salmon Bank around 4 this afternoon as they headed north.
Melisa Pinnow
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Out visiting J-Pod yesterday near Lopez Island. Samish, Riptide and Tse-Yi'-Chn swam together for a time but then became pretty active (breaching, porpoising and some tail lobs).
Sara Hysong-Shimazu
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J-Pod Orcas in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, heading northwest from Whidbey and Smith Island toward Lopez and Salmon Bank with calm, flooding tide. At 2:50pm, I noticed J-34 DoubleStuf by himself, and many small groups really spread out. One whale breached closer to South Beach, then many whales breached all over the place! I lost count of how many breached! A calf stuck its little head up as though trying to spy hop! Some tail lobs and whales rolling around showed active behaviors! The groups came closer together as they reached Salmon Bank, slowed down swimming toward Eagle Cove, as they often do. The sun reflected off their backs, and we give them lots of room when they are spread out like that, so hard to identify. We enjoyed watching all the active behaviors until about 4:15pm and were able to ID that last group; J-16 Slick with her daughters J-36 Alki & J-42 cute little Echo, and my personal favorite- her son J-26 Mike.
Caroline Armon, CMN, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions, OnBoardTours
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6 pm: During a quick scan of the waters in front of Powell River, the distinctive dorsals and splashes of around 60 Pacific White Sided Dolphins foraging back and forth in front of the Mill got me to grab gear and head down to the skiff. The sun shining and calm waters was an extra bonus. The Dolphins were only interested in feeding, chasing fish close in to the Willingdon Beach shore. I stayed with them till around 9:20 pm when they suddenly exploded out of the water and made a B-line back towards the Mill then continued towards Lund. It was interesting to also see some terns picking off some of the excess feed.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC, Powell River, BC
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Orca Network received a call today from Phyllis Sines, reporting 3 groups of orcas off the WA Coast:
1) 47 24, 124 31 - 2 + orcas at 10:29 am
2) 47 30, 124 34 - 1 orca
3) 47 58, 124 47 - 3 - 4 orcas
They also saw 1 baleen whale with throat pleats - didn't see large pec fins, said the throat was a lighter color & pinkish, and it had a "blunt" nose.
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A few calls were heard on Lime Kiln hydrophones at 8:54 pm by myself & several others, then they stopped - but it would be a good time to tune into both Lime Kiln & OrcaSound hydrophones!
Susan Berta, Orca Network Whidbey Island, WA
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Calls heard on Lime Kiln hydrophones, beginning at 17:15.
Andrea Wieland
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2:45 pm: South end of Lopez, going east to west 4 or 5 orcas close to shore, then 4-6 more including a large male. Whale boats out in the distance in the Straits.
Sally Reeve, Lopez Island, WA
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It was over 25 miles this morning to see Orcas today, almost to Partridge Point, the NW side of Whidbey, but we made it. A group of Js. Later on we left most of J Pod at South Beach headed up island toward Lime Kiln.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island, WA
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Heading south out of Friday Harbor we headed further south towards Smith Island we encountered a pod of fast traveling orcas. This pod of killer whales (believed to be a mix of J and K pod) had everyone's attention as they displayed an array of exciting behaviors! A rambunctious younger member of the group was the first to breach! As the pod spread further apart they became even more active with several members of the group breaching, spyhopping, and kicking. At one point we even had a simultaneous breach from two of the pod members!
Alex - Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Barbara Bennett of the Island Co./WSU Beach Watchers reporting seeing whale spouts & several boats with the orcas, near Ebey's Landing, West Whidbey Island, at around 12:40 pm. It appeared the whales were moving closer to the Pt. Townsend side of the inlet a bit later.
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11:00 a.m.-ish: saw about 8-10 whales due west of Libbey Beach on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound feeding near three small fishing boats. Two had very long fins. Using the binoculars, my neighbor said she also saw a baby whale in the group, pinkish in color, but I myself did not see it. They were traveling more-or-less southwest.
Catherine Lucia
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On this first day of summer, about 9:15 AM we just spotted multiple orca whales 200 yards or so from shore heading South down the Straits. We are in the Nor'wester building at NAS Whidbey Island. At least 15-20 whales from the count we tried to do. One was breeching and "dancing" for us; to our delight! Is it perhaps J pod again as it was last week?
Charles Niedzialkowski, LMHC, Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island
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~8:30 am: Orcas heading south at Sandy Point, Ferndale, near Bellingham.
Theresa Wase
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I live on West Beach near oak harbor, Whidbey Island - a whole pod of orca whales passed in front of the house at 10:48 AM and there was about 8-10 and 2 were very actively jumping completely out of the water.
Vance Jorgenson, Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, WA
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Orca Network received a report from Joe Williams of Olympia, WA, just in off a fishing boat off the WA Coast: 6 - 10 orcas N. of Wesport, near Ocean Shores, ~4 miles off the coast, heading SW around noon today. The pod included at least 1 adult male, and 1 female with what appeared to be several calves/juveniles.
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6 transient orcas ( 1 adult bull, 1 calf and 4 females/juveniles) off Cow Bay, Flores Island just NW of Tofino at 16:00. No one manged any ID's as we gave them a very respectful distance. Our evening trip was spent in their company off Whaler Island (!!) closer towards Tofino. We left them at 20:00 as they formed a resting line with their direction set up Miller Channel.
Claire Mosley, Marine Biologist, Jamies Whaling Station, Tofino.
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Our trip back to Tofino on the offshore discovered a feeding gray whale in Ahous Bay and then a traveling humpback 1 mile offshore Lennard Lighthouse. Hat-trick of whales!
Claire Mosley, Marine Biologist, Jamies Whaling Station, Tofino.

June 20, 2011

Many J-Pod Orcas with K-20 Spock (for a second I thought it was J-26 Mike- with her similar saddle patch & tall dorsal fin! Maybe they have the same dad?!) and her son K-38 Comet formed 2 tight groups traveling north in Haro Strait, seeming to rest a bit, swimming slowly with the flooding tide. At about 3pm, they were off of Henry Island, taking their time heading to Stuart Island, then into Boundary Pass at 4:15pm. Their leisurely pace and breathing enabled us to identify J-22 Oreo with sons J-34 DoubleStuf & J-38 Cookie, J-17- Princess Angeline with granddaughter J-46 Star, J-27 Blackberry with siblings J-31 Tsuchi & J-39 Mako, and J-19 Shachi & her daughter J-41 Eclipse. Also J-28 Polaris, and J-35 Tahlequah with son J-47 Looker, the newest J-Pod calf! Nice to see the families all together.
Caroline Armon, CMN, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions, OnBoardTours
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Two of us were paddling yesterday close to Walla Walla University's Rosario site and saw a pod of Orcas traveling south around 1 pm. What a beautiful sight!!!
Linda Neel, Portland OR, Linda Covalt, Wisconsin
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First time sighting in Clayoquot - after 20+years that doesn't happen often. We had the Alaskan (Transient orca) gang (T075s) visit. They harassed a fur ball (Sea Otter) for a while but didn't kill it. They were oddly friendly in that they approached and circled 2 of the boats. Not totally sure if the bull was in fact T075A as a chunk is missing from the top trailing edge. Can anyone verify (see photo below)? (Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research verified the bull as T075A)
Rod Palm, Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society, Tofino, BC
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Out with Aboriginal Journeys watching Transient orcas T-123/T-123A/T-123B off of Cape Mudge, Campbell River. Zig-zag foraging in the flat calm waters of the Salish Sea!
Nick Templeman
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8 pm: 3 Orca by Shelter Point just South of Campbell River. Looked like T123, T123A and possibly T123B
Nick Templeman
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6 pm: Three transient Orca South Bound Marina Island and 3 transient Orca N. Bound Big Rock.
Campbell River Whale Watching
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3 pm: Transients Westbound by Viner Point / Center Islet heading towards Quadra Island. 1:45 pm: Transients in Sutil Channel by Hill Island.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys
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12:40 pm - 3 Orca in Whale Channel - overheard on radio but too broken to hear from whom.
Above 5 reports from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC, Powell River, BC, Canada
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Spotted a lovely humpback fluke headed west, off the south end Vashon ferry, at around 2:50 pm.
Melissa Frykman-Thieme
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My husband and I were heading home (Edmonds) from Port Townsend at 2pm on our boat, and saw we a lone humpback whale about 3 miles west of the Edmonds ferry terminal. We think he's probably a juvenile (he looked smaller than the ones we had seen in Hawaii). He would glide on the surface 3 or 4 times, then we'd see his fluke and he'd go down for a few minutes. We watched him do this for a few times, then continued on our way home. It was spectacular.
Laurie King-Harris & Paul Harris, Edmonds, WA
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We watched a minke whale just off Eagle Cove (near American Camp, south side of San Juan Island) feeding, mouth agape on the surface around noon. We, and the neighbors watched, as he/she slowly swam in circles. This is third time one has been sighted off the cove in the last week. Unusual to say the least, even though Salmon Banks is not far away.
Judy Chovan
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12:40: 40 to 50 Pacific White Sided Dolphins headed North-West up into Johnsont Strait by Okisollo Channel.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys.
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11 am: 30 to 40 Pacific White Sided Dolphins by Brown's Bay, just North of Campbell River and in the Narrows. Harbour Porpoise, many different groups of about two in Cordero Channel. Jen, Campbell River Whale Watching Above reports from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC, Powell River, BC, Canada
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1702: S4 and S7 calls and many clicks on Orcasound hydrophone now as J pod heads north up Haro Strait. Calls and clicks heard previously by Orca Network and others at Lime Kiln earlier.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound, Seattle, WA
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We left the whales at Turn Point at 4:00 pm. The 4:30pm group were at least the J14s. The J11s, J22s, K13s all went north earlier in the day.
John Boyd, Western Prince, San Juan Island, WA
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4:05 pm: Members of J pod are headed north at Hannah Heights right now- have been going by for about 20 minutes. Not a boat in sight. not all the boys but lot of moms and babies, moving very slowly, no boats.
Sandy Buckley, San Juan Island, WA
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Orca Network had a report of orcas off SW Lopez Island at 1:45 pm; and at 4:23 pm we and others heard orca calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones, about 5 pm calls were on OrcaSound hydrophones, heard/reported until at least 5:25 pm.
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We caught up to J-pod around Monarch Head on Saturna island. There were about six animals traveling very close to each other, and very close to shore. We even had some passengers capture the elusive 'spyhop' behavior on film. We stayed with the whales as they slowly traveled north in to the Strait of Georgia. We watched in silence for a while as we could hear the big male named 'Blackberry' take deep breaths. We would have stayed with the whales longer but they were leading us away from home, so we said our goodbyes and headed back to the harbor just in time to see a beautiful sunset!
Mike - Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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Members of K Pod as well as J Pod were active all around San Juan island. I was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time for a close pass along the west side of San Juan island. A pair of Orcas glided along the bull kelp near the rocks while other members were off shore spread out. It was a great day to be sitting on the rocks enjoying the beautiful sunshine and whales passing by!
Annie Pflueger, Friday Harbor, San Juan island
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The Group B Js headed north along the west side of San Juan Island. They were in a casual resting formation relatively close to shore for a while, then lingered near Kellett Bluff before continuing north. Even the little ones in the J17 family group were resting, but I think either J28 or J35 was spy hopping several times. Later, the K13s headed north along the west side of San Juan Island. Although the Ks were initially well behind the Group B Js, I suspect they caught up with the Js near Kellett Bluff. The Group A Js were bringing up the rear several hours later. J2 Granny was in the lead, well ahead of the others in this group. The rest trickled by, more or less in their family units. I cannot say whether or not L87 was with them.
Jane cogan, San Juan Island, WA
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Nice show (Orcas) off of Village Point on Lummi Island this morning about 7:10 ~ 7:40 am.
Jeff Campbell
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7 a.m: had to be late to work to watch orcas passing on west side Lummi Island south to Rosario Strait - very spread out and far out in the channel - quiet enough to hear their blows. A neighbor passed in her car and said they'd seen them from the Willows Inn at about the same time the morning before! sounds like it could be the regular June loop that we've seen many times over the years here.
Penny Stone, Lummi Island, WA
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1:45pm: Sunshine, blue skies and orcas - can't get much better that this. Orcas are cruising slowly past Flint Beach, south end of Lopez, going usual route of east to west. One large male close to shore, another male slightly further out. A couple of breaches. Tight group of 5 or 6 including juvenile out further.
Sally Reeve, Lopez Island, WA

June 19, 2011

I live on West Beach near oak harbor, Whidbey Island. At 1Pm we saw (most likely) the a pod cross in front of the beach house.
Vance Jorgenson, Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, WA
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Calls/clicks/echolocation at Lime Kiln hydrophones at 3:20pm pdt.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Shoreline, WA
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~3:15 pm: J Pod heading North at Kanaka Bay.
Wendy Pinnow, San Juan Island, WA
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~1 pm: Having lunch with the Orcas just off the Whidbey Naval Station. Man - a lot of whales out here today! traveling southbound - but initially very slowly.
David Conrad, Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, WA
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K pod audible on Orcasound hydrophones. 5:20 pm PDT. And now at Lime Kiln. 5:56 pm. They sound just like kittens! Majestic kittens that weigh thousands of pounds, that is!
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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Out around the bend heading north along the west side of San Juan Island towards False Bay, we found the mother lode: orcas! Word through the vessel radio grapevine was that we had a mixture of J and K pods, with a possible identification of J30 ("Riptide"). One potential reason for resident pods to intermingle is to swap DNA and expand each pod's gene pool in hopes of creating viable and successful offspring; kind of important when you're an endangered species and on "THE LIST". Leaving the whales to their continued intermingling and love trysts, we cruised back along the west side to find an empty Bald eagles' nest at Long Island.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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We followed a few members of J Pod southbound starting at Deception Pass today around 12:15. About 2 solid hours with them and a great "encounter" with Tahlequa and her calf (J35 & J47) to boot can be seen here on this video.
David Conrad
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Father's Day swim by of orcas along south end of Lopez, about 10 whales, spread out, heading east to west at 11 am.
Sally Reeve, Lopez Island, WA
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Around 7 pm we saw at least six Orcas in the entrance to Discovery Bay, between Cape George and Diamond Point. There was at least one male and two others swimming very close together, perhaps a mother and baby. We saw several good jumps. These are only the second group of Orcas I have seen in ten years living on Discovery Bay.
Richard Isherwood, Port Townsend WA
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Transient reports below - from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC:
8:30 pm - 4 Orca spotted by the BC Ferry employees heading North by Quathiaski Cove, by Campbell River.
from Garry, Aboriginal Journeys
5:30 pm: They were breaching and tail lobbing around Mace Point, Eastern end of Savary Island.
from Gordie Coles
4 pm: Orca were just going "in circles" by Second Point, Savary Island.
from Joel, on Tenacious 3
3 pm: The Transients were by Keefer Rock, between Hernando and Savary Isalnds on a very slow roll South-East.
from Garry, Aboriginal Journeys
12 pm: 3 Orca between Twin and Cortez Islands. 1 Large Male and two females.
from Jen, Campbell River Whale Watching
10:30 am: Orca reported by Cortez Reef slowly headed towards Baker Pass. from a commercial boat.
submitted by Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching
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We had a delightful and surprising encounter with a group of 15 Transient Orcas near Beaumont Shoals. Within he group there was two large males one of which had a very distinctive dorsal fin. We followed the group as they moved swiftly north in Haro Strait and were nearing Lime Kiln Lighthouse when we left them.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching, Victoria, B.C.
These orcas were identified as T170 and T171, by Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA - and Rod Palm of Strawberry Isle Research says, " wow! Rare animals for us on the West Coast: we've only seen them twice in over 20 years."
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We saw approximately 6 adult orcas and one calf in Brentwood Bay, B.C. around 11:30am. The mother and calf stayed around for at least 1/2 hour. They moved slightly west in the bay before we lost sight of them. We were wondering which pod this might be and how old the calf might be? The calf seemed very small.
Mary Stenroos, Seattle
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A Humpback whale has been hanging out in the South Sound. The photographer Jim Komonce was fishing with me this morning when the Humpback breached a few times just East of Gig Harbor. We watched it for about 15 minutes before it headed North into Colvos Passage. I also spotted this whale Saturday while traveling though the Tacoma Narrows at Salmon Beach with my clients from Texas. What an awesome site.
Captain Jim Keith, Fox Island Salmon Charters
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We've been watching a whale travel up and down Colvos passage this past week. Based on the small dorsal fin located on the lower part of the back, I would guess that this was a Minke whale.
Ken Warter
Given other reports and the photo above, we believe this is actually the Humpback whale that has been in the area - ON
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9:35 am: Over 30 Pacific White Sided Dolphins were around one block South of Grief Point, Powell River leaping and foraging. (They never made it around the point - SM) from Margaret and Trevor
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC

June 18, 2011

They were a mile or so south of Race Rocks by 1000AM , and out by Port Renfrew by mid-afternoon. J pod and a few stragglers from K and L pods remained spread out in interior waters.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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While traveling up the coast in a 40 ft sailing vessel we spotted a pod of Orcas apparently feeding. It was rough choppy waters, so we could not see what exactly they were eating. But their behavior was a darting back and forth through the water in one area as we went by - they were not migrating. There were at least 6, maybe more, and one orca that had a very prominent dorsal which was much larger than the others, I presume to be a male. Approximate location was about 200 yards off Cape Mendocino.
Don Van Valkenburg
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A lone humpback whale was observed mid Colvos Passage off of Point Richmond Beach today at approximately 5:15pm. The whale was headed south then turned and went north. I did see a tail fluke during a dive. I did observe spouting.
Steve Rees, Point Richmond Beach, Gig Harbor, WA
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11 am: 3 Dall's Porpoises headed Southward at a no nonsense pace past Westview, Powell River.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC
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Hearing some whistles on the Pt. Townsend hydrophones at 9:45 pm. Meg McDonald also reported faint whistles on the PT hps at 9:26 pm. They sounded a bit more like dolphin calls than orcas, but never heard enough to confirm this.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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5:52 pm: Riptide J30 really close to shore at Lime Kiln today at around 2:40, headed north with the rest of J pod, Scoter K25 was also with them.
Melisa Pinnow, San Juan Island, WA
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J and at least part of K (specifically K20 and K38) were heading south on the west side of San Juan Island earlier today.
Adam U, San Juan Island, WA
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Calls and clicks on Orcasound, 2:55 pm.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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Just began hearing So. Resident calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones, 2:10 pm.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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1 pm: [orcas] off Pile Point, coming toward shore from shipping lanes. At least 5. At least 1 large male.
Cindy Wesch
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As we rounded Cattle Point and came up along the west side (San Juan Isl) in some choppy waves, we were rewarded for our perseverance: J-pod was back from their few-day stint at sea. Spread out in a long line along the west coast, we watched the orcas travel in their smaller groups past Lime Kiln State Park. One orca out on its own (Blackberry?) ceased hugging the coast and traveled out among the various whale watching vessels, breaching twice before continuing his meanderings.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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I live just east of Eagle Point, and around 12:30pm today as these orcas were heading up the coast. I wasn't sure whether one of them was a juvenile, and thus might be of interest!
Alex Shapiro, San Juan Island, WA
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11 am: Lots of clicks and some calls on OrcaSound hydrophone.
Val Veirs, San Juan Island, WA
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Hearing kitten like calls on OrcaSound. K? 10:50am pdt. 10:58-sounds more like J now that they are coming in closer. S1 & S4 calls? and echolocation. sweet. Calls on On LimeKiln now. Started 11:05 still loud at at 11:25. Calls still on OrcaSound as well.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Shoreline, WA
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Js heading north along the west side of San Juan Island. Not sure if any Ks were with them.
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island, WA
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A mix of J's and K's on the west side of San Juan Island around lime kiln. They were pretty active with multiple breaches, spyhops and tail lobs.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver, Vancouver, B.C.

June 17, 2011

Dave Ellifrit and Astrid van Ginneken of the Center for Whale Research began an encounter with Transient orcas at 12:35 p.m. 3/4 of a mile west of Blunden Island (48 45.19 N, 123 10.80 W). T123, T123A, and T123B were traveling south at a medium speed. At 3:00 p.m. the T123's were tight and traveling southwest at a medium speed. The encounter ended at 3:13 p.m. at 48 43.74 N,123 12.42 W.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research went out on Shachi and found the T10's and T26's. There was a follow up encounter that began at 12:27 p.m. in Cordova Channel off the south tip of James Island (48 34.11 N, 123 21.10 W). Dave Ellifrit and Astrid van Ginneken followed T10, T10B, T10C, T26, and T26A up to the north end of James Island. The whales were tight and traveling slow. The encounter ended off Sydney BC (48 39.33 , 123 22.92 W) at 1:55pm.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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Russ xxx reported lots of whales coming east through Race Passage at 1630, traveling fast (7 knots) with the incoming tide in rough seas. Ken Balcomb and Mark Malleson responded in r/v "Shachi" at 1730 and encountered J, K, and L pod subgroups spread from about Trial Island to Seabird Point on Discovery Island (48 24.51N, 123 12.28W). The lead group included mostly K pod members, and subgroups of L pod followed, with J pod bringing up the rear and traveling most northward as the armada of whales swam toward the west side of San Juan Island and False Bay. By the time they reached SJI, the whales were spread from about Eagle Point to Lime Kiln lighthouse, and some were catching salmon that were visible in their mouth, though regrettably the seas were too rough and dark to find scales for species identification. The fish in the mouth of Lxx was large enough to only be a Chinook, and we presume that was the species being hunted by the others. Before the light faded, Mark was able to get a photograph of the new baby in L pod, L118 with its mother that Ken had barely photographed in February in Monterey Bay, California. The whales apparently spent the night foraging off the west side of San Juan Island, and on the morning ebb tide the J and L subgroups headed west in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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Ferry workers report a humpback whale blowing and splashing sporadically to the west of the ferry lane to over by Pt Defiance (the point). Spotted every day this week.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island, WA
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Along with transient killer whales, we also had the chance to see a humpback whale at Constance Bank.
Prince of Whales, Victoria, BC
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Today we got spoiled: we had a choice between two transient killer whale pods! The first group was called in as located off Sidney Island on the Canadian side of the Haro straight; a second pod was seen between Saturna and South Pender Islands. Once we caught up with this second group, we found that there were three animals in the pod: one male, one female and one calf. Even with lots of helpful eyes on the water, references to our transient catalog and chats with other vessels, we were not able to positively identify this pod. They showed some splashing and direction changes and then began heading west along South Pender Island.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Islands
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Canadian Salish Sea waters today, by Sydney and the D'Arcy Islands! Another group of 4 Transient Killer Whales using the strong flooding tide, heading north, at about 1:45pm. They were swimming slowly in a fairly tight group, taking long dives, and like the ones yesterday, I wonder if they were resting a bit, letting that tide move them along? We indentified T-10 with her son T-10A, and youngster T-10C. We also identified T-26, but I did not see her 21 year old T-26A, who was sighted the day before with this group.
Caroline Armon, Odyssey, San Juan Excursions, San Juan Island, WA
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We found two Transient orcas less than a mile outside Moss Landing CA today. They were porpoising out of the water probably chasing after something-- there were bottlenose dolphins just off the beach as well as some sea lions in the area. On our way in from our trip, I spotted them again, this time about 2.5 miles from the harbor entrance. These are the same two killer whales we had on May 6th who had hunted together and killed a harbor porpoise-- both days it was just these two with no others in sight. They surfaced just a few feet from our boat.
Kate Cummings, Blue Ocean Whale Watch, Inc , Monterey Bay, CA
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9:07 pdt, still a few faint calls at OrcaSound.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Shoreline, WA
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8:54 pm: Loud vocals @ lime kiln!
Christine Swedell, Minneapolis, MN
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7:37 pm: Very active calls on Lime Kiln!
Hunter Shaffer
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Orca Calls at Lime Kiln, 7:20 pm, LOUD orca calls at Lime Kiln, 7:45 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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7:19 pm: So. Resident Killer Whales at Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Andrea Wieland
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Faint calls at Lime Kiln! 6:38 p.m. Echolocation too now. 7:13 p.m. The calls are getting clearer now. J pod is there! 7:22 p.m. I'm not sure, because I've never heard them before, but (from the Salish Sea sound tutor) it sounds like K pod is there too. 7:37 p.m. They seem to be swimming north. Some calls on Orcasound now. 8:09 p.m.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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Just got back from the west side of San Juan Island - we caught a few of the whales as they passed by but missed others that had already passed the light. The whales were in classic CWR "Groups Spread Out" formation spread from a few hundred meters offshore to mid-Haro Strait. Whales and (groups) seen included (K20, K38, K25, K27), ...(J17, J28, presumably J46 and J47), (J27 plus presumed J31 and J39), and what was probably the J22s and J32. All of these whales headed north past Lime Kiln. Approximately 15 minutes later the K12s stalled out in front of the lighthouse. K22 and K33 milled and spyhopped around some kelp mats and K33 did a few tail lobs and pec slaps. K12, K37 and presumably K43 did similar social family stuff in their own little group and eventually they all joined up and headed south. We waited for the rest to cruise back south but by 2135 we didn't see anyone coming back from Bellevue.
Adam U, San Juan Island, WA
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Listened last night to the hydrophones at lime kiln and orca sound! So many calls from the whales!
Rebecca Spurgeon, Louisiana
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In Victoria around 1pm we saw all three pods of Orcas off of the pier in Sidney, BC.
Mary Stenroos, Seattle
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In response to photos of the Transient orcas in Monterey Bay, CA, by Kate Cummings of Blue Ocean Whale Watch: These whales are CA50 and CA50B. Nice pics!
Alisa-Schulman Janiger, California Killer Whale Project, ACS/LA Gray Whale Cenusus and Behavior Project
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Orca Network got a call from Don, fishing on the "Ranger," reporting about 8-10 orcas heading north at about 6 knots, 3 miles off Westport at 7:26 this morning.

June 16, 2011

As we watched a beautiful sunset around 9:30 pm from a Fox Cove mooring buoy at Sucia Island, to our surprise we watched a transient group of four Orcas enter from the west and exit through the narrow southern opening. An adult male, a female and two juveniles. Perfect ending to a perfect day.
Doug and Gail Greenwald
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No Resident Orcas today, yet around 1:35pm we come across another group of 4 Transient Killer Whales! A male T-56, with a female, juvenile and calf. He is an orphan, so hard to ID who he was with. They are swimming fairly slowly with that strong flood tide, in a tight group on long dives, north then east around Sucia Island.
Caroline Armon, Odyssey, San Juan Excursions, San Juan Island, WA
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Orca Network received a call from Alexia at 12:40 pm - she was watching 2 orcas, a Mom and calf, off the north side of Sucia Island (northwest of Orcas Island), heading east.
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There were at least 4 Transients at Burial Island in Sansum Narrows this afternoon around 3-4 PM. They headed North. There were about 6 whale watching boats out, including the Prince of Whales, whom I am sure can Identify them. We watched from shore.
Tamar Griggs, Bold Bluff, Salt Spring Island, BC
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A group of 5 Transient orcas were located heading west, just north of Portland Island. The group has been id'ed as T10, T10B, T10C, T26, and T26A. Shortly after we arrived at about 1230, the group changed direction - a seal hunt was on. They took one seal, then logged on the surface for a short time before resuming the hunt for a second seal. The second seal was still alive when we left at approximately 13:30. Photo below of T26A with an impressive show of power and spray.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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Today we left the harbor and headed north toward Sucia Island. Once there we spotted a small pod of transients. There were 3. One female, one male, and one calf. They were taking long dives with a few breaths at their surface intervals before they dove again. They were cruising along, with one quick stop that I thought might have been a hunting opportunity, but after a brief spyhop from the big male they continued along their merry way. When we first saw them they were on the east side of the island. When we left them it looked as though they were about to complete their circumnavigation as they turned the corner and headed up the west side.
Laura, naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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Did see Transients this morning just below Sidney. T10's and T26's. Went out with Mark Malleson (Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.).
Peter Pijpelink, the Netherlands
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We first saw the Orca T19B and 6 others. Steep Island 1pm and last I heard was southbound by Shelter Point at 3 pm. Never saw any dolphins or porpoise today.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys, Campbell River
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Report at 730 this morning circa 6-8 Orca North Bound in front of Campbell river.
Jen, Campbell River Whale Watching
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Transient Orca arrived here at 6:30 am at the Lighthouse, (Cape Mudge - SM) traveled past Campbell River and up to Eagles Cove and then turned and are now heading south at the moment (1:25 pm) 7 Orca.
Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching
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Connie Barrett of Camano Island called at 7:27 pm to say she & her husband were watching one or more gray whales in Saratoga Passage, off Cama Beach heading south. The whale(s) were staying down for 10 - 15 minutes between surfacing - all they could see were the spouts, so couldn't confirm species but thought they were likely grays. We tried to find them, but didn't have time to look much and missed them as they passed by Greenbank.

June 15, 2011

Today we encountered 5 Transient Killer Whales. I have rarely seen both residents and transients in the same area, ignoring each other, but I wonder if they do have a cosmic agreement in sharing the range? Ironic that so often, when the residents are out of range, then here come the transients! The transients are much less frequent, so harder to identify individuals. T-65A with a calf, juvenile, and 2 others off of Wasp Passage at about 12:30pm. I noticed at least 1, maybe 2, had what appeared to me to be an open saddle patch; dark pigment going into the lighter patch. I wonder if anyone else saw and/or photographed that. I mention this, as a distinction of Transients was a closed saddle patch- no dark pigment, solid light patch on all of them. The whales headed west into San Juan Channel, staying closer to Orcas Island, although erratic surfacings after long dives in the pass, then they seemed to be hunting in the channel with circling, arching dives, and youngster tail flukes in the air! At 3pm they were still in San Juan Channel closer to Spieden Island.
Caroline Armon, Marine Naturalist, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions
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Saw ladies - 3 adults and 1 calf - about 30 minutes outside of Friday Harbor this morning. We were so excited! We were told they were transients (due to the small grouping of only 4) and heard rumors later that they were the T-65's I think.
Jennifer Mueller
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Caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye at 10:35 am so quickly grabbed the binoculars just in time to see another blow and the half body porpoising move that's quite typical of a Minke Whale on the move. And then it was gone. Minke's are quite notorious for a few quick breaths then disappear for long periods to pop up quite a distance off. This one seemed to be on the move Northward just off Westview, Powell River.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC
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Heading north in Rosario Strait we saw a dolphin by Burrows Island, south Puget Sound, heading west. I only saw it surface once but it came almost all the way out of the water and was definitely a dolphin, not a porpoise; not sure what kind but it looked kind of brownish. Maybe the lone common dolphin that was in Olympia a while back?
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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Mark from the fishing vessel "Greater Pacific" called this afternoon to report he saw 5 orcas, 1 male, 2 females, 1 calf & 1 juvenile, in Monterey Bay. At first they were .5 mile out heading toward the Monterey Bay Harbor breakwall. Then turned to the shallow water and kelp line, headed past the Monterey Bay Aquarium, then toward the outer Bay red buoy at Pt. Pinos.
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MONTEREY, Calif. - Keith Stemler, 47, of Monterey, was on a boat in Monterey Harbor, Wednesday, when three gorgeous killer whales swam by. Stemler was returning to the harbor after going on a salmon fishing trip with Chris' Fishing and Whale Watching. Suddenly, the pod of Orca whales surfaced just 15 feet away from the boat. Stemler grabbed his camera and caught the action. "When I first spotted the Orcas I thought, 'Holy smokes, I scuba dive there,'" Stemler said. "I have seen Orcas many times in their natural environment. I have never seen them so close to the wharf area and San Carlos Beach."
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We had four transient orca (categorized as the T-65A's) come through Deer Harbor, Orcas Island right when we were pulling out of the marina. They came through a narrow passage called Pole Pass at low tide slack water. Today's low tide was one of the lowest tides of the year. Not only that but timing their transit of the pass when there was not any current running is a marvel of navigation. The current runs up to three to five knots through there on a normal tide. On today's tide it would be considerably stronger.
Tom Averna, Deer Harbor Charters, Orcas Island, WA
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It's not great news when you hear that there are Orcas way west of Victoria going west. Could it have been J Pod, who were heard the evening before going North past SJI? Transient Orcas near Yellow Island, by Friday Harbor. And then another phone call! Another group of five Transient Orcas, the T75s, over near Sidney, BC, coming our way. We chose the pod near Sidney, and then with only one other boat, watched them glide lazily down Sidney Ch. toward D'Arcy Island. It was an incredibly beautiful evening.
Capt. Jim Maya, San Juan Westside Charters, San Juan Island, WA
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Flat, calm, no wind, beautiful lighting, and thanks to the hockey game we were the only boat sitting off of Sidney Island with a pod of 5 transient orcas.`There was one big male, one calf, one other juvenile and a couple of larger adults (at least one was a mom). They were swimming south, taking five minute dives, with long surface intervals when their behavior changed drastically. They dove and then surfaced inshore of where they were, disrupting a noisy, congregating group of birds. They milled at the surface for a few minutes and then turned and went back past us to where they originally were and proceeded to spend the next 40 minutes or so just milling. There was lots of rolling around at the surface, diving sideways, and at one point one of the adult females lifted the calf out of the water on her nose. We watched, stunned, with the engines off as the pod swam in circles, brushing up against one another, porpoising and rolling. Then two of the whales split away from the circle and things got a little bit strange. It was as if someone had just sped up the merry-go-round. The circling behavior continued, but more aggressively, with splashing, and speedy dives. Finally I figured out what was going on. A little harbor seal surfaced in the midst of the chaos. I was expecting a quick kill followed by a pool of blood, but instead the whales continued to circle the poor little seal for the next 10 minutes. He frantically looked up, then down, then back up as the whales continued to toy with him. The calf was apparently getting a little hunting lesson as he mimicked the adults behaviors to the tee. Finally we had to break away and head for home. It was tough to leave and we continued to watch for as long as we could as we pulled away. We saw the little guy breach and then they were out of sight. It was a beautiful evening with amazing whales.
Laura, naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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8:22 am: We've been watching what appears to be an adult and a juvenile gray whale about a mile NorthEast of Point No Point (N. Kitsap Peninsula, WA). They are headed North. Long deep dives followed by the younger whale doing a half breach/half tail slap several times.
-Paul & Laurie in Edmonds
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I believe I saw a whale of some sort around the coasts of University Place, WA (SE of Tacoma, on the Tacoma Narrows) at around 21:34. Really cool, and just wanted to tell you guys. (very likely the Humpback reported below - ON)
David Hendricks
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8:50 am: A ferry worker told a friend of mine that a humpback whale is being seen on the Tahlequah/Point Defiance ferry run at the south end of Vashon Island.
Sally Marrone
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Latest sighting of the south Puget Sound Common Dolphin comes from Jennifer Rodriguez of Olympia, she observed the long-beaked common dolphin @ 11:30 AM off Burfoot State Park Beach. The dolphin moved back and forth, and could have been feeding.
Annie Douglas, Biologist, Cascadia Research Collective

June 14, 2011

J-Pod heading from Whidbey Island toward the south end of Lopez, about 1:15pm. We watched J-Pod with L-53 Lulu and L-87 Onyx, spread out in 4 groups, with J-2 Granny in the lead again! Looked like newest calf J-47 in the next group. Interesting that J-26 Mike and J-27 Blackberry were in the last group again, with L-53, and the NOAA vessel following, trying to deploy the suction attached short term D-tags. Again, this last group of Orcas dipped into Cattle Pass slowed down, showing how strong they are against the huge currents, with tail fluke slaps, a few breaches, and spy hops. A male also showed "pink floyd", so mating with L-53 going on? As we headed up Cattle Pass at about 3pm, the whales increased their speed around Goose Island and Cattle Point to catch up with the rest of the clan off South Beach.
Caroline Armon, Odyssey, San Juan Excursions, San Juan Island, WA
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12:50 pm: a large Humpback Whale was seen between Quadra and Vancouver Islands by Race Point. It was doing longer dives as it headed Northward against the current. It's always a great surprise when they breach, and this one did a couple of times. By 4:30 pm it was only by Maude Island, so not very far, and still doing long dives.
Aaron, Campbell River Whale Watching and Garry, Aboriginal Journeys submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC
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We saw one orca [dolphin?] tonight at 6:00 from Fox Island (S. Puget Sound) off of Gibson Point heading North towards the Tacoma Narrows bridge.
Lisa Matties Gray
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Carrie Newell called to report there were four orcas just outside the bridge at the Newport, OR Harbor attacking a gray whale at 6AM. She said the gray got away.
Carrie Newell, Whale Research EcoExcursions, Depoe Bay, OR
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Sean Minor called Orca Network with two reports. On June 14 at 9:20AM he saw 3 orcas including one baby (no adult male) 300 yards inside the jetty at Newport OR.
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J pod swam past lime kiln today for a whole hour starting at 8:15 pm, heading north.
Brittany Bowles
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At 3:30 PM, part of J-Pod was passing Lime Kiln Point State Park heading north. About 15 minutes later, they turned around and headed back south. Several whales, including J19 Shachi, J41 Eclipse, J40 Suttles, and L53 Lulu thrilled visitors by coming right into the cove next to the lighthouse. I also was able to identify J8 Spieden and L87 Onyx well offshore. The whales continued south, where they foraged in the currents off of Land Bank until about 5:30. Word was that the rest of J-Pod was still further south in Haro Strait.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island, WA
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We headed south toward S. Rosario in search of J-pod. We saw lots of Harbor Porpoise in SJ Channel on the way. By the time we arrived on scene the whales had turned West and were traveling along the south end of Lopez. They were spread out but in nice tight groups of 3 to 6 whales. We spotted L53, J19 & J41 traveling together at first. Then L53 hooked up with J8 (Spieden est. 78 yrs) and J2 (Granny est. 100 yrs )for some Speed Swimming (see JB's photo below). Pretty amazing to see the powerful energy of these 2 senior ladies! We paralleled different groups of whales at 200+ yards to Cattle Pass. We had nice encounters with J17, J35 and their calves J44 & J47. Watched L87 for awhile, and then saw a group of approximately 8 whales including J27 and J26 get pushed into Cattle Pass by the huge flood tide. By the time they crossed from Lopez to San Juan they were north of Goose Island. At one point the whales were swimming south, but moving north. Eventually they got in the lee of Goose Island and made their way back out and around Cattle Point.
Alison Engle, Western Prince, Friday Harbor, WA
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4 to 4:30 pm: 6 Pacific White Sided Dolphins and a few Dall's Porpoises around the Stuart Island area. Aaron, Campbell River Whale Watching from Susan MacKay, Whales & Dolphins of BC:
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2 pm: 4 Dall's Porpoises including one all greyish in colour that may be a Hybrid Dall's/Harbour Porpoise cross were seen zipping about by Churchhouse in Calm Channel.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys from Susan MacKay, Powell River Whales & Dolphins of BC
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12:30 pm: One or two Dall's Porpoises close to Quadra Island in Discovery Pass. Radio reception was broken, but I believe it was reported by Aaron and Jen of Campbell River Whale Watching from Susan MacKay, Powell River Whales & Dolphins of BC
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Jpod met us just north of Deception Pass. They were widely spread out, several close to shore and some way out in the strait, heading toward the North Whidbey shoreline. After our stop in Friday Harbor, we found them again a little ways north of Minor Island, heading north. J2 Granny and J8 Speiden were together at the head of the pack; the whole group was very spread out until someone did a bunch of tail lobbing (Granny? But I couldn't tell for sure) and then they grouped up. In addition to Granny and Speiden, from passenger photos I was able to identify J14 Samish, J16 Slick, J19 Shachi, J 26 Mike, J27 Blackberry, J36 Alki, J40 Suttles, and L87 Onyx.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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Faint vocals on Orcasound hydrophones, 10:04 pm.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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LOUD calls suddenly began on Lime Kiln hydrophones at 8:30 pm. Only hear one call so far - now there are more calls - they are still at it, loud and clear, at 9:25 pm.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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9:20 pm: Lots of calls and some long whistles at Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Emalie Garcia
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8:50 pm: Listening to J-Pod making S1s, S3s, S4s, S6s, S10s, S12s, and S16s (usu. K vocal) on the Lime Kiln hydrophones - great they're here so much!
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island, WA
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4:10 pm, and again at 8:10 pm: Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones, and at 8:43 pm, calls at OrcaSound hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Echolocation beginning now on Lime Kiln. 8:05 pm. Lots of calls now, 8:31 pm.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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~7:40 pm: I just saw J pod go past Pile Point, W. San Juan Island, at 7:34 pm heading north.
Melisa Pinnow, San Juan Island, WA
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We met the first of J-pod at South Beach and watched as they hauled north toward Eagle Point, with some porpoising at the fast pace. On our way back toward Friday Harbor the rest of the pod came into view as we approached Cattle Point. This lagging group was full of youngsters and moving in a tighter formation, but slower pace. There were two mature males present that I believe were Blackberry (J-27) and Mike (J-26). The newest additions to the pod appeared to be practicing their lob tails, repeating the action shortly after their elders would do so. Afterwards they took turns breaching, with one member coming completely out of the water three consecutive times!
San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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A J pod female spy hopping in Cattle pass around 2:30 today, they were heading north towards south beach.
Melisa Pinnow, San Juan Island, WA
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1:30pm: We had a very spread-out group of orcas stream past us this afternoon heading west past Flint Beach, headed toward Iceberg Point (Lopez Island, WA). They were traveling well off shore. It took about a half hour for the whole group to pass by.
Tom Reeve, Lopez Island, WA
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Erick Pierson called at 11:53 am with J's and possibly some L's, in Rosario Strait headed south, some only 1/4 mile from shore but spread out over about 5 miles, almost to Partridge Pt., Whidbey Island. At 12:12 pm Granny made a hard turn NW toward Haro Strait, did a few tail lobs, and the rest of the pod followed and turned as well, so looks like they may be heading back up to San Juan Island (unless they change directions again soon).
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We had at least five Orcas from about 11-12 AM this morning traveling South along the West side of Whidbey Island by the Naval Air Station, Ault Field; complete with Whale Watching boats from Friday Harbor and Anacortes. There was also a mother and child pair straggling about a mile or two behind the main group as well. Lots of breeching and blowing and merriment for us watching!
Charles Niedzialkowski, LMHC, Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island
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Adam U called at 11:15 am while watching J pod heading south past Deception Pass, WA, spread out across several miles, with some boats. The leaders could be visible from Whidbey Naval Air Station right now.
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~3:45 pm: Roche Harbor Orcas everywhere.
Michelle Dawdy McKain

June 13, 2011

Ken Balcomb and Gale Richard met up with members of J Pod, L87, and L53 in front of the Center for Whale Research (48 37.48 N, 123 12.46 W) on Shachi. Shortly after Erin Heydenreich, Candice Calloway-Whiting, and Candice Smith had a follow up encounter on Orca. The second encounter began at 12:48 PM and followed J Pod, and L53. The whales were spread out and traveling at a medium speed. The encounter ended at 4:56 PM off the west coast of Stuart Island (48 40.15 N, 123 13.78 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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Off of Deadman Bay, in Haro Strait, a school group of kids, (and all the grown ups!) were thrilled to see J-Pod Orcas. Another strong flooding tide and the whales spread out in 4 active groups, with J-2 Granny in the lead. From about 1:45 to 3 pm, as they headed north, the Orcas also breached, spy hopped, tail fluke slapped the surface, and some made direction changes as though fishing. J-27 Blackberry and J-26 Mike were together. They are now the eldest males in J-Pod, at 20 years old.
Caroline Armon, Marine Naturalist, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions
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We met Jpod northbound around Andrews Point on San Juan Island; they were quite spread out. Identified J26 Mike, J27 Blackberry, and the "Cookies" again.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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9:45 am: A lone Humpback Whale was Southbound at Race Point. It was first thought to be a Gray Whale, but later confirmed it was a large Humpback. At 11:30 am it was around Duncan Bay, Discovery Passage.
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Word was whales were headed north... no, wait... south... no, wait... north! A pod of indecisive orcas! Yes, northbound for sure along the west side of San Juan Island. As we rounded the northernmost point of San Juan Island, one by one, we saw large black dorsal fins belonging to none other than, you guessed it, J-pod! They were still in the neighborhood and we were able to catch up with them as they traveled towards Canadian waters. We found the rear ten to fifteen individuals of the 27-animal pod and observed them as they tail slapped, pectoral fin slapped and upside down tail slapped. One of the pod members even spy-hopped four times, each time nearly revealing pectoral fins. When a whale of any species does this maneuver--bringing its head and often even eyes up out of the water as it remains vertically positioned--it is considered a curious behavior. This leads scientists and whale watchers alike to consider: are the whales curiously watching us?
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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I was out with Island Adventures today. We caught up with J Pod at about Lime Kiln, heading north. We left them at Kellett Bluff. They were resting in three groups - with Granny in the lead. Hurray! The conditions were amazing - warm sun, flat water. So, the sight of the whales surfacing and breathing together was extra spectacular. We saw an occasional breach, spy hop and tail lob. But, mostly, they appeared to be resting. Ken B (Center for Whale Research) was in the middle of things and I expect he got some really great photos. Can't wait to see them. We also saw lots and lots of harbor porpoise in Guemes Channel and a few Dall's Porpoise as we approached the whales at Lime Kiln. Beautiful day on the water!
Annette Colombini
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We have been seeing J Pod every day! They went north in big seas.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island, WA
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We spotted a Minke Whale ~800 meters off of South Beach, San Juan Island at 10:20am. It was traveling parallel to shore in a SE direction.
Michelle Savoie, USFS (Marbled Murrrelet Population Monitoring Project)
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~2:30 pm: I hear calls on OrcaSound hydrophones right now!!
Starr Fish
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~2:10 pm: Calls on OrcaSound hydrophones! (J pod must be traveling north along west San Juan Island - ON)
Mandy Bailey
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Suddenly began hearing LOUD J pod calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone at 1:38 pm. And then they stopped as suddenly as they began - now at 1:50 not hearing much.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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11:30 am: S1, J -pod calls heard on Lime Kiln hydrophone by Howard Garrett, Brittany Bowles, and Monia Metzger.
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales called at 10 am to report calls on the OrcaSound hydrophones.
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Over the weekend we were able to get some photos of a common dolphin that has been sighted off Boston Harbor lighthouse, near Olympia since 5 June. Upon comparing these photos to photos sent to us a week ago, we found that they were different animals. This is consistent with one early report of 2 dolphins, and the more recent reports of 1. It is possible that the missing dolphin did not make it, so please be on the alert for reports of unusual stranded animal in the south sound.
Annie Douglas, Biologist, Cascadia Research Collective

June 12, 2011

While hiking on a beautiful sunny day, around Cattle Point Lighthouse around 1 pm, surprise! Three tight groups of Orcas are heading past Lopez toward South Beach. The first 2 groups swam past pretty fast, but the 3rd group dipped into Cattle Pass. The NOAA research vessel, trying to deploy D-tags was right with them. We were able to identify J-27 Blackberry, J-34 DoubleStuf, J-16 Slick with youngster J-42 Echo. I thought they would probably head up Haro Strait with the flooding tide, and sure enough we saw them on the west side and traveling north past Lime Kiln Point State Park! Two hours of great views from San Juan Island!
Caroline Armon, San Juan Island, WA
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I got a report of 2 dolphins , sighted between Woodard Bay and Harstine Island, south Puget Sound from Linda Almadino. Sounds like we may have a few dolphins in our waters.
Annie Douglas, Cascadia Research, Olympia, WA
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J pod off Lime Kiln, San Juan Island, WA
Jessica Barajas
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Four J's heading North from Lime Kiln, west San Juan Island at 3:30.
Brittany Bowles
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~3 pm: Hearing faint calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Gayle Swigart
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Was typing as you were posting, hearing louder calls now 3:05pm pdt.
Alisa Lemire Brooks
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Who is this calf (ID'd as J47) with the new notch in its dorsal fin at Lime kiln today at about 2 pm. It was with a group consisting of Polaris, Princess Angeline, Blackberry, Doublestuf, Mako, Oreo and Rhapsody.
Melisa Pinnow
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Deer Harbor charters reports J pod at Cattle pass at 1:30 pm.
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Today on both of our trips, we encountered J-pod. First off of the west side of San Juan Island where they were headed northeast and then off of East point, the most northwestern point of the United States, and headed into Canadian waters. Our whales went international today, visiting a few countries along the way. Within the pod, we were able to identify Mike (J26). With Mike, we found his mother J16 (Slick); she has a little stripe of white coming off her saddle patch towards her dorsal fin making her somewhat recognizable. Two other animals were with this sub-group, possibly Slick's children Echo and Alki. Bringing up the rear of J-pod was Blackberry (J27). And with him were about five to six other orcas, potentially his family. And following behind Blackberry and crew were... humans A research group with NOAA was out tagging whales again, trying to understand what the whale hear and the sounds in their environment.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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Orcas were seen in Rosario Strait this morning around 11 AM, heading south near the south end of Lopez Island.
Nadja Baker, Anacortes, WA
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Group of kayakers paddling from James Island to Washington Park Rosario Strait; orca pod seen approximately mile west of Green Point, by Washington Park. GPS coordinates for where we rafted up were: N48.29.957 W122.43.235. We were watching one male(?) traveling close to the shore. After he moved out of sight we started again for Washington Park. Another whale surprised us be surfacing close to the kayaks. We rafted together and watched as several small groups of orcas passed by us heading south around Burrows and Allen Islands We counted approximately 10-12 orcas and there seemed to be a small one. They were traveling quite spread out across the strait (ie. a large wide group, not following single file). This was approximately 10:15am. They seemed to be traveling. One breeched but the others only surfaced to breathe as they were swimming. Other than the first orca close to shore, we saw one other rather large fin in the group. We encountered orcas in Rosario Strait once before, approx 2 years ago, on the south side of James Island. They were quite far away that time. Unfortunately all efforts to get a picture were unsuccessful. Also wanted to mention that there didn't seem to be any boats following this group or any boats in the area, in fact only one motor boat even noticed the first orca, and he stopped his engine to let him swim through.
Donna Garland
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~7:15 am: Transient orcas, T68's in Fortune Channel, Tofino for the 2nd day.
Claire Mosley
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Just observed a humpback off Pt. Defiance in Commencement Bay at about noon. It appeared to be feeding. It surfaced several times then disappeared for about 15 minutes. Next time it surfaced it was at the north end of the Narrows and looked to be heading South towards the bridges. Nice!
Dave Calhoun, Tacoma, WA
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About 30 Harbor Porpoise in Port Madison Bay (between Indianola and Suquamish) this morning. I've seen them several times recently but with the very calm waters this morning it is easy to spot them and see how many there are. Seem to be calmly feeding.
Jean Boyle, Owner/Operator, Kitsap Tours Limited
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Around 3 pm unknown large number of Pacific White Sided Dolphins in Sutil Channel by Whaletown, Cortez Island. I only caught part of the radio transmission so uncertain who reported it.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of Powell River BC
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12 pm: Numerous Dall's Porpoise playfully bow and wake riding by Hole in the Wall, just below the Yuculta Rapids. (Probably happy the Transient Orca were gone - SM).
Fog Horn Jeff, Painter's Lodge from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of Powell River BC

June 11, 2011

A group of 5-10 orcas passed by the south end of Lopez Island going west around 12:15 pm.
Jen Reeve, Lopez Island, WA
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5:30 pm: 30+ Pacific White Sided Dolphins were just outside of Okisollo Channel into Discovery Channel bow and wake riding.
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of Powell River
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Lots of Dall's Porpoises: Between 2:20 pm and 3 pm - Some came by to bow ride for a short run close to Hole in the Wall, Calm Channel, then another two were spotted by Rendezvous Islands and another 5 zipped about as we started to head down Whale Channel (or is that Whale Passage? - SM) from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of Powell River BC
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9:20 am: a Harbour Porpoise was spotted by Squirrel Cove, Cortez Island just before we heard the Orca were behind us and we turned back to locate them. From Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of Powell River BC
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I saw all those Harbor Porpoise again. From 5-6 pm watched at least a couple dozen spread out mid channel in small groups in Puget Sound and southern Possession sound. Watched from Edmonds as they foraged, presumably on those thousands of little jumping fish that cover the water.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Shoreline, WA
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6 pm: Received an update via Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching that Jen saw Dusty the Gray Whale in Seymout Narrows heading Northward. Earlier in the day, around 2 pm, someone over the radio said there was a Gray Whale out in front of the Rona Store in Campbell River.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
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~9:45 pm: pretty sure I just saw a lone male orca heading north up through the gulf islands, around otter bay area whilst i was on the ferry to Victoria from Vancouver, B.C.
Mercedes Powell
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8 pm: 5 Transient Orca (same ones from earlier in the day) by Atrevida Reef then Harwood Island then Westview, Powell River heading Southward towards Grief Point. Looked like they had a snack when they were closer to Harwood Island. I received a couple of "can you see them" calls thanks to John & Joan T. and Steve G. Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC , Powell River, B.C.
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T68's in Browning Passage and up Tofino Inlet last night at 6pm.
Claire Mosley
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2:30 pm and 3 pm reports of Orca by Savary Island, Mace Point then closer to the Iron Mines on the mainland side. Looked like they were heading in a Northerly direction. (These were the same Transient whales that were seen earlier in the day as well as the ones that headed South this evening. - SM)
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
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Two Transient Orca Encounters with the same group: After entering Bute Inlet, 1 pm we saw the second group of 5 Transient Orca headed against the tidal rapids at Aaron Rapids. As Jack put it "an Orca Jacuzzi" with the whirlpools running. They were taking their time going through, when a little Harbour Seal drifted in, never noticing that he was headed straight into these meat hunters. The orca had their snack. The whales made it through the narrows, down past Sonora Lodge then turned back up into Bute Inlet to do it again. Around 2:45 pm they took, in spectacular fashion, I'm told, a Harbour Porpoise, again in Aaron Rapids. These Orca were left still up in that area when Garry left them.
Reports from Susan MacKay out on Campbell River Whale Watching boat and Garry from Aboriginal Journeys
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9:30 am: 5 Transient Orca just South of Twin Islands and Baker Pass between Cortez and Hernando Islands. We watched as they breached, tail lobbed and rested. There were a few vocals in between boat noise. They were between Powell Islets and Bliss Landing, by the Copeland (Ragged - local name) Islands when we left then still slowly working towards Sarah Point around 11:30 am.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
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Calls on OrcaSound hydrophones at 5:20.
Corri Heiss
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~2 pm: Sounds like the orcas are still there on Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Gina West
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Tucker (Univ. of WA's trained whale-scat detecting dog) was looking pretty chipper off Eagle Point today sniffing for anything left behind by well spread out foraging members of J pod...
Sandra Pollard SSAMN, Freeland, Whidbey Island, WA
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As the sun dissipated the daunting clouds, we encountered J-Pod near Pile Point as they headed north toward Lime Kiln Point. A few individuals breached while the rest of the group continued to move at a slow pace in a spread out formation. We were excited to identify Riptide (J-30), the alleged great-grandson of Granny (J-2), who is believed to be 100 years old and the eldest female of the entire Southern Resident Community!
Kirsten Dale, Naturalist for San Juan Safaris Whale Watching
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~11 am: cool echolocation and whistles at Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Alisa Lemire Brooks
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~11 am: Still Echolocation at Lime Kiln + 'chatter' from Orcasound.
Stewart Macintyre
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Photos taken from shore on the west side of San Juan Island as J pod traveled south.
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island, WA
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S1 calls at Orcasound hydrophones since 9:45 am. Clicks heard earlier, but not now. Appear to be foraging (long dives; direction changes), but maybe heading slowly south. One individual was only 20m from shore.
Leslie Veirs, San Juan Island, WA
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~8 am: Echolocation on the Lime Kiln hydrophone!
Monia Metzger
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Gray whales (?) having fun splashing around just south of our house, west of mutiny bay. Out pretty far but busy at the surface, lots of spouts and wallowing around. We could see 4 at one time all playing close together. I thought maybe humpbacks cause they were so long, but I didn't know we were getting them already. 4 maybe more, which made me think maybe grays after all...anybody's guess. They were too far to see close except with binocs and telescope.
Barbara Mundell, Bush Pt, Freeland, Whidbey Island, WA
hmmm - hard to tell on this one. Usually splashing/wallowing behavior is only seen by Gray whales when they are feeding close to shore in shallow water; and we have had very few Grays reported lately, I don't think there are more than 2 left around these waters now...however, there HAVE been several reports of 1 or 2 humpbacks in the area, especially around Mutiny and Useless Bays, near where this sighting took place. My best GUESS is that these were humpbacks!SB
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~4 pm: the calls on lime kiln right now, are those humpbacks?
Kate Cummings, Blue Ocean Whale Watch, Monterey Bay, CA
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The common dolphin that was reported off Olympia last Sunday is still in the area as of this morning. The individual seems to be actively feeding, although has a heavy growth of algae.
Robin Baird, Cascadia Research, Olympia, WA

June 10, 2011

An update from the NOAA Fisheries Research Team: We got our first Dtag out yesterday on J30. It recorded just under six hours of data.
Candi Emmons, NOAA Fisheries NWFSC, Seattle, WA
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Reports of L-Pod orcas south of San Juan Island, and J-Pod orcas heading north with the small flood tide in Haro Strait, led us through Spieden Channel where we started to see whales right about 1pm! Now it was slack water, the whales where swimming leisurely in tight groups, I wonder if they were resting a bit. As they approached the south end of Stuart Island they began to spread out, become more active. A young killer whale spy hopped, then the youngsters started breaching about 8 times (see photo below), with 2 of the whales coming out of the water at the same time, leaving twin splashes!! They did this twice! A few tail fluke slaps as they swam closer to shore. Then J-27 Blackberry and a female starting circling, making several direction changes, hunting for salmon! At Turn Point, the orcas decided to go right, into Boundary Pass, we left them heading northeast. Able to ID J-17, J-22 with J-38 & J-32, J-27, J-34, J-28, J-14, J-26.
Caroline Armon, Marine Naturalist, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions
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We met up with members of J pod just south of Stuart Island around 12:45 today. They were separated into a few tight groups, one with about 10 individuals (including 2 calves), slowly swimming northwest together. J27 Blackberry then turned back and did some 'evasive surface maneuvers' probably chasing a salmon. Two juveniles began breaching (one followed by another) as they reached Turn Point.
Heather Hill, San Juan Excursions, San Juan Island, WA
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11:00 a.m. J pod and L87 went north past Lime Kiln lighthouse, some in close and the majority in a large group about 1/2 mile from shore. About 30 minutes later two L pod whales (based on the calls over the Hps) came south past the light. In looking at my images I discovered that Lulu L-53 was one of the whales in close to shore traveling with some of the J pod whales. Of course Onyx L87 was still with J pod later to the north, but Lulu was not with them, so she was most likely one of the two who came south past the light.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island, WA
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2:30 pm: The Transient Orca were again spotted by Breton Islands, Hoskyn Channel. the ferry was kind enough to report this sighting to Aaron, Campbell River Whale Watching. The whales did, however disappear somewhere and were not spotted by the afternoon tours.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC , Powell River, B.C. 9:40 am: 4 to 5 Orca between Marina Island and Francisco Point in a general Southward direction closer to Quadra Island. There was one large male, possibly T102.
From: Garry, Aboriginal Journeys - The two above reports submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
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Late Report that around 12 Orca were Southbound down by Black Point, south of Powell River late in the day. (This is unconfirmed, but looking at the photos of yesterday's whales, they are different Transients than the ones from today)
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC , Powell River, B.C.
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1:45 pm: Approximately 50 Pacific White Sided Dolphins were by Mitlenatch Island. From Aaron, Campbell River Whale Watching
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC
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We saw a pod of 3 or 4 orcas from the tssawassen-salt spring ferry around 8pm. The orcas were located around the eastern exit of the active pass, and were apparently heading east in the straight of georgia, although they were quite far and we lost them when the ferry got into galiano island harbour.
Roland Flutet
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Orcas (Lpod) heading west past Clover Point, Victoria BC appoximately 5 pm.
Maria Chantelle Tucker, Victoria, B.C.
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We soon found a large pod of orcas who turned out to be J-pod! Rather than traveling at a quick pace, they were spread out and swimming in smaller groups towards the east. With passengers' photos, we were able to identify two males--Mike and Blackberry--and a female, Spieden. We saw the whales breaching and even a spy-hop from one particularly curious individual. While we were out with the whales, we learned that a research group had just placed a suction-cup tag on the male J-30, Riptide and were hoping to put a tag on a second whale.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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2:35 PM Single call on the Lime Kiln Hydrophone. My first live call!
Carter Cortelyou
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Sandy Buckley on San Juan Island just reported L pod heading north off Hannah Heights at 2 pm. J pod is milling at Turn Pt, LOTS of Ls are heading very slowly north - the calls we're now hearing at Lime Kiln are the leaders from L pod, they are spread out down to Hanah Heights, could also possibly be some Js mixed in with them. And now (2:10 pm) Sandy says they have turned south again - doing the West side shuffle! At 1:55 pm we're still hearing some faint calls on Lime Kiln.
Orca Network
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1:05 pm: Now hearing S19 calls loud at Lime Kiln (since 12:52) after noticing auto-detections of S19s at Orcasound from earlier -- 11:45-1229. Is this L pod going south in Haro Strait?
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/BeamReach, Seattle, WA
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Both Stewart Macintyre and Blue Ocean Whale Watch reported hearing faint vocals on Lime Kiln hydrophones at 11 am.
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2 large groups of Orcas this morning at 0600 off Beecher Bay, near Sooke, BC (S. Vancouver Island). 1 group heading West and the other East bound.
Russ Nicks
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Carolyn Mercer of Greenbank reported two gray whales in Saratoga Passage between Greenbank and Camano Island, headed north at 7:19 this morning.
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Jill Hein called to report that Clarence had seen one Gray whale about 300 yards off Harrington Lagoon, near Coupeville, Whidbey Island, WA at about 3:45 pm, heading south.

June 9, 2011

4:50 pm: A Gray Whale was spotted hugging the shoreline close to Brown's Bay above Campbell River heading in a South-East direction.
Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching, submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
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Amazing night out on the water with the J's!!! We had them all to ourselves, and they surrounded us on all sides of the boat, just continuous breaches, cartwheels, tail-lobs, everything! the calves breaching too, it was amazing! breaches right next to the boat!! oh wow, what a night!
Mercedes Powell, Victoria, B.C.
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9:16 pm: orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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J pod traveled south along the west side of San Juan Island.
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island, WA
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Noticing some sailboats clustering in Shilshole Bay (N of Seattle, WA) about 6:30 tonight, our daughter spotted a dorsal fin using our spotting scope. My wife and I also watched the orca, appearing to be a small female or youngster, for a period of time. Definitely too big for Dall's porpoise, and had the shape of a female dorsal fin. Since there was only one orca fin visible, we wonder whether this may not have been a transient, which might have been attracted by our considerable colony of sea lions. Another craft in the immediate area appeared to be a monitoring vessel. More orcas to come, we hope!
Kerry, Judy and Katie Kirking, Seattle, WA
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We headed out on our 10am tour and made our way towards Constance Bank after receiving a report of a lone Male Orca being seen in that area at 8.30am by one of the local fishing charters. Then we received a report that T20 & T21 had been sighted north of Beaumont Shoals, so off we headed in that direction. As we arrived on scene just off Lime Kiln we witnessed the two Transient Orcas make a kill, their prey this time being a Harbor Porpoise. We sat for several minutes as the T20 & T21 devoured the Porpoise between them and then headed off towards Kelp Reef!
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching, Victoria, B.C.
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My matie Mike reported seeing a humpback twice off of Useless Bay this afternoon (around 16:30).
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach, Seattle, WA
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Just south of Constance Bank our Captain (Trev) stopped the boat and used his binoculars to scour the area and spotted a Humpback Whale 5 miles South East of Constance Bank heading west. We followed the Humpback for a while as it continued to travel west.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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J pod calls on the Lime Kiln OrcaSound hydrophones (8 pm - & still a few calls at 9 pm).
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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~7:45 pm: Some faint calls coming in and out on the Lime Kiln hydrophone right now.
Morticia Sebastian Michaelis Hensley
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~6:45 pm: Starting about a half an hour ago to just now I watched J pod swim south from Hannah Heights to False Bay. IDs of Granny, Riptide and a mother with a baby.
Melisa Pinnow, San Juan Island, WA
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~5:15 pm: Calls on Orcasound just started, with echolocation too. 5:14 pm, J pod. More J calls on Lime Kiln now, 5:34 pm. Echolocation on Lime Kiln now, heading south at ~6:15 pm.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales called to say he was on the NOAA Research boat today, and they were with J pod part of the day. J pod was up off Pt. Roberts in the morning, then at Monarch Head around 1 or 2, then off San Juan Island again this evening. He had identified J14, 16, 22, and 27.
*
We had J pod a couple miles north of East Point in the Strait of Georgia. They were a big spread, but tons of breaching everywhere you looked.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Another great day with J pod in the same area we had them yesterday (~7 miles from Deer Harbor, Orcas Island). I also just heard there are "many whales inbound at Otter Point". Translation: the return of maybe K and L pod. Exciting trip coming up tomorrow to see who's back.
Deer Harbor Charters, Orcas Island, WA
*
J pod was present and playful today! We first saw the orcas at Saturna Island's East Point as both juveniles and adults took turns breaching, lob tailing and spy hopping as they slowly made their way east. Two mature males were in the lead for some time, which we believe to be the pod-mates Blackberry (J-27) and Mike (J-26).
Kirsten, naturalist for San Juan Safaris Whale Watching
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~12:40 AM: Orcasound (hydrophone) is SOOOO loud right now! And clear!
Jennifer Godfrey
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales had heard reports of a few Transients around the Salish Sea today, but no further details so far.
*
I just went out to look for the reported Northern Lights show and was, instead, gifted with the unmistakable sound of a feeding Gray just below the bluff (Saratoga Passage, near East Pt/Baby Island)!!
Nancy Nolan, Langley, Whidbey Island, WA

June 8, 2011

Ken Balcomb and Candice Smith of the Center for Whale Research encountered J's off Mitchell Bay at 4:55 p.m. The whales were spread out and heading quickly south. The encounter ended at 5:37 p.m. just south of Smugglers Cove on the west side of San Juan Island. The whales continued to head south.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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11:55 pm: Calls on OrcaSound Hydrophones. 12:00 am - weak calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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~11:45 PM: Calls on Neah bay hydrophone right now.
Valleen Gugel
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~10:45 PM: There's some interesting sounds coming from Neah Bay (hydrophone) right now.
Darryl Luscombe
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10:20 pm: Getting some faint calls on OrcaSound right now.
Jesika McEvoy
*
From there we headed across the border at Boundary Pass and had everyone on board helping us look for signs of orca. Spread out from just about East Point all the way to Turn point we had orca! There were so many that we had the ability to watch one group for a while, and then observe another group, and then another. One lucky passenger even got a picture of a spyhop!
San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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We were very delighted to see J-Pod orcas heading west, with the small ebbing tide in Boundary Pass, closer to Saturna Island, Canada, at about 1:45pm. They were spread out from shore to about halfway out in the pass. J-2 Granny was in the lead, all by herself. Happy 100th Birthday! and poignant seeing her without J-1 Ruffles. Following J-2, I think J-8 Spieden was in the next group of 2 to 3 killer whales with J-26 Mike. The wonderful sunshine reflected off of their backs, making it hard to identify saddle patches. There were 2 more males with groups out in the pass, then J-30 Riptide with a calf and 2 females swam near shore and looked like they may be hunting salmon in the reef-rock rips as they circled a bit and the youngster did a tail fluke slap. It's close to 3pm now, time to head back, when the calf spy hops and breaches!
Caroline Armon, Marine Naturalist, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions
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Wednesday night around 800p we heard a Gray Whale blowing north of Langley, but could not see the whale.
Teri McMillen, Langley, Whidbey Island, WA
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Listening NOW (9:30 pm) to J pod calls on the Lime Kiln OrcaSound hydrophones - and STILL, now on the OrcaSound hydrophones north of Lime Kiln, 10:15 pm - great music to do the whale report by!
Susan & Howard, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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Orca calls at OrcaSound at 9:33 pm. Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones, 8:57 pm (they must be doing the West Side Shuffle tonight!).
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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I just saw J pod go past False Bay, San Juan Island, at 6:40 pm, heading south, very very spread out and far from shore.
Melisa Pinnow, San Juan Island, WA
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Orcas on Lime Kiln hydrophone. Started around 5:30--some squeaks, lots of echolocation, and a few calls that sounded like J's.
Gayle Swigart, Olympia, WA
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Whales (orcas - J pod) off East Point, Saturna Island BC today.
Jill Hein, Coupeville, WA

June 7, 2011

Ken Balcomb and Candice Smith of the Center for Whale Research encountered T18 and the T19's just off Smuggler's Cove on the west side of San Juan Island at 6:21 p.m. The whales were traveling in loose groups heading north. The encounter ended off Kellett Bluff at 6:39 p.m. with the whales still moving slowly north.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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~11:30 pm: Many people report hearing J pod calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones. 11:30 pm: Calls are on Orcasound now too.
Michelle Savoie
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Orcas at Lime Kiln, 10:16 pm; and still at Lime Kiln, 11:08 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Calls at Lime Kiln just started! 10:00 pm . Definitely J pod.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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We hear that four Orcas are at Lime Kiln. We all ran to the head and went back out in time to see the Transient Orcas T18 and the T19s, take a Dall's Porpoise off of Mitchell Pt., West Side, San Juan Island in Haro Strait. 5:00 PM.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island, WA
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10 am: The early morning run up Bute Inlet to the Orford River came across the stealthy 5 Transient Orca. They've been in the area for quite a while. They were by Clipper Point heading out of Bute Inlet towards Calm Channel.
Laura and Garry, Aboriginal Journeys from Susan MacKay's Whales and Dolphins of BC report, Powell River, B.C.
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At 9:15 pm a gray whale swam in from the northwest and started feeding NW of Langley on Whidbey. I've been watching it in the dusk and listening to it rigorously feed in the shallow water with lots of splashing. It is now 10:20 and I can still hear the whale feeding!
Veronica von Allworden, NW Langley
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Tonight Simon and I have been listening to what sounds like a large, single GRAY WHALE feeding in the shallow waters along Langley's shoreline parallel to First St, specifically at the bottom of Park Avenue. It sounds exactly like Veronica von Allworden's description from last night. Tonight's visit began about 9:30pm and lasted about 20-30 minutes. The whale's breathing sounded vigorous and healthy, and exactly as it does when we've heard them feed in previous years.
Sharen Heath, Langley, Whidbey Island, WA
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At 5:45 pm Jeff LaMarche of Eagle Wing Tours called reporting the residents had reached Secretary Island, 6.5 miles wast of Race Rocks. He said they were very playful, and the pods had been identified as J and L pods.
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales called at 5:20 pm to relay a report of many residents coming in past Otter Point, S. Vancouver Island, a half hour earlier (4:50 pm).
*
Near Kelp Reef, Haro St. at 1802, 4 Transients just took out a Dall's porpoise. A few minutes later I began picking up calls at 1803 on OrcaSound hydrophones - lasted about 3 minutes then ship noise.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Orca Network received a call at 10 AM this morning from Tracy Vanadisso, reporting a gray whale feeding at Sandy Pt. headed toward Langley.

June 6, 2011

We went south to Salmon Bank at about 1pm, and really enjoyed watching 2 to 4 Minke Whales, until about 2pm, in calm, slack water. Steller Sea Lions, California Sea Lions, and Harbor Seals sun-warming on Whale Rocks. Harbor Porpoise in San Juan Channel, and a variety of marine birds and Bald Eagles on Long Island and Whale Rocks! I say 2 to 4 Minkes, as they were "slinky", diving and surfacing in their typical, unpredictable pattern, so not sure if we saw the same whale!
Caroline Armon, Marine Naturalist, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions
*
Perfectly calm waters and a crescent moon, then that thrilling WOOOSH about 30 yards from our deck- closer than ever- about midnight tonight upon returning from Krishna Das in Seattle. A single gray whale. What better chant than this! Judyth Reichenberg, Langley, Whidbey Island, WA
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We have not had many gray whales feeding in front of Langley this "gray whale" season. But from 10:30 Pm to 11:45 PM I listened to a whale breathing and splashing as it fed for over an hour NW of Langley on Whidbey Island. Today there were lines of feeding pits quite close to the bluff.
Veronica von Allworden, NW Langley, Whidbey Island, WA
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A Gray whale is feeding in Saratoga Passage just north of Langley
Teri McMillen.
*
One Male orca mid afternoon in the bay at Depoe Bay, OR.
Carrie Newell, Whale Research EcoExcursions, Depoe Bay, OR
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Orca north bound along Marina Island this morning at 8:00 am.
(courtesy of Richard Brookers of Painter's Lodge), forwarded by Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching & submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales & Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC
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Humpback whale (ID BCY0324 aka "Mama) feeding south of Victoria . She has been seen feeding in the area since Friday June 3. She was the first humpback whale that I catalogued in 1999 near Race Rocks. She has since brought at least 2 calves to the area, last year her most recent.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria B.C.
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Dan Ducic called from Salt Point, near Stewards Point, in Sonoma County CA, to report seeing three whales he believed to be orcas, at 10 AM this morning. He said they were 20-30 feet long, with tall dorsal fins, but he thought he saw white tips on the dorsals. He said they were about 100 yards from shore, "playing" and moving gradually northward.
*
5:30am gray south bound past Langley.
Drew Dixon
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Nicole Abeln posted on our Facebook page the photo below of two Minkes, taken at Salmon Bank.
*
Once through the pass we cruised straight out toward salmon bank. A minke whale surfaced next to an aggregation of birds, undoubtedly stealing away a portion of their hard earned fish. We watched as the sleek, stealthy animal surfaced a few more times and then slid below the surface. We observed a second minke surface about a half a mile further out. They changed direction with every dive and were constantly on the move.
Laura, naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA

June 5, 2011

Thanks to some photos recently received, we have identified the mystery marine mammal sighted near Boston Harbor and Burfoot Beach as a common dolphin, a species that is not commonly found in Washington waters. From the photos we were not able to tell if it is a short or long-beaked common dolphin. Thanks for sending in the sightings!
Robin Baird, Cascadia Research, Olympia, WA
*
I saw what I believe was a Minke whale. It was in the Canadian waters between Port Angeles and Victoria in the vicinity of Coyote Bank. It was feeding, heading in an easterly direction. There were also lots and lots (perhaps 150) of harbor porpoises between Victoria and Anacortes.
Raymond Timm, Senior Aquatic Scientist, King County Water & Land Resources
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Around 16:00 my wife and I were headed back to Des Moines Marina from Maury Island lighthouse area when we encountered 2 Minke Whales in front of our boat. We were probably 75-100 yards away from them the first time they surfaced as they traveled south toward Saltwater State Park. Garrett Lee, Seattle, WA
*
We had reports of a humpback out off Constance Bank. It didn't take long for the massive adult to come to the surface, and the long blows would echo across the water. But unlike my previous experiences with humpbacks, this one would take 2 short dives, dive for about a minute or two and then surface again (see photo below). It was almost as if it were in some type of resting pattern, as it made very little headway in it's travel. Too soon it was time to head back, but we did manage to find some time to compare this Mysticete with another--a minke whale that was actively feeding near Salmon Bank.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Explorer, San Juan Island, WA
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We headed out toward the Strait of Juan de Fuca on glassy, calm water. After an hour of eye-straining binocular use a blow appeared in the distance. A large, dark body rose to the surface. My old friend the humpback whale. Knowing the humpback's penchant for lengthy dives I started to explain the incredible breath holding abilities of the species. Just then, as if to prove me wrong, the whale surfaced. On the way back in we spotted another black body at the surface. This time there was no visible exhalation, which could only mean...minke. Species number two! As we were moving in for a better look a second Minke surfaced about 200 yards off our starboard side.
Laura, naturalist, san juan safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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Gray Whale sighted feeding 2 1/2 miles north of Langley headed south about 830p. We watched him for a good 45mins as he slowly makes his way south towards Langley!
Teri McMillen, Whidbey Island, WA
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1800-1830 Bells Beach: Grey with LOTS of speckled white on his body and L flipper was more than 50% bright white. Fed for 30 plus minutes heading towards Langley.
Margaret (Peggy) Sullivan, Bells Beach/Langley, Whidbey Island, WA

June 4, 2011

We encountered at least 80-100 Harbor porpoises feeding amidst feeding puffins in the current right of the south-east end of Lopez Island, WA from 16:50 - 17:40. The number is even conservative! (I have counted harbor porpoises for my PhD work in Norway over 6 years almost every day). The porpoises were very active, leaping and spread over at least a 1 mile area - quite impressive activity for those little guys. Those group feeding events are really fun to listen to if you have a porpoise detector - lots of buzzing activity (those buzzes are really very fast click trains just before they actually catch a fish). I just thought you might want to know about this event anyway - all the best,
Florian Graner, Ph.D., Sealife Productions, Freeland, WA
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1:50 pm: Garry found the 5 Transient Orca who seem to have a preference for staying in and around that area. They were found by Viner Point, Read Island heading slowly towards Quadra Island BC across Sutil Channel. At 3:30 pm they were last reported close to the Cape Mudge Lightstation. 11:45 am: 5 Orca in Sutil Channel around Penn Islands, from Commercial Fish Boat
Garry, Aboriginal Journeys, from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
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Christy Hynde-Bank (formerly known as 'Johnny Rotten') and calf appeared briefly off Salmon Bank around 2.00 pm, some distance away from three other minkes keen to show themselves and hang around for a while. It was a delight to see the fine, pointed rostrum of the elusive minke as one surfaced to give passengers on Mystic Sea a rare treat.
Sandra Pollard, SSAMN, Freeland, Whidbey Island
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Getting further south from the Haro Strait into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, we started to see seabirds. Then more and more seabirds. And with those seabirds there were Minke whales! With the perfectly flat calm water and light breezes, we could hear the Minke's exhale. All in all we saw four whales, with six reported in the area (one off of Lopez Island and three to five off of Salmon bank). Based on their zigzagging travel motions and their head and rostrum rises, the Minke whales appeared to be foraging, sharing fish with the seabirds. On the way home, we saw steller sea lions, harbor seals and several more harbor porpoises.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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Beautiful day on the water with abundant sunshine and calm seas in Haro Strait. Passengers on the Peregrine were thrilled to see three Minke Whales closely grouped & actively feeding.
Annie Pflueger, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
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Lori Willson called at 4:22 pm from the Kingston ferry dock to say she saw the bushy blows of the humpback out in mid-channel between Edmonds and Kingston. Later she wrote: Watched him or her the whole time I was in the ferry holding area but never found him/her from the boat. The big cruise ships were all steaming through at about the same time and I wonder if he/she got out of there until they passed.
Lori Willson, Seattle, WA

June 3, 2011

11:30 am: 5 Orca in Whale Pass by Sutil Channel from a boat, possibly commercial, over the radio. The tours tried to locate these whales, but only found Dalls Porpoises.
From Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
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On the 2:30 Kingston to Edmonds Ferry I observed 3 breaches of what appeared to be a juvenile Humpback. It was traveling east to west toward Kingston. I thought Minke for a while, but when it breached, the flippers looked too big. Any confirmations?
Rick Huey, WSF Biologist
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The clear, sunny day brought out the normally elusive harbor porpoise...and Mt. Rainier! The massive volcano, which is over a hundred miles away, was in the backdrop of as we headed through Cattle Pass. There we saw a minke whale, harbor seals, steller sea lions and many harbor porpoises. Once in the Strait of Juan de Fuca we sighted at least two other minke whales alongside many birds. Near Spieden Island a juvenile bald eagle ate a decaying seal while many others were in the top of trees or soaring above.
Kirsten, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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On the 2:30 ferry from Kingston to Edmonds. Saw Humpback or Minke whale traveling west from mid-channel. Breached 3 times. Spectacular!
Burt Miller

June 2, 2011

Orca Network received a text from Candi Emmons of NOAA Fisheries, relaying a report from Jeff saying a Humpback whale was sighted off Pt. No Point, WA (N Kitsap Peninsula) sometime in the afternoon .
*
We motored out to Salmon Bank and then Hein Bank, areas known for schools of herring and, subsequently, birds and marine mammals feeding on the abundant food source. A female and calf Minke whale were seen by other vessels in the area. At Hein Bank, we spotted several more Minkes nearby. One curious creature passed within 120 yards of our vessel, bringing its rostrum--the top of its head--out of the water a few times. It's rare that we glimpse more than the dorsal fin of a Minke whale! Despite an absence of sea birds, it is possible that these Minkes were foraging. In total, there were four animals spread out over several hundred yards. Harbor porpoises made themselves known on our trip as well, though for just a quick glimpse of a gray dorsal fin or two.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA

June 1, 2011

I saw a resident pod of orcas. There were at least 10 near Hobart Bay, AK near the five fingers lighthouse. I had a large male and a baby or two at one point. there were several Dall'sporpoises swimming a few feet in front of and behind for at least 5 minutes. That led us to believe that they were not transients as the porpoises had no fear and seemed to be playing.
John Janson, Anacortes, WA
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About 4:30 PM we again had a gray whale feeding close to shore on the high tide. I had been gone all day and as I drove in the driveway the neighbor alerted me that there was a gray whale feeding off our bluff. The light was just right to really seeing the rolling motion as it would blow, then roll on its side to feed, with much pec waving. After an extended snack, the whale then headed south rapidly, only to stop and feed again in a favorite spot several lots down. Barbara Brock, Mabana, Camano Island, WA
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Transient orcas T87, T90s, and T124A1s near Race Rocks, BC. between 2:30 and 3:30. They usually don't act like residents, but they were yesterday. We spent an hour watching them move into the 6 kt. flood tide and they didn't move.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island, WA



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