March 2011 Whale Sightings



March 31, 2011

About 4-5 pm, a neighbor alerted us that there was a whale off Snakelum Point, so Bill and I walked down to the shore. It was a single gray whale and was actively feeding east of the point, in Saratoga Passage. We watched for 30-45 minutes. Another neighbor that was there at first told us there were two whales, but it was definitely just one, very likely the same one Dan Dalmeida reported. I suspect the person on the beach near Lovejoy was mistaking the "twin fins" of fin and flukes of the side-feeding whale for two whales, as happens a lot (as you know!). It was missing the tip off at least one point of the tail, and looked like it might have had a fairly new surface wound (pinkish color) along spine between dorsal fin and tail.
Sarah Schmidt, Coupeville, Whidbey Island, WA
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Around 3:15pm there was an adult gray whale moving rapidly eastward along the southern shoreline of Penn Cove. My friend Eric Rogers and I were kayaking westward toward the Coupeville Wharf and we first spotted the whale(s) off Lovejoy at 3:15pm. We were paddling that direction and within 5 minutes and three more surfacings along the shore, it suddenly rose about 40 yards to our left (we had moved offshore when we saw it moving along the shore) and had changed directions to move offshore, directly toward us! We saw about 20 ft. of it's back and then it's fluke as it was going for a deeper dive. We paused about a minute then continued westward and never saw it again. At it's rate, it probably would have been to Snakelum Pt. by 345pm or so. Further on, we saw someone on the beach near Lovejoy who said there were actually two whales involved.
Dan Dalmeida, Whidbey Island, WA
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1925: transient calls heard briefly on Lime Kiln Hydrophones (NW San Juan Island, WA).
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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There is currently a whale between Point No Point and Norwegian Point. Our neighbor thinks it'a a Humpback. Either that or a Grey (most likely a Gray, especially given the report below from the same area).
Judy Anderson Roupe
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We had a Gray whale off Hansville this evening from about 5:30pm to 6:10pm. The whale was traveling west of the lighthouse towards Skunk Bay.
Patty Michak, MarineView Fisheries Consulting, Hansville, WA
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Saw a gray feeding in Penn Cove today. Started watching him around 2:30PM slowly moving and resurfacing every few minutes. Lost sight as he started approaching the barges.
Stasha Becker
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Marilyn Wright of Coupeville called to report a Gray whale at the end of Penn Cove, Whidbey Island at 2:22 pm.

March 30, 2011

About 6:45 PM, there was one, possibly two, Gray whales feeding off the drop-off in front of our house just south of Mabana. They stayed in the same area for 15-20 minutes.
Barbara Brock, Camano Island
PS- Unfortunately, the Shrimper showed up at the same time!
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Garry Heinrich called at 12:15 pm to report a Gray whale 200 yards off the north end of Hat/Gedney Island, heading south.
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Offshore killer whales right in front of Port McNeill (northern Vancouver Island) - spyhopping, etc. as of around 18:00 to 18:30. More information at the Marine Detective blog here.
Ellen Hartlmeier, Richmond, B.C.

March 29, 2011

Dave Ellifrit and Debbie Sharpe of the Center for Whale Research encountered T185, T185A, T186, and T187 off Sidney B.C. (48° 40.19N, 123° 20.14 W) at 1:17 pm. The whales appeared to be foraging most of the time and at approximately 2:15 they made a kill of an unknown species. There was a large slick with lots of diving gulls and milling whales. Lots of spyhops. The encounter ended just north of Coal Island (48° 42.08 N, 123° 22.54 W) at 4:07 p.m.
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We saw a group of transients east of Saturna Island, as well as several sightings of a minke whale. No other boats were in the area. I will have to look at the photos some more, but is it possible that it was a group with T137 and 137A? I am not very experienced with ID photos, but the nicks on these two seem to match. I was checking the resident catalogue as well. I put a hydrophone down and heard nothing at first, but the second time we heard several calls. Some tail lobbing. Lots of birds feeding in the area of the whales.
Sherry Kirkvold
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Southbound juvenile humpback in Haro Strait near Sidney Island.
Mark Malleson, Victoria, B.C.
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Mark Malleson photographed and reported Transient orcas T103 and T049C off of Victoria.

March 28, 2011

After the T100's and T101's passed the Center for Whale Research, NW San Juan Island, Dave Ellifrit and Debbie Sharpe departed in vessel Starlet. They encountered T100, T100C, T100E, T100B, T100B1 just south of Turn Point (48° 39.29N, 123° 14.03 W) heading north at 12:44 pm. T101A and T102 were encountered shorly after traveling seperately from the previous group. The groups merged north of Turn point (48° 45.71 N, 123° 19.42 W) and began porposing west, where the encounter ended at 2:12 p.m.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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We saw the transients off of Pender Island - on one side were the females and calves, and on the other two males. There was one boat that was definitely not behaving properly.
Sherry Kirkvold
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Around 3.30pm was one of those special days when word came in that a number of Transients were seen traveling north in Haro Strait. By the time we caught up with them in a zodiac having traveled from Victoria, they were heading toward Active Pass. There was considerable chop on the water but we could see the two little ones rise well above the waves. The two males, off on their own, appeared to hunt below the surface and what ever they caught, it was soon dispatched. Mark Malleson, our Skipper, identified the group as the T100's and the T101's with the two males, as T102 and T101A. Always awesome to see these wild and free Orca in their 'Natural' environment.
Marie, Orca-Magic, 'Prince of Whales ', Victoria BC.
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Just before noon , sighting reports started coming in of Transient (mammal eating) Orcas in Haro Strait headed toward our little harbor but soon got the call that they had been spotted north of Snug Harbor. We got to them up near Stuart Island.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island, WA
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I got a call that there were some Transient (mammal eating orcas) in Haro Strait! We first watched the three members of the T103s as they passed Stuart Island heading north. They seemed to be on a mission to head towards Pender Island, and we managed to get some very nice viewings. Then Ivan decided to go look at the other group of Transients. This group is known as the T100s, and there were six whales in this group of what appeared to be all females with two younger calves. The calves were quite the hit as they regularly and repeatedly came quite high during their surfacings!
John Boyd, Western Prince, San Juan Island, WA
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Six orcas were seen this morning from the Center for Whale Research, but no IDs yet.
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11:05 am: The Beam Reach students visiting the Lime Kiln lighthouse just spotted at least 4 killer whales off of San Juan County Park, possibly heading north. No calls heard or detected on Lime Kiln or Orcasound hydrophones.

March 27, 2011

3:43 pm - Orca calls on Lime Kiln Hydrophone.
Lon Brocklehurst, Olympia, WA
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March 26 - 27 - The past two days there are reports of two types of Orca / Killer Whales in the upper Johnstone Strait area. Transient (meat eating) Orca were seen around Lagoon Cove, close to Minstrel Island. There was a report of around 5 whales.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC
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I have a secondhand report of a gray whale feeding on the west side of Vashon at about 8 pm, just south of Fern Cove. This is probably the same gray that was feeding near Southworth earlier in the day.
Meg McDonald
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7:12 pm: Ann Casey of Whidbey Island called to say she was riding the ferry from Edmonds to Clinton when she saw two gray whales close to Possession Point.
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7:10 pm: We are watching whale spouts from our house looking west over Useless Bay! We are pretty sure they are Grays because we have not seen any dorsal fins, but they have not come very far out of the water. They are heading south but very slowly. We have seen two spouts in different locations but I'm not sure how many there are. I think they must have been feeding because they stayed in the same general area for at least 20 minutes. The lighting was just perfect which is why we could see the spouts.
Ellen Molbak-Welsch (via Facebook)
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On our way back from Coupeville today we saw another gray whale off Clinton, heading south. It seemed to be on a mission to get somewhere, surfacing frequently and even porpoising once. Our captain clocked him going 8 kts. I was able to ID it as #531 from several passenger photos of flukes.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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When I called you at 3:00pm from Mukilteo, we first spotted a blow and surfacing of a Gray whale on the south side of the Clinton ferry terminal (thanks to the slowing of the Clipper). The whale moved steadily at a swift pace southward hugging Whidbey. It held a distinctive pattern of surfacing 7 times, then the dive. Each w/healthy blows, followed by his body, and finale's of full fluke before diving 4-5 minutes. Multiple times we were rewarded with it's head breaking surface prior to the blow. We watched the whale continue south in this pattern down Possession channel in calm waters. The whale reached Possession Point at 4:00pm. We then drove to Picnic Point, Lynnwood, where we were met by a bit of a storm and now choppy waters. It took us until 5:00 to find the whale again, it was mid channel Puget Sound due west from Picnic Point (a bit west of the southbound temporary Clinton/Edmonds ferry lane). We watched this whale move/circle around in the same general area for an hour and a half until 6:30 feeding in fairly shallow water between Scatchet head and Possession pt. At 6:00 we spotted 2 other gray whales closer to Whidbey, south of the green buoy off Satchet head, moving east towards Cultus Bay. We then saw (at least) a fourth off in the distance into Admiralty/Useless Bay area heading down into the sound. When we left at 7:00pm the first whale was making it's way towards towards Whidbey and the green buoys, the 2nd two were passing Possession Point heading northeast up Possession channel hugging Whidbey and the fourth was heading in, direction southeasterly. Quite a beautiful event having, at times, 3 different blows in our binoculars in multiple places of the sound simultaneously. Sweet to think we were witnessing perhaps a mini migration down from Admiralty.
Alisa Lemire Brooks and Ed Brooks, Shoreline, WA
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Gray whale spouting and showing flukes, one-half mile south of Clinton Ferry dock, 100 yards off Columbia Beach at 3:15 pm.
Charlotte Carpenter and Mary Powers, Clinton.
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Bob at the Greenbank Post Office reported seeing a Gray whale off NW Whidbey Island, between NAS Whidbey and Rocky Pt, first headed north, then heading south, at 3 pm.
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March 26 - 27 - Offshore Orca, which are seldom seen in the inside waters below Cape Scott were confirmed to be in the Robson Bight Area on the 26th and 27th. These whales spend most of their time farther afield, and as their name implies, offshore and closer to open waters. Their vocalizations are haunting sounds that are very different to those of Resident and even Transient Orca.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC
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~12:45 - 1:30 pm: Amy Carey and Meg McDonald saw the gray whale from Vashon Island, about a half mile south of the Southworth ferry dock, still going through feeding motions.
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Stephanie Raymond on the Clipper 3 just called in a report at 11:00 and 11:25 of at at least four grays in total, two or three on the south side of Gedney (Hat) Island and two more on the north side of the island, heading south, a few miles west of Everett.
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11:45 am: Grey's at SE end of Gedney island.
Don Heminger (via Facebook)
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A gray whale has been going back and forth in shallow water near the Southworth ferry dock, just west of Vashon Island, all morning, called in by Erik Ferrel at 9:38 am.
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March 26/27 - Automated detections of calls and clicks (below) at the Orcasound hydrophone suggest they have have been north of Lime Kiln (W San Juan Island) when you heard them faintly. S1 and S4 calls with many clicks auto-recorded on OrcaSound hydrophones from 19:04 through 20:07. No auto-detections at Lime Kiln.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach, Seattle, WA
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Offshores in the Broughton Archipelago, Johnstone Strait, again TODAY!!!!
Simon Pidcock

March 26, 2011

7:50 pm: I hear the orcas (on OrcaSound hydrophone).
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island
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Heard two faint calls just now 7:48pm on Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Suzy Roebling, Florida
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Maria Mason, Jeff Mason, Linda Carnegie, and Marian Webster watched a gray whale feeding, sometimes 30' from shore, off Broomgerrie Rd. across from Skiff Point, not far from Yeomalt Pt. and Murden Cove (Bainbridge Island), from 5:30 to 8 pm (see photo above). The whale was on its side often, moving slowly in circles, blowing every few minutes, in 10' deep water over a mudflat (sounds like feeding behavior).
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They're back (Gray whales). We had one this morning around 9:30. He hung out for awhile and scratched on some old dock piers so he was close to shore but the tide was up. Now we have two rolling around out there at 3:00 pm. My husband says they have been going back and forth in the bay all afternoon. Tide is lower so they aren't as close. We have had whales almost everyday for a week.
Denika Voget, Bainbridge Island, WA
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We saw these gray whales about 10 - 11 am, at the Southeast end of Whidbey Island. We were on the Victoria Clipper Whale watching trip. Hope you can identify them. There were 3 whales, and we watched them for about an hour. It looks like the whales were #53, and possibly #356.
Jean Salmon
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Report received 8:58 am: We saw at least two Pacific White-sided dolphins from the point by the pool at Lincoln Park in West Seattle. They were north of Blake Island & we saw them surface two or three times before we lost track. No pics, alas. They had black below and smudgy grey above, and we can't be sure how large, as we have lousy binocs (this'll cause us to get better ones!), but they appeared to be 6-7 feet long. In other words, at first we thought they might be orcas, but we quickly realized that the size and coloration were all wrong. They may have been Dall's, but when we looked at the American Cetacean Society website, we both thought that what we saw looked just like a Pacific white-sided dolphin. So, we're not certain, but we think....No jumping that we saw. Quick arcing surfacing. I saw no large splashes. Wish I could tell you more, but they were quite distant. Pacific White-sided dolphins are quite unusual to see in the inland waters, but it has happened before. It is also possible these may have been Dall's or Harbor porpoise - ON
Melissa Aaron, Seattle, WA
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A little after midnight on March 25/26, we saw a post on Facebook by EJ Christiano, alerting us to Offshore orca calls being heard on OrcaLab's Orca Live hydrophones off Hanson Island, N. Vancouver Island, B.C. We tuned in at about 12:20 am, and listened for several hours - mesmerized by the strange calls of this not-often heard or seen from Orca ecotype. Unfortunately, our recording software was not cooperating on ANY of our computers, thankfully Jan Twillert in Holland managed to record the offshores picked up live March 26 in Johnstone Strait. It's highly unusual for offshores to come inshore and hang around hydrophones for several hours.
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2:10 am: They're still singing!
Nancy Nolan, Langley, WA
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Listened to the offshores in last evening from ~ 1 to 2 a.m., and I definitely have not heard a collection of calls like that before. Was a very cool way to end a very long week!
Sandi Murdock (via Facebook)
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1 am: still going! Awesome!
Tim Green (via Facebook)
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12:47 am: It's wonderful to wake up in Austria with their calls...here it's 08.47 a.m.....so great to hear something like that :)
Alexandra Py (via Facebook)
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Heard offshores about 9am here in the uk, sounds were unlike any orca sounds i've ever heard. Very interesting though :)
Kerry Webb (via Facebook)

March 25, 2011

I was in Langley at work on 1st street, saw a whale (it was closer to camano than whidbey) roughly at 48 03'31.14 N 122 23'23.46 W at around 5:40 P.M. could only detect one whale, moving southbound. and this grainy photo is what I saw:
submitted by govinda
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11:48 pm: Offshore orcas on orcalive! pretty amazing! i think this is the first time in 5 years for me to ever hear them!
E.J. Christiano (via Facebook)
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22:17: Wow...it sounds like we are listening to offshores in Robson Bight!!!! Very nice to listen to right now, no boats and very chatty :) March 26 - 00:43: The Offshores are still quite vocal in the Bight!! They are making some very neat calls :) It doesn't seem like they are in a hurry as they've been in Johnstone strait for 6 hours now!!! The last calls where around 4am and unfortunately it was hard to decipher which way they went as there was very loud boat noise.
Marie & Leah, OrcaLab/Orca-Live
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~11:35 am: There has been a lone gray whale at (Elger Bay SW Camano Island) for probably an hour and a half, just feeding.
Bill Guns
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We had a single large adult Gray feeding in Elger Bay, off Camano Island around 8:30 this morning. Based on feeding pits I saw at low tide a day earlier, I would say this is our second visit this season.
Peter DeLuca, Camano Island, WA

March 24, 2011

Maria Mason and others saw four orcas off Pt. Robinson on Vashon Island at 9:30 am, headed toward Tacoma. This matches the 2nd hand report Amy Carey called in on Thursday as well, so it's great to have this sighting confirmed! Likely Transients due to the number of orcas and the fact they were so sneaky that not many folks saw them.
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Here are a few pictures from yesterday 24-Mar-11. We saw 6-10 killer whales (best guess 8 total) at 15:00 near Umatilla Reef W 48 11.90 N 124 44.89. The group was pretty spread out and we attempted photo ID of individuals (possibly K-pod group?) We would really appreciate getting back the ID of these whales for our records!
Adrianne Akmajian, Marine Mammal Technician,
Makah Fisheries Management
Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research confirmed the ID's of these as K pod whales, positively ID'd from the photos are K12, K22, K26, and K33. Ks usually aren't around this time of year, but we have records of K and J pods off San Juan Island April 20-21, 2001; and in 2006 K and L pods were in south Puget Sound March 3rd, Possession Sound March 5th and off the WA coast March 31st.
Orca Network
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We heard a rumor that maybe some Transients were off the Victoria waterfront "somewhere". By the time we were on-scene, we were in sight of the Race Rocks Lighthouse, but it was cool to see T103 and the T30s on the prowl. As we slowly approached, we got a very strong whiff of harbor seal, which T103 had just dispatched prior to our arrival. There was still a sheen on the water, and it was a reminder of the power of these animals. The whales then began doing as Transients are known to do--lots of long, erratic dives, being totally unpredictable, and yet it was great watching our passengers get into trying to figure out where they'd surface next. We left the whales slowly trending back towards Victoria.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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I spotted T103 and the T30's south of Constance Bank. They spent the day foraging throughout the area. T103 was last seen heading south west near Race Rocks and the T30's were tracking back to the north east towards Victoria late afternoon.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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March 21 - 24 - I can finally say we have some Pacific White Sided Dolphins returning to the area! Although it was a second hand report and received only last evening, Some (I didn't get any numbers) Pacific White Sided Dolphins joined up with the Comox ferry on one of it's afternoon runs to Powell River to wake ride for a short time on either Monday the 21st or Tuesday the 22nd of March. They never made it as far as Powell River and there was no direction passed on to me. With sightings of the dolphins in the Howe Sound area around Vancouver, I can assume that these ones were headed towards one of their favorite spots around Cortez and Marina Islands below Campbell River.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC Blog, Powell River, B.C.
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Gray Whales #53 and #723 off the south end of Hat Island at ~ 12:45 pm. Moving slowly, surfacing together.
Annette Colombini
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Two grays feeding at Kayak Point in Port Susan at 8:15 this morning. Moving north toward Warm Beach.
Gary Lingenfelter
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One Gray whale in rolling bay, Bainbridge island close to shore yesterday (Wednesday) and today. Both times around 7:00 am.
Denika Voget, Bainbridge Island, WA
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Orca Network received a call from Whitney Neugebauer reporting four Transient orcas heading north at Ecola State Park, north of Cannon Beach, OR at 11:40 am this morning.
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Just Now (~6:15 pm) at least 2 orcas in Port Angeles Harbor, heading east, they came from the inner harbor where the coho is docked.
Joe Dlugo (via Facebook)
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Sighted small orca pod off Soames Point (north of Vancouver), traveling SW towards Gibsons Harbour and out into Georgia Strait at 3:45 pm. Two juveniles seen plus two adults (minimum). Not feeding, but travelling fast. Light breeze, but more wind out in Strait.
Jo Hammond
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9:40 am we received a call from Amy Carey of Vashon Island, relaying a report from a friend of four orcas off Pt. Robinson, Maury Island. She went out to find them but didn't have any luck.

March 23, 2011

Mark Malleson called to report that J pod was sighted north of Point Doughty, Orcas Island heading west toward President's Channel between Orcas and Waldron Island. Ken, Erin Corra, and Gail Richard from the Center for Whale Research responded in "Orca Starlet", and at 1554 encountered the entire pod and L87 in several slow traveling sub-groups near Point Disney, Waldron Island. The sub-groups surfaced asynchronously, but were all heading in more or less the same direction - across President's Channel toward Jones Island. They were not obviously feeding, and gave the impression that they were on the cusp of resting, so we simply took proof of presence photographs and left them at 1630 to return to Snug Harbor via Speiden Channel. J1, of course, was still missing and we have given up hope that he is anywhere alive. J28 and her baby, J46 "Star" were looking fine, as were grandma J17, her baby J44, and sister J35 and her baby J47 "Looker". The whales changed direction several times and headed toward Speiden Channel after we left.
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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From Kim and Karl of the Cove, forwarded by Jim Maya: [Orcas] in our channel (President, between Orcas and Waldron Islands) right out front of here yesterday evening about 6pm! They hung around foraging for about 30 minutes. It was so quiet except for the sounds of their blows & the sea lions roaring across the way.
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J's south bound along the shoreline of Waldron Island in President's Channel.
Mark Malleson, Victoria, B.C.
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Gail Fleming reported finding whale feeding pits at low tide at the edge of Edgecliff, south of Langley, but not in the cove near Sandy Pt.
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John Rogstad from WA State Ferries called at 1:15 pm to say there are four gray whales just southeast of Hat Island, near a burning boat. The ferry crew helped put out the fire
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Mark Malleson of Victoria, B.C. relayed a report of two humpbacks off Victoria at ~ 1 pm today.
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At 9:30 this morning, the two orcas have returned, sighted from our windows facing west on The Landing, due east of the Black Ball ferry terminal.
Ed Bowlby, Research Coordinator, NOAA, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

March 22, 2011

I saw a whale just off the shore of the North end of Lincoln Park around 5:30 - 6ish. Single, very large. I only saw large, dark back surface after a spray caught my attention. Only 20 or 30ft from shore.
Chris Greenhow, Seattle, WA
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I saw 2 orcas (one large, one small) close to shore in Port Angeles this evening around 6:30PM.
Kelly Watkins
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These beautiful Orcas were in the Port Angeles harbor around 6 pm this evening. They played by the Coho ferry then jaunted across the harbor, coming within 50 feet of the city pier. What an amazing experience!
Laura Costello (via Facebook)
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3 orcas just came by (5 pm) fox spit heading west close to shore (Saratoga Passage, bet. Whidbey & Camano Islands).
Gloria Maxwell (via Facebook)
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Mark Mallseon of Victoria, B.C. had Transient orcas T87, T88, T90's, T30's and T124's, about 12 in all, from Trial Island about 11 am, traveling east to Middle Bank, still headed toward Salmon Bank. He left them at 3:15 pm.
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While walking the coastal trail I observed two orcas traveling west into Port Angeles harbor at 2:30 p.m. One distinct bull and one female or immature. I presumed they were transients but made no attempt at ID, since restricted to observing from shore at a distance. By the time I returned to our waterfront office, they were milling between the commercial pier and a floating log boom. Our local paper caught some good images, on-line version here.
Ed Bowlby, Research Coordinator, NOAA, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
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6:53 pm - One gray whale, spotted about 50-75 yards from shore, about 1/2 mile north of Langley, Whidbey Island. S/he was swimming slowly down Saratoga Passage and surfaced six times over about 5-10 minutes, releasing air from a blow hole - the noise drew my attention. Then s/he did a small tail flip and disappeared from sight. Beautiful!
Kate Davies
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Resident gray whale Patche headed south in Saratoga Passage past Langley at about 630p tonight!
Teri McMillen (via Facebook)
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A gray whale spouted two miles out from the Clinton ferry dock, between Hat Island and Everett, about 11:45 am on Tuesday, March 22, 2011. A whale watching tour boat is stopped near it.
Mary Powers, Clinton, Whidey Island, WA
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Went out with Island Adventures today. Saw 3 grey whales near Hat Island, including Patch and Little Patch! One Tail and one Spyhop.
Jamie Castro (via Facebook)
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Small group of (orcas?) passing south in Rosario Strait, west side of Peapod Rocks, ~9:15 pm. What a treat tonite. All we can see are black masses and hear their blow holes.
Susan Anderson
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5:30-6:30 p.m.- our first orca sighting off Lummi Island this year! - group of 12-15 off Village Pt. - VERY spread out and milling, back and forth - some lunging, tail lobs -mostly way out in the channel, between Lummi and Orcas/Matia islands - a couple of good sized males - no clear direction of travel at this time. Beautiful spring evening, calm water, no wind- could hear their breaths across the water - hopefully will see more of them soon!
Penny Stone, Lummi Island, WA
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I've been hoping sometime I'd have an orca sighting to report, and today is the day! A few passengers on the 6:00 pm sailing from Anacortes to Friday Harbor this evening had an unexpected and nice surprise. I was sitting close to the front on the starboard side of the Kaleetan just as she was leaving Rosario Strait and entering Thatcher pass (in the vicinity of the navigational marker on Lawson Rock,) I was looking over towards Blakely and thought I saw a fin in the distance Sure enough, it surfaced again. I had binoculars with me and while I was trying to get them out of my bag, I looked up again, and two different orcas surfaced just forward of where I was sitting, heading east, and no more than 20 -30 yards from the ferry. I expected the ferry to slow down, but whoever was on the bridge must not have seen them, as they kept going. The whales only surfaced that one time and we didn't see them again.
Susan Muckle, Lopez Island, WA

March 21, 2011

Seven orcas spent the day close to shore at Peninsula Valdez, Patagonia, Argentina.

March 20, 2011

Four orca whales passing north through Rosario Strait west of Peapod Rocks, Orcas Island, WA, at ~4:15 pm.
Susan, Orcas Island
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2:45 pm - Judy Lynn called to say there's a gray whale in Penn Cove again, same place as yesterday, between the San de Fuca dock and the Capt. Whidbey Inn, right where it was yesterday afternoon.
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Seems to be two Grey whales in the west end of penn cove @ 2: 30 today. Lots of spouts - views of backs as they dive. What fun! The whales are back!
Carrie Lavery, Whidbey Island, WA
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Buzz Mersereau called in a sighting of a gray whale going north a third of the way way between Pebble Beach and Langley at 2:10 pm.
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~11:20 am: Grey spotted north shore of hat island by Victoria clipper 3
Don Heminger (via Facebook)
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The captain of the Victoria Clipper called at 10:50 am to report 2 grays on the north end of Hat Island. Clipper naturalist Stephanie Raymond called at 11:19 to report 2 grays on the west side of Hat Island, WA.
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This morning at 8:20 AM, Patch #49 came by, moving from the NW towards Langley. He was feeding pretty close to the drop off and then headed out across Saratoga Passage to Camano Island. He had a small flock of 25-30 scooters trailing behind him while he was close to shore. It's now 8:50 AM and Patch, #49, is mid channel between Langley and Camano Head headed to the southeast, towards Hat Island.
Veronica von Allworden, NW Langley

March 19, 2011

A friend just posted "Grey whale surfacing at the end of Penn Cove." at 7:50 pm.
Cynthia Vick Allen (via Facebook)
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7:30pm - We went down to Point No Point (Hansville, WA) to watch the full moon rise. While waiting we watch a group of 4 sea lions feeding and playing in the turning tide. We also observed some harbor seals feeding in the same area and possibly a group of river otters. Suddenly there was a commotion and the seals went under just as a large flipper rolled up. A grey whale was feeding there too...it was the McDonlads of the Sound, everyone was eating very well tonight! This went on for about 30 minutes until the moon rose. We saw the grey whale rise about four times before he headed west along the shoreline. We saw his dorsal ridge, a bit of fluke and heard several good, loud breathes. So your prediction of whales swimming through the moonglow on the water came true.
Kate Higgins, Hansville WA (Point No Point area)
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7 pm - We saw a single Gray feeding in Penn Cove near the pottery store and mussel pier at San de Fuca (Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, WA).. There is a single sailboat moored offshore that the whale was staying within 100 yards of.
Christine Miller, Whidbey Island, WA
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Sammye Kempbell of Whidbey Island called to say she was watching at least one gray whale in Penn Cove, well in between San De Fuca and the Capt. Whidbey Inn at about 6:50 pm. It's been there for at least an hour. No obvious feeding, unless it's below the surface during this high tide.
*
Coming back from a beautiful day in Seattle, we happened upon a gray whale feeding at the bottom of Penn Cove today around 6:30pm. Will send in photos if any are worthy. My neighbor said that he's been feeding below our cliff all day today right across from Coupeville!
Charles Frosolone, Whidbey Island, WA
*
We were out having a picnic at the point south of Grannies Beach on San Juan Island yesterday afternoon. After an hour or so of watching Surf Scoters, Pacific loons, Grebes and Harlequins we ventured into the next cove to explore. We both were surprised to hear the sound of a whale blow; we spun around quickly in time to see a Gray Whale surface very close to shore. This was around 5:30pm. We climbed to a higher viewing point and watched it surface a few more times (a couple of fluke up dives) then headed down to Cattle Point. About 6:30pm we saw it surface a couple more times NE of the Salmon Bank marker headed east.
Alison & Bill Engle, Naturalists from San Juan Island
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Around 6:00 P.M, one grey whale near San De Fuca (Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, WA).
Doug and Donna, Whidbey Island, WA
*
We weren't out long off the Victoria water-front when word came that a Gray Whale could be seen, and luck was with us! Around 1pm we caught site of its bushy blow against the skyline of Victoria.We watched this Baleen whale take two-three breaths at the surface and then lift its flukes for a deeper dive (see photo above). Attached pic is cropped to show some of the markings of this individual. It was the Ocean Magic's first trip out for the season and our luck continued.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
*
Our eagle eye shore spotter Gord of Prince of Whales spotted a north bound Gray ) from his perch 3 miles south west of Ogden Point at 1250.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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About 9:00 AM Saturday, two small gray whales were sighted on Mutiny Bay near the boat ramp. They were traveling generally north while playing and circling each other. They were fairly close to shore and in shallow water.
Bob & Katie Harper, Freeland
*
I just wanted to pass on that my wife and I watched a grey whale feeding on the east side of Elger Bay (west Camano Island, WA) at about 8 am this morning for about half an hour.
Mike and Michelle Mineart, Camano Shores on Camano Island
*
Thanks to Ivan Reiff on the Western Prince we were able to view J pod on Saturday afternoon north east of Turn Pt. They were in a resting formation traveling north for East Pt. It looked as though the J16's along with J2 and J8 were not present.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
*
We traveled north up Haro Strait, and encountered several members of J Pod, in a resting formation, heading toward Boundary Pass at 2.30pm. J27, J17, J28 and her little one, J46, could be seen. It appeared that only half of J Pod were traveling in this group at this time.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, 'Orca-Magic' Prince of Whales, Victoria BC.
*
Js going N.E. in Boundary Ch. about Java Rocks at 1606.
Ron Bates, MMRG, Victoria, BC
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First a trip to Speiden Island. As we scanned Haro Strait, there were almost a dozen dorsal fins about 3/4 of a mile in front of us!!! But imagine our surprise when the first whale that came clearly into view wasn't a transient like I suspected, but J28 and her calf!!! RESIDENTS!!! Soon we were seeing lots of familiar dorsal fins--J28 Polaris and her calf J46 Star. J27 Blackberry. J22 Oreo, and her getting-bigger-everyday son J34 Double Stuff. It was so magical. The whales were heading for Turn Point when suddenly they all turned east and headed towards Eastpoint.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
*
9 am: Again south side of Hat Island, watched numerous blows as presumably single gray whale headed west toward Clinton. Closer to ferry lanes than yesterday. Watched blows from 2 distinct grays(?) SE of Hat Island around noon today for 20 minutes or more.
Mary Dulin

March 18, 2011

1:20 pm. Saw gray whale south of Hat Island, moving west. Watched him just moving along. Traveled along the surface for awhile and then dove. Too far away to get any identification.
Mary Dulin
*
A gray whale is feeding close to shore near the mouth of Holmes Harbor, between Baby Island and Fox Spit, at 12:30.
Mrs. Skele
*
A single automated detection this morning suggests contains 3 So. Resident Killer Whale (S1 or S2) calls, likely from J pod, at 5:37 am.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach, Seattle, WA

March 17, 2011

I went for a flight at about 5:30 and spotted two gray whales feeding near the big marina marker NE of Hat Island. The tide was high and the whales were not spending a lot of time on the surface. One of the whales was Patch (Number 49). What a joy to see him again! I took one good ID shot as Patch was heading back down for more food. The other whale was more difficult to ID.
Veronica von Allwörden, Langley, Whidbey Island, WA
*
Mark Millard of WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife called in a sighting of a gray whale 150 yards off Onamak Point, Camano Island, at 3:30 pm, moving slowly south in shallow water and apparently feeding.
*
2 gray whales paid a visit this morning, at 10:30AM. Unlike last night, both feeding together, right out front; SW of entrance, to Mariners Cove. Short snack and then they journeyed onward in southwesterly direction. Towards, Polnell Pt. [east of Oak Harbor] on Whidbey Island; where I left them at sunset, early, last evening. Unlike last night they traveled together, and much of the time fed right next to each other or within a 100 feet apart. Usually, 100 to 200 feet off the shoreline. One did most of the swirling, burrowing into the sand, suctioning up the ghost shrimp; [that will create craters in the sand when sand is exposed at low tide]. While, the other, appeared to do very little circling/swirling activity. Lots, of flukes and flippers "out of the water" exposure; resembling beautiful slabs of granite.
Robert Stonefelt Oak Harbor

March 16, 2011

Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research was trying to get to Victoria again today when at 1241 he briefly spotted a group of about six or seven killer whales heading east in Baynes Channel. A ten minute search ensued, resulting in finding three whales that were surfacing to breathe at 7-9 minute intervals and traveling about one mile in a northwesterly direction up Haro Strait toward D'Arcy Island. These were T2C, T2C1, and T2C2 (the scoliosis juvenile). The encounter ended at 1339 a little north of Zero Rock. Where did the others go? Jeanne Hyde called later and reported seeing T18, T19, T19B, and T19C heading east in Speiden Channel. Apparently, the group split into two groups at Baynes Channel with the latter four whales working the east side of Haro Strait and the first three whales working the west side of Haro Strait. No kills were observed during Ken's encounter.
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
*
T002C's near Darcy Island.
Mark Malleson, Victoria, B.C.
*
Capt. Brian and Jeanne Hyde, naturalist, took the Peregrine out today and saw two sets of Orcas .
Capt. Jim Maya, San Juan Island, WA
*
Debbie Sharpe at the Center for Whale Research relayed a report from Ken Balcomb of transient orcas in Baynes Channel near Victoria. They were milling but generally moving northward toward Kelp Reef at 1:15 pm.
*
Out with Capt. Brian on the Peregrine of Maya's Westside Charters for an afternoon trip at 1:00. No sooner do we leave the harbor than we hear a report of [orcas] in Haro Strait. Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research had spotted the whales. Transients, the T2Cs, 3 of them, were heading up the west side of Haro Strait. They were taking long dives and one time when 'they' surfaced they appeared to be 1 1/2 miles ahead with Kelp Reef marker in the background. However, when the T2Cs surfaced again they were only a short distance from us. We wondered if there were more whales. We went to Spieden Channel and happened upon more transients traveling east - T18, T19, T19B and T19C. The time difference from seeing 'those' whales 1 1/2 miles ahead of us, just south of Kelp Reef Marker, and seeing whales in Spieden Channel was 1 hour. Could they have been the same ones? The T2Cs were still in Haro Strait.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island, WA
*
At the dinner table at 6:30 PM this evening, a spout from a gray was seen out front, here, at Mariners Cove [east of Oak Harbor]. Heading southwest towards Polnell Point; about a hundred yards out from shore. Kept seeing the spouts and rolls, but was unable to keep up for first part. After 10 minutes, saw one spout, then another spout, couple seconds later. Wondered/was excited, two whales? Then, for next 10 minutes just one spout/one whale. Just northeast of Polnell, gray headed close to shore, stopped to feed, about 100 feet from shore. As gray fed, the surrounding water; churned, swirled, bubbled; while, feeding [on right side?] on ghost/sand shrimp. Then it went under and saw gray spout minute or two later, several hundred feet further on out. Suddenly the gray I was observing feeding came back up in same spot. IT HAD BEEN TWO GRAYS! While the one gray fed for twenty minutes the other was further out and kept 150/250 feet away the entire time and did not feed at all. Reminded me of last year; when two grays briefly met up for an hour or so and then, went their separate ways. Last spouts of both, still several hundred feet; apart, was observed as the sun set at 7:15PM. Both, in the bay just north of Polnell Point.
Robert Stonefelt Oak Harbor
*
One gray whale today at 5:15pm at Rolling Bay on Bainbridge island. Right in front of our house. Saw them last year.
Denika Voget
*
One probably Gray whale observed at Golden Gardens park, Seattle WA (47 41.407; 122 24.601) moving slowly at 12:30 pm.
Paul Jerskey
*
12:15, gray whale in Saratoga Passage heading east toward Elger Bay slightly closer to the Camano side.
Linda Frasier
*
Saw a grey whale today heading north in Saratoga Passage, 11:38 am. Began watching from Greenbank (Whidbey Island) north. He could be seen diving in deep water.
Joanie Hartsfield
*
We saw one grey whale just off the beach on President Point (NE Kitsap Peninsula, south of Kingston, WA) this morning about 8:30am. It may have been feeding as it swam slowly to the north, just off the beach, turned and swam to the south, turned again before disappearing. We saw it come up and blow several times.
Joanne

March 15, 2011

Gail Fleming called Orca Network to report a lone gray at 3:30 pm, Edgecliff Dr., between Langley and Sandy Pt, SE Whidbey Island, WA.
*
From Lon and Jeanne - Lime Kiln hydrophone 1435 So. Residents: After Lon's notice, Jeanne heard a few calls that were Resident calls. No visual confirmation was obtainable and no auto-detections occurred today at Lime Kiln or Orcasound hydrophones.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach, Seattle, WA
*
Grays March 12 - 15 - Cascadia Research Update on N. Puget Sound Grays:
Cascadia Research personnel going out with Island Adventures this past week end out of Everett confirmed the presence of four of the northern Puget Sound regular returning gray whales. These include:
CRC ID# 49 Patch: First seen in 1991 and every year since including 2010 when he was first confirmed on 6 March 2010.
CRC ID# 53: First seen in 1991 and 13 of the years through 2010 (confirmed on 24 March 2010)
CRC ID# 531: First seen in 2000 and 7 of the years since including the last 6 including 2010 (confirmed on 20 March 2010).
CRC ID# 723: First seen in 2004 and 5 years since including 2010 (confirmed on 24 March 2010).
This is a nice early start for some of these whales but still awaiting confirmation of our oldest returning whales 21 and 22 who were fist identified in 1990 and were both present in 2010. Best,
John Calambokidis, Research Biologist, Cascadia Research, Olympia, WA
*
Captain John Stone called from the Capt. Whidbey Inn with a report of a gray whale in Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, in the middle of the cove west of the Coupeville Wharf, at 6 pm. There was a big splash.
*
"Spouting News" - SPOUTS IN HIGH WINDS/CHOPPY SEAS CREATE HOUSE EXCITEMENT. A delight to share first of the season sighting, of one gray whale off Mariners Cove. On a 10.3 high tidal change, at 3:10 PM, today, just happened to glance out window and see a spout, amidst whitecaps. Gray was couple hundred yards from shore and after a couple of more spouts, it went further out to mid channel. And continued its travels; northeast, towards Whidbey Island's Strawberry Point on Skagit Bay. No feeding activity, even though it was high tide. Appeared not to be in any hurry. Possibly challenged a bit, with tidal resistance/rough seas; as it headed on its way.
Robert Stonefelt, Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, WA
*
Ira Buckley of Coupeville, Whidbey Island WA, reports one Gray Whale in Penn Cove at 2:30 pm, near the old Penn Cove mussel dock & the Penn Cove Pottery barn, ~50 ft. offshore wallowing around.

March 14, 2011

Whales were reported seen by Washington State Ferry personnel near Friday Harbor at 0810, and there were several reports throughout the day of whales in the channels surrounding Shaw Island. In the afternoon, Jim Maya reported seeing members of J pod in New Channel just north of Speiden Island. Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research aborted his inflatable boat trip to Victoria to respond and encountered 20 members of J pod and L87 spread out and heading southwesterly between Speiden Island and Stuart Island toward the confluence of Speiden Channel and Haro Strait at 1606. The whales appeared to be in relaxed loose travel/forage mode as they headed out into the turbulence of Haro Strait, but no obvious feeding episodes were observed. The various sub-sub groups of whales were spread over several square miles and were swimming in various directions when the encounter ended at 1722. The whales could be heard on the Orcasound hydrophone at 1730 and were seen heading north off Halibut Island, BC. Apparently, they headed back up toward the Gulf Islands in the night.
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
*
It was J's today in San Juan Channel, seen this morning near Friday Harbor, then up Harney Channel between Shaw and Orcas Is., then north of Spieden Island and into Haro Strait at 6 pm. Calls now very clear on Orcasound.net.
Orca Network, Whidbey Island
*
I'm hearing very faint vocalizations at LK hp 5:49 pm. Much louder vocals now at OS hp 6:00 pm. Sounds like J's.
Suzy Roebling, Florida
*
Calls on orcasound hydrophone, 5:41 pm.
Lisa Jellison (via Facebook)
*
Apx. 3pm, while out with Jim Maya of Maya's Westside Charters we encountered J pod whales on the north east side of Spieden Island traveling close to shore. The J Pod whales seen were Samish's family group the J14s, Blossom's (now deceased) family group the J11s, Slick's family group the J16s, Shachi J-19 and her offspring Eclipse J-41, and Oreo's family group the J22s and Onyx L-87. Those not present were Ruffles J-1, Granny J-2, Spieden J-8 and Princess Angeline's family group the J-17s. We left the whales, quite spread out, as they were 'sort of' heading south in Haro Strait. Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research was with the whales when we left. At about 5:30 pm calls were heard on the Orca Sound hydrophones. However, the volume and duration of the calls indicates that perhaps the whales did not come down Haro Strait.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
*
Jeanne Hyde and Capt. Jim, heading out at 1:30, knowing only that this morning there were Orcas in San Juan Channel. A couple of hours later another call from JB that Orcas were in Upright Channel, headed for the Lopez Ferry Dock. Then more news. Orcas off the Orcas Ferry Dock. That means they are headed west toward Speiden Is. We're at Lime Kiln Lighthouse and we do a 180 and head off toward Speiden. Half way up the Speiden we get a call from Kim and Karl who manage Lonesome Cove. They're looking at Orcas with their scope, right at Green Pt. In 5 minutes we're with them as they head west on the north side of Spieden.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island
*
A friend was riding the inter-island ferry from Shaw to Orcas Island and saw a group of Orcas swimming west in Harney Channel, about 12:30 pm.
Deb Martyn,, Orcas Isle Naturalist
*
Capt. Engstrom of WS Ferries reported 10-12 orcas in Harney Channel, just off Pt. Hudson, between Shaw and Orcas Islands, just after noon. The whales were headed west in Harney Channel, and there were at least two big males.
*
Just saw 5-6 Orcas at 8:10 from the WSF. They were spread out traveling east near Reid Rock, just outside of Friday Harbor. We saw the leaders, so there could have been more. No id's, but a couple of nice tail kind and a pec slap!
Pete Ancich, San Juan Excursions, San Juan Island

March 13, 2011

Ron Bates reported via Ken Balcomb that some transients were seen from Sooke, BC, coming east in the Strait of Juan de Fuca toward Haro Strait in the morning . One was said to have a chopped off top to his dorsal fin, although it could have been bent over.
*
Garry Heinrich called to say a gray whale is heading north up Saratoga Passage, between Sandy Point and Hat Island, north of Everett, just off Camano Head at 1:30pm.

March 12, 2011

Shane Agergaard of Island Adventures reports seeing gray whale #49 "Patch" and 3 other gray whales, including #153, near Hat Island, between Everett and Whidbey Island, on Saturday and for several days. Good to see Patch is OK after his ordeal with the T's a year ago.
*
Gray whale, just outside Elger Bay (south Camano Island, Saratoga Passage) at 1:00 p.m and moving west slowly.
Linda Frasier

March 11, 2011

Eric was flying back to Whidbey at 1:30 pm and spotted a gray whale feeding near the large marine marker west of Everett and northeast of Hat Island. He was not able to ID the whale.
Veronica von Allwörden

March 10, 2011

Gordon Goudy called from Monterey CA to say he saw 6 orcas at Lat. 36.55, Long.-122.07, about 5 miles west of Carmel Bay CA, at around 4:30 pm.

March 9, 2011

At about 5:45 pm I began hearing sounds but could not confirm calls until well after 6pm. They first became clear on Orca Sound hydrophones and then faint calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones. The calls were definitely J Pod calls. From the volume of the calls and the locations, OS then LK hydrophones, I believe the whales were far off shore heading south in Haro Strait. Some calls that could be heard clearly were still at a good distance from shore. The last calls I heard were at about 9:20 pm.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
*
Orcas vocalizing on OrcaSound hydrophone. Faint calls may have started as early as 6 pm, but they are more obvious now (7:30 pm).
Jane Cogan

March 8, 2011

March 7 or 8 - A lone adult male killer whale (likely Transient) was observed 6 miles southwest of Tatoosh Island by Makah fisherman Larry Buzzell on the vessel North. Observation was made on March 7th or 8th.
Jonathan Scordino, Marine Mammal Biologist, Makah Fisheries Management

March 7, 2011

March 6, 2011

After receiving a tip that whales were near Victoria heading into Haro Strait, Dave Ellifrit and Debbie Sharpe of the Center for Whale Research were able to spot them from the Center (NW San Juan Island). The whales, who turned out to be members of J pod, were grouped together as they exited Baynes Channel, but spread out quite a bit as they headed over toward San Juan Island. Center staff caught up with the leaders off Kellett Bluff (48 34.95; 123 12.32) at 13:20 as they continued their northward progress. Scattered members of J pod were seen throughout the encounter, as well as L87. The encounter ended off Open Bay (48 34.87; 123 11.84) at 15:00.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
*
We caught up to the trailing group just north of the Pender Bluffs at 1620, and they were scattered into three groups of about 4-7 [orcas] in each group. No sign of J1, but he may be hanging out with L Pod for all we know (after all, if you looked at Ls right now, you'd think L87 was missing but we know he's with J Pod right now).
John Boyd, SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Friday Harbor
*
Mark Malleson had spotted J Pod near Victoria, and they were headed our way. By 1:00 we were headed out into Haro Strait. Right outside of Snug, where we dock the Peregrine, we spotted blows. J2, Granny, was in the lead. We just kinda sat there and waited for the rest of J Pod to swim by. They were all there with the exception, sadly, of J1, Ruffles. It's really hard to believe he might be gone, but with every sighting of J Pod, the chances of him still being alive grow slimmer. We left all of J Pod, except J1, spread between Kellet Bluff, Henry Island, and I would guess Turn Pt, Stewart Island, headed N at 3:00 this afternoon. Lots of foraging.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's West Side Charters, San Juan Island
*
Kathy and I saw several big blows near the Edmonds ferry lane on the Apple Cove Point side at around 2 pm today. Some breaching, mostly just big blows followed by a view of the back, no dorsal fin visible? Too far to tell what type of whales or how many, definitely more than one. The blows seemed big for Orca's and they were spead far apart and a long time between blows, although we did see a couple blows right after another and close together. Seemed to be moving south from Point No Point towards Seattle.
Kathy and John, Whidbey Island.
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I was just at Limekiln (west San Juan Island) and Blackberry (J27) and his family group surfaced within 40 feet of the shore, they were heading north.
Melisa Pinnow (via Facebook)
*
~12:35 pm: lime kiln hydrophones-lots of action.
Pamela Smith (via Facebook)
*
~12:30 pm: Hearing J pod on Lime Kiln Hydrophone Still hearing echolocation and occasional whistles on Lime Kiln hydrophone, but no other vocalizations.
Gayle Swigart (via Facebook)
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~ 1 pm: LOUD calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone right now. What a GLORIOUS sound! :)
Tami Sindelman (via Facebook)
*
S1 calls automatically detected at Lime Kiln, starting at 11:28:04 am - listen to them here.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach, Seattle, WA
*
I spotted J pod with L87 south of Victoria in the early hours of Sunday morning. It looked as though all of Jpod less J1 were present and L87 was traveling with them. They rounded Trial Island and headed north through Oak Bay in two resting groups. Upon entering Baynes Channel they spread out and several animals started foraging with several of them high speed porpoising. Unfortunately none offered any prey samples for the taking. I left them at 10:50 north of Ten Mile Point light pointed for Kelp Reef.
Mark Malleson, Victoria, B.C.
*
Orca Network received reports from the Ctr. for Whale Research and Ron Bates of MMRG that J pod is in Haro Strait heading north at 11 am~

March 5, 2011

Confirmation of Gray whale #53 and report from Cascadia Research: Amber Klimek was able to confirm (the Gray whale photographed by Howard Garrett March 3) was CRC ID 53, so that is great news and good timing for the initial confirmed return. 53 had been seen at 13 different years going back to 1991. Last year 53 was not one of the initial whales confirmed in the area and a positive ID not obtained until 24 March, so 53 appears to have arrived a little earlier this year.
John Calambokidis, Cascadia Research
*
Saw our first gray whale of the year this afternoon at 4:34p.m in Port Susan. We are on Port Susan Terrace Road. One whale, swimming Southeast, towards Everett and/or towards the southern end of Camano Island.
Melanie Serroels
*
Garry Heinrich called to report observing one Gray whale between Camano Head (Camano Isl) and Sandy Pt, (Whidbey Isl) heading north between 12:15 - 12:45 pm.
*
12:20 pm: Gray whale between Hat Island and Camano, headed north. The folks on the whale watching ship out there are getting a great show!
Mary Dulin (Via Facebook)
*
I want to report an orca attack observed off Cypress Point, Monterey, CA. Three orcas (two large females and a calf) attacked a pair of northbound (I presume) gray whales. We observed them around noon for approx. 40 minutes. The orcas left the grays and the grays continued on, heading towards shore. We have nominal video and some stills. I am gathering the photo assets from passengers today and will send along the clearest images. It was very exciting!
Dorris Welch, Marine Biologist, Sanctuary Cruises, Monterey, CA

March 4, 2011

ORCA students identified (Gray whale) #53 E/NE of Gadney island (near Everett) with another unidentified gray whale.
Robin Araniva (via Facebook)

March 3, 2011

Connie Barrett of Camano Island called at 10:10 am with one Gray whale north of Cama Beach, Camano Isl. heading south, mid-channel but closer to the Camano side.
*
After a call from Connie Barrett just after 10 AM to say she saw a gray whale heading south in Saratoga Passage, the first gray whale reported this year swam slowly south at about 11 AM. I watched from a 200' bluff over Hidden Beach, just north of Greenbank as the whale surfaced within a hundred feet of shore, then turned back southward toward the middle of the Passage. I was able to get a shot of the fluke, which appears to be #53, one of the ten or so Saratoga Grays who feed here during spring.
Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Greenbank, Whidbey Island, WA

March 2, 2011

March 1, 2011

Burien Parks Director Michael LaFraniere sent out the following Tweet: Sources tell us a 40-ft long gray whale was spotted feeding about 10am this morning approx 100 ft from the beach at Seahurst Park in Burien. Miriam Castro at the Environmental Science Center took some photos which can be seen on the B-Town Blog.




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