March 2013 Whale Sightings

March 31

Late reporting, but thought the zoomed shots might help with identifying the Grays around Everett Several gray whales (4-5?) moving around the south end of Hat/Gedney Island and around Possession Sound around 5:30-6pm. Lots of spouts and several dives showing off backs and tales.
Rebecca Sherwood
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At about 12:12 PM while on our way to Hat/Gedney my parents, myself and my aunt sighted two grey whales in the middle of the bay between Hat/Gedney Island and Jetty Island, they were too far me to take photos. We spotted another grey whale off in the distance towards Howarth Park. Later, at 1:40 PM, while in our cabin I looked out to see two more adult greys swimming right past the dock in front of our cabin, on the western side of Hat/Gedney Island coming from the direction of Saratoga Passage. They appeared to be feeding on shrimp. We saw five in total.
Riley Doolen
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To far off to see who this was. The orca was just off Dallas Road Victoria, BC.
Dave Nicholson
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6:45 - from Edmonds (northside ferry dock) see them out in middle heading southbound towards Edmonds/Kingston still north of Eglon
6:36 - they are way south of pt no pt. we are in Edmonds, moving position to see which way they go in possession triangle.
Alisa Lemire Brooks
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We lost sight of the orcas at about 5:45, still headed south, should be at Pt no point soon.
5:22 - We're watching the whales from Maxwelton beach - they are off Foulweather Bluff, looks like they are angling over towards Whidbey. What a treat for family visiting from Colorado!
Susan Berta
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By pure luck, and a tip from Elsa Leavitt, at Maxwelton Beach, So. Whidbey, a pod of 5-6 orcas in a tight group came by for over an hour, at first just as puffs of white on the horizon, then getting closer and closer, until we could finally see their dorsal fins and eventually their backs, with binocs. They zig-zagged once a few miles away, then continued on south and out of sight after 5:30 pm.
Howard Garrett
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Elsa Leavitt called to report a pod of 5-6 orcas off Bush Pt headed south at 4 pm. Easter whales!
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Thanks to Tom on BC Orca we saw T049C and T124C skulking along the shoreline east bound off of East Sooke Park in the morning.
In the afternoon while trying to reacquire them I spotted a group of 14 T's east bound west of Constance Bank which turned out to be T063, the T065's, the T036's, and the T099's.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales
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6:08 - Just spotted what appears to be a single gray whale headed south then north between Mukilteo and possession point.
Dave Davenport
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We watched a grey whale feeding off the south end of Whidbey today, at about 4pm. We had just rounded the buoy on the SE end of the island when we spotted it. It surfaced at least a dozen times in the same area, but no displays of flukes or fins. Watched it for at least 30 min from afar before sailing back towards Edmonds. Lovely treat!
A

March 30

Bob Baumann reported that he spotted one male orca in 7 fathoms off Gregory Point (about 15 miles north of Bandon OR) on Saturday morning. He said it came out of the water three times.
Minda Stiles, Marine Mammal Institute, Oregon State University
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We have a cabin on Pender Island, and while there last Saturday morning around 10 a.m. we watched from Mouat Point on North Pender Island as four orcas headed south. They took their time and spent at least half an hour splashing and cavorting within our sight (about 1.5 km from shore). Then that afternoon, around 2:30 p.m., four orcas (the same?) passed by Mouat Point again going north, only this time they were extremely close to shore (around 10 metres). They didn't stop this time. I took some photos hoping to get a good picture. The next day I read on your website about T40 "Captain Hook" being with one of the pods that were in the Pender Island area that same day. Today after returning home to Victoria I uploaded my photos from camera to computer and, by George, I do think I got a picture of Captain Hook that afternoon before I knew who he was! I'm attaching the photo and hope you can give me a confirmation. If so, I'm elated as I knew after reading about him that someday I must meet the Captain.
Barbara Floyd
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T40 "Captain Hook" and other Bigg's (transient) orcas were off North Pender Island.
Justin Time Davis
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We watched the T018's feeding on a steller sealion off the bluffs of North Pender Island. T040 along with the T86A's and T124A1 were nearby but did not participate.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales
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So happy to see T40 "Captain Hook" today along with many other transient orcas (including the T18's) up by the Pender Bluffs just milling around. "Captain Hook" is usually seen in Southeast Alaska so it's super exciting to see him down here in the islands. Last time I saw him was spring 2010 outside Friday Harbor! The T18's had killed a steller sea lion and T40 with his posse appeared to be resting.
Katie Jones
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Had an amazing day out on the water with lots Transient orcas! Got to see T40 "Captain Hook" for the first time along with the T18's, T86a's and T124a1. TONS of tail slaps, a cartwheel, at least 5 breaches, a few pec slaps and T19B did a nice spy hop like always! Thanks Justin and Maya's Westside Whale Charters for the great time!!
Melisa Pinnow
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I think I have the numbers right here--lots of Transients up North today. T18, T19, T19B, T19C, T40, T86As, and T124A1. Lots of surface activity, munching of critters and tons of sunshine today! :)
John Boyd
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I saw 5 or 6 Orcas crossing the submerged portion of the Columbia River south jetty. They were traveling north, and appeared to be chasing a pod of sea lions for a short time. I didn't see them consume any of said sea lions.=
Matthew Park
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I took my Goldens to the beach and found numerous feeding holes near the boat ramp at East Point, Whidbey Island.
Ginger Miller
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6:27 - Gray whales currently in the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry lane, heading north. Probably 2.
Erin Elrod Birkenkopf
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Great whale watching from Mystic Sea today - lots of whales around, including Patch #49. Also whale breath, a real delight if you happen to be downwind!
Sandra Pollard
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Dick Snowberger called to say he saw at least five, probably more gray whales SE of Hat/Gedney Island, including #49 Patch and a couple of pairs.
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12:40 - now seeing 4 grays circling around SE end of Hat/Gedney Island. Three whale watch boats for anyone needing a reference point.
12:00pm from Harborview park (SW Everett) watching at least 3 grays on southside (1) and east (2) of Hat/Gedney Island making their way eastward.
Alisa Lemire Brooks
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11:50 - Saw at least 4 grey whales this morning at the south end of Gedney Island on the Clipper.
Wendy Horger Alsup

March 29

Ted Alden called at 1200 today to report that at 11 AM he saw about 8 orcas, approx. ¼ mile from the rocks at Piedras Blancas lighthouse, in Calif., at Elephant Seal Beach, about 30 miles north of San Luis Obispo.
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13:58 - T40 and friends crossing Navy Channel.
12:42 - T40, 4-5 females going N. from Moresby Is. into Swanson Ch.
Ron Bates
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We caught up with T040 "Captain Hook" along with the T086A's and T124A1 as they entered Active Pass heading north in the afternoon. Thanks to Jim on "Bottom Scratcher" for passing along his original sighting of them at Canoe Rock in Moresby Passage earlier in the day.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales
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We found whales all around Hat/Gedney Island. Those identified were #22, #44 Dubknuck, #56, #383 and #723. They traveled north, south, east and west, with a few spyhops and lots of flukes.
Jill Hein
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1:30-2 PM - I watched a single gray whale feeding deep of the drop-off in front of our house south of the Mabana Rd, Camano Is. It fed in the same spot for a while, moved slightly north, then finally moved south out of sight. The low tides the past few days have shown a few feeding pits along the tide flats around Mabana, but I've only heard of one neighbor hearing/seeing a gray in close.
Barbara Brock, Mabana, Camano Is.
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We watched 8 gray whales today on Island Explorer 3 between 11:30 and 2:00. Our naturalist Bart Rulon spotted the first three gray whales of the day. They were #44, 56, and 383 and they were swimming close together northward between the south end of Whidbey Island and Hat Island. Then we spotted two more whales swimming along the shoreline of Hat Island. These two were #22 and #723 and they did a couple of spy hops near shore! Then later while we headed back toward the dock we spotted gray whales #49 and #53 just east of Hat Island. What a day!!!
Tyrone Reed
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12:38 - There are two or three gray whales on the southwest side of hat island. Pretty spread out. Lots of boats nearby.
Sara Troyer

March 28

5:45 - I just had at least one whale (presumably a gray) pop up in the scope my I was birding next to the Mukilteo lighthouse. Whale was roughly north heading east.
Josh Adams
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While walking around the southern tip of Whidbey Island at 2pm I heard then spotted what were probably three gray whales heading towards Possession Point buoy. They were NE of the Possession Point buoy, about one hundred yards off shore. (lat 57deg 54min, long 122deg 121.5min). Each blow was separated by what felt like a minute, and there were three blows. They were traveling SW parallel the shore, but I think they were headed towards Edmonds, not Scatchet, there wasn't any fluke or fin displays. It almost looked like they were going to use the buoy as a mark and then head to Edmonds. Nice addition to a day of looking at bluff damage.
Tom Trimbath

March 27

We saw two male orcas today they were moving from Discovery Bay NW, toward the west side of Protection Island. We are on Diamond Pt. This was about 12:35 PM. A boat then came by them & they did not resurface again, that we saw.
Helen Bohac
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K-25 (and presumably the rest of K pod) remain off the southern Washington coast. This map shows movements from about 9 PM on Monday March 25th through this morning. Posted for Brad Hanson, Northwest Fisheries Science Center.
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4:11 - Gray whale Penn cove.
Martha McCartney
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3:20 - Bill O'Neil called with a report of two gray whales off Skiff Point, Bainbridge Island.
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KING5 News: This Grey Whale was spotted close to shore while feeding in Crescent Harbor on Whidbey Island Tuesday evening. The whale drew a fairly large crowd at NAS Whidbey Island's Seaplane Base as it put on quite a show for service members and their families. The event lasted for over an hour as it stirred up the bottom silt and fed on the sea animals dislodged from the harbor floor.
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4:04 - Just watched a whale in Penn Cove across from the Coupeville wharf.
Rebecca Broberg
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Gray whales galore off Gedney (Hat) Island around 10:30 am - first of all a trio, then two pairs. Maybe one of those decided to go shoreline as those of us on "Mystic Sea" watched while a single gray whale rolled close to shore waving pecs before - lo and behold - treating us to two spy-hops. Two people on the beach really had a bird's eye view... We heard, and saw, the heart-shaped blows of a couple of other gray whales shimmering in the sunshine before they disappeared with a flourish of tail flukes below the surface. A truly magical morning.
Sandra Pollard
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I watched Dubknuck for a couple of hours in Penn Cove today (gray whale #44). He circled the area close to Hwy 20 many times, and eventually headed in the direction of the Coupeville wharf. The water was like a mirror, gorgeous out there.
Jill Hein
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11:00 - Dick Snowberger on the Mystic Sea reports 3 or 4 gray whales on the NE side of Hat/Gedney Island, rolling around close to shore in shallow water.
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9:50 - There is a single gray whale off Monroe landing boat launch, north side of Penn Cove.
Capt. Byron, Deception Pass Tours

March 26

4:40 - We have been watching a gray whale feeding between Mabana and the bay a little to the north, on Camano Island since 3:00 p.m.
Nancy Bleeker
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One gray whale is feeding as I type this (3:40 p.m.) 100 feet east of Polnell Point which is at the east end of Crescent Harbor which is on the east side of Whidbey Island near Oak Harbor.
Steve Rothboeck
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3:16 pm - Single gray feeding in front of Polnell Shores, Oak Harbor as I type.
Kathy Kaufman
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Spotted whale about 9:30am at Sandy Point, 122.375W 48.031N, moving South on surface, ebb tide at about 6 or 7 ft. We think it might have been Dubknuck gray whale #44, but we were observing from a distance ashore. Half hour later walked to tidelands and observed about a dozen fresh feeding pits, oval 3 ft by 6-8ft, spaced about 10 ft apart in a line parallel to beach. Shorebirds were actively feeding on debris, which consisted of worms and bits of small crabs.
Todd & Yvette Gilmore, Langley, WA

March 25

An article in the Long Beach WA Chinook Observer read: "LONG BEACH - Long Beach resident Ted Magnuson glanced out the window of his home north of The Breakers a little before noon Monday and saw something he'd never before seen: dorsal fins of a pod of orcas breaking through the waves just offshore." Magnuson said he got a good look through a spotting scope at 4-5 orcas just beyond the breakers off Long Beach, among the crab pot bouys, headed slowly south.
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T063 heading south towards Saanich Inlet. Watched T063, T065, T065B, and T065B1 travel south into Saanich Inlet in the afternoon. Thanks to Simon from Ocean Ecoventures for the heads up.
Mark Malleson
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2-3 am - Jeanne Hyde was reported to have heard Transient orcas on Orcasound.
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7:44 - Grey whale heading south between Cama beach and Camano park. Close to shore.
Danelle Murphy
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Gray whale at dog and boy park in Langley!! 7pm heading east close to shore!!
Christy Korrow
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6:30 - YAY Dubknuck is back - gray whale #44 was in Penn Cove tonight!
Jill Hein
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6:22 - Many lucky people have been watching a gray whale in Penn Cove this evening! We've been watching since 5 pm as the gray has been feeding back and forth, with many shoreside admirers.
Susan Berta
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6:04 - There is a gray whale feeding in front of Langley for the last 1/2 hour!
Veronica von Allwörden
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5:55 PM - Grey Whale about 1/2 mile off Madrona Beach, Camano Island headed south.
Carolyn Stack Griffin
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5:43 - Sammye Kempbell called to say she saw a gray whale in Penn Cove at San de Fuca.
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5:38 - Grays feeding in front of the inn at Langley right now.
Marie Lincoln
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5:32 - Veronica Von Allworden called while watching a gray whale feeding in front of her house in Langley.
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Been watching a gray feeding in Langley, a tad north of the Inn at Langley. I got there at 5:15 pm and stayed for a half hr. Seems to be hanging out and feeding.
Marilyn Armbruster
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5:14 - Whale at Possession Buoy. Small Grey, hanging around, not moving in any particular direction. Sitting on our deck with binoculars and toasting our good fortune.
Cassandra Miller
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4:49 - Gray whale deep into Penn Cove, close to shore. 20 or more cars pulled over watching.
Rachel Haight
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4:48 - Robin Llewellen called after seeing a gray whale in Penn Cove near the mussel rafts.
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3:04 - Watched a gray feed at seaplane base (Crescent Harbor, near Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island).
Stasha Becker
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I had a nice treat this afternoon around 2:00 when I heard a 'swoosh' and looked over the cliff at Fox Spit to see a couple Grays feeding NW of East Point at Whidbey Shores. They were about 150' off shore cruising slowly towards Langley and feeding.
Ginger Miller
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2 pm - Judy Lynn called to say she was looking at a gray whale at San de Fuca, Penn Cove. That's way inside Penn Cove.
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1:41 - Gray whale in Penn Cove right now. Along Penn Cove road.
Karen Cox
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1:20PM - Gray Whales midway passage headed south - off of Surf Paradise (north Greenbank, Whidbey Island).
Cindy Dean Prahl
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11:45am - two grey whales just swam by our home on Race Road in Coupeville...so beautiful!
Susannah Stuart
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Three grays blowing and lingering over a ghost shrimp beach on North side of Penn Cove at 8 AM.
Dr. Bob Wagner
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There is a Humpback whale off Victoria Waterfront - near clover point ~ BC Whale tours was just on scene.
Tom Mitchell

March 24

Coastal orcas - At 10:29 am Jim Border of Whale Spoken Here called to relay a real-time report of at least two orcas harassing a gray whale about a mile off Cape Lookout OR (between Lincoln and Tillamook). Seas are flat calm so visibility is good, but they are too far out to photograph. He did not see a calf. The action was proceeding as we spoke on the phone.
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These whales (orcas) were found at 1230 off Cowichan Bay BC.
Ron Bates
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740am - swimming south in the Stuart Channel and passing Coffin Point Ladysmith (BC, between Duncan and Nanaimo). At least 4-6 Orcas and one had a very large fin with a chunk out of the fin. Just passing by, not feeding or playing definitely moving fairly quickly. A great sighting as we see this every year.
Liz and Peter Scott
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4:00PM - two grays feeding in Port Susan Bay off of Port Susan Terrace Beach on East side of Camano Island. One full sized adult and one smaller. They were moving south towards Camano Head.
Bob & Mary Pelland
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Lucky us, we were headed back and we saw a grey whale off of Sandy Point headed towards Clinton.
1:12 pm - Two male grays milling mid channel Saratoga passage. They are west of pebble beach and due north of Langley.
Tom N Tasha Hofer on the Mystic Sea
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1:12 pm - two whales heading into the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry lane heading north ~
Pamela Clay Taylor
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We (on Mystic Sea) found 2 gray whales in Holmes Harbor this afternoon, feeding very close to shore. We identified one of them as #21 - he continually rolled on his side with pectoral 'waving' and half his fluke showing. Quite an impressive display. On the west side - very high bluff - trees all the way down to the water. Nothing distinguishable along bluff to tell you exactly where, other than houses on top.
Jill Hein
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With these two that makes 6-7 whales sighted (we left with 4-5 near Priest Point at 4:00), and if the two seen in Saratoga at 1:12 by Tom N Tasha Hofer on the Mystic Sea (anyone have update on those two?) are not these two in Port Susan that makes 8-9 whales sighted in the north sound.
4:00 - from Harbor view Park (Everett): looks like they have gotten to where they were going, we now see 4, possibly 5, grays north of both the green channel marker and yellow buoy off of Tulalip Shores/Everett. Appears some foraging is happening as we see the occasional pec fin and lots of gull activity and they are kind of milling in wide berth. Very cool to have followed their travels to their feeding place.
3:20 - they are mid sound out from Hat/Tulalip/Everett general direction eastbound.
2:25 - bypassing Hat...they are midchannel between Hat and Mukilteo ferry heading (north) east.
2:00 - the Possession three grays are heading towards Hat/Gedney.
1:40 - three traveling tight together just fluked/dove in succession, breathtaking.
1:35 - the Possession Sound three are still northbound approaching westbound Clinton ferry lanes soon. Beautiful calm.
1:00 - still northbound in Possession Sound. For anyone looking from shore there is a whale watch boat and a couple of small pleasure boats near them. Seen quite a few flukes, long dives.
12:30 - From Mukilteo beach seeing what up to three gray whales maybe a mile north of Possession Point northbound on Whidbey side.
Alisa Lemire Brooks
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10:28 am - Maya of WA State Ferries called to relay a report of a 25' gray whale headed south in the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry lane.
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9am to10am - while drifting w motor off large Gray whale spouted 30 feet off starboard, at south end of Hat Island. Saw 5 Grays total: one group had 2 large & one small. 2nd group between Hat & Everett had 2 good size Grays.
Marcella Rockenbach

March 23

Gray whale just off Whidbey Island Fox Spit at 5:30. Came in along shore in shallow water for some shrimping. Was here for about 20 minutes before moving on.
Zach Bernson
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5:06 - whale #56 just South of Camano Head. Tiffany Young
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We (on Mystic Sea) found 2 gray whales in Holmes Harbor this afternoon, feeding very close to shore.
Jill Hein
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One of two gray whales in Holmes Harbor, #21 - on his side with pectoral 'waving' and half his fluke showing.
Jill Hein
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2:22 pm - Grey in Saratoga passage just south of Greenbank heading into mouth of Holmes Harbor on west shore.
Sandy Eschen
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2:20 - Grey whales on Holmes harbor!! We are on board the mystic sea off green bank with at least one grey tight to shore. We have two here now only 10 feet from shore.
1:30 - Best show I've seen from the grays. Jill Hein has a positive Id of one of the two, #21. Lots of rolling in the shallows and good views of how large those pectorals are.
Tom N Tasha Hofer
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9:15 am - It's a bone chilling morning we are with a gray whale west of Baby Island.
Deception Pass Tours
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11:55 am - Orca report in south Puget Sound. Sue Gideon called from Redondo Beach, between Federal Way and Des Moines to say she saw 2 or 3 orcas heading north about 100 yards from shore. The description sounds like orcas.
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Travels with K pod - March 25 update - from NOAA's NWFSC
Over the past five days K25 (and presumably the rest of K-pod) has remained off the coast off southern Washington and northern Oregon. On the 20 March they were approaching the Astoria Canyon. On 21 March they went through the Astoria Canyon and traveled back north and were off the entrance to Grays Harbor on 22 March. They continued north and by the morning of the 23rd March were well to the northwest of Grays Harbor where they turned back south. By the morning of 24 March they were off the northern Oregon coast west of Cape Falcon. The whales then turned north and where off the entrance to Willipa Bay on the morning of the 25th. This map shows movements since ~4 AM yesterday, posted for Brad Hanson, Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Thanks to Robin Baird and Brad Hanson for keeping us updated.
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Travels with K pod - March 23 update - from NOAA's NWFSC
K-25 (and presumably the rest of K-pod) have spent the last week off the outer Washington coast - after veering offshore off the mouth of Juan de Fuca Strait on March 18th, K25 returned inshore by the morning of the 19th, traveled south to off the mouth of the Columbia (on the 21st), and yesterday moved north to off of Grays Harbor. This morning K25 began heading south again and this afternoon was off the mouth of Willapa Bay. The satellite tag is probably getting close to the end of its battery life, so we expect to only get movements from K25 for another week or less. Map posted for Brad Hanson, Northwest Fisheries Science Center.
All maps can be viewed at: Northwest Fisheries Science Center Southern Resident Killer Whale Satellite Tagging.

March 22

As dusk was setting in tonight, I happened to go outside in time to hear blowing out in the Saratoga Passage, between the south end of Camano and Sandy Point south of Langley. It was 7:45 pm, and we saw two gray whales blowing several times in the same place; they seemed to be circling each other rather than traveling in any direction. They spent about ten minutes doing this, then moved to the northwest. They were close to shore. They blew so many times, it didn't appear they were feeding. Any idea what they were doing?
Peg Boley, Camano Island
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6:30 - grey whale heading south 100 feet off boat launch at Camano State Park.
Katie Schmelzer
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Sighting of solo gray whale heading south on east coast of Whidbey Island just below Shangri La (2 miles below Penn Cove) at approximately 4:30 pm. Was going to the bottom and scrounging for food, would stop and circle at times.
Bill Wiegand
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1:30 pm - my hubbie reports from Mystic Sea's "snow cruise" that there are three gray whales between Gedney/Hat Island and Everett, which appear to be feeding.
Sandra Pollard
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1:15 - Two grays at crescent harbor right now about a mile apart no id yet.
Deception Pass Tours
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1:34 - He's now just two miles north of Langley close to the beach in shallow waters, close to the surface!
1:10 - Whale sighting off Camano Is. headed west towards Langley, Whidbey Is. A few miles north of Camano Head, a single whale.
Teri Ferren

March 21

2:45 - Found some Transient orca killer whales today. Mom was teaching her calf to kill a porpoise near Jones Island (between San Juan and Orcas islands). Can't believe it, a mother with two calfs and two big males... The young one killed a porpoise ten feet from the Natsilane, and splattered blood on the side of the boat! Awesome!
Alan Hobbes Buchanan, San Juan Island Whale & Wildlife Tours
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Just spotted 2 Gray whales (6:35 p.m.) 100 meters off the west side of Polnell Point which is located on the east side of Whidbey Island near Oak Harbor.
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Gray Whale sighted at 3:30p from the bluff just north of the Maple Grove boat launch on the north end of Camano Island. The lone gray was just off shore heading East/Northeast toward Utsalady point. This whale was traveling in a straight line toward the Skagit Bay mudflats.
Rob Plaza, Maple Grove Rd, Camano Isl, WA
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Just spotted (11:35 a.m.) 1 Gray Whale heading west in Crescent Harbor, 3/4 mile west of Polnell Point, which is on the east side of Whidbey Island and near Oak Harbor.
Steve Rothboeck
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Clarence spotted two gray whales on the south side of Hat/Gedney Island - he was on the 8:30 ferry from Clinton to Mukilteo. No noticeable direction of travel.
Jill Hein

March 20

Today I was on a whale watching boat which located two gray whales feeding along the shoreline toward the south of East Point on Whidbey Island about 1:00 p.m. We observed the whales for about 1/2 hour before the two moved out into deeper water and headed north. It was a great day despite turbulent waters.
Janet Carroll, Mukilteo WA
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March 20 update - from NOAA's NWFSC
Over the past two days K25 headed south along the Washington Coast. They were initially near the Juan de Fuca Canyon and moved south on the continental shelf and were approaching the Astoria Canyon (off the mouth of the Columbia River) this morning.

March 19

A Gray whale report from Barbara Brock: For the past half hour (starting about 11 AM) I've been watching 1, probably 2, gray whales feeding mid channel, more on the Whidbey side, near Langley. They have been shadowed by one boat, that had multiple blows right off the bow. The whale(s) are heading more in toward Langley now. Glassy calm water certainly helps the whale watching!
Barbara Brock, Mabana, Camano
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Two grays moving north between Sandy Point and Camano Head, lat/lon 122.360W 48.030N, time 4:05pm, about an hour before low tide.
Todd and Yvette Gilmore, Langley

March 18

At approximately 6:50 PM, my husband and I watched a single Gray whale off our deck at Rocky Point, on the Saratoga Passage. It appeared to be moving in a very leisurely manner. As it was very close to shore, we were able to see the white markings on it's back. It spy hopped once, milled about for a few minutes, then sounded and was gone. Marvelous!
Pamela Wayne Carter
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Watched one gray between the NE side of Hat Island and Everett, moving NE towards Priest Point area around approx 5:30.
Pam Ren
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We have a feeding gray whale in Crescent Harbor as of yesterday.
Matt Klope
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11:30 - Maya from Washington State Ferries called to report a single gray whale near the ferry lane between Clinton and Mukilteo.
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"Spouting News" AT JUST THE RIGHT MOMEMT With a cup of morning Joe in one hand and pen, writing today's to do list in the other; glanced out the window. A spout and roll. Time? Around 7:15AM. Suddenly, Joe and I were now out on the windy beach, at Mariners' Cove (east of Oak Harbor). Without the list. Watched and followed a short while as gray splashed, fed, and spouted its way southwestly towards Polnell Point. Not only followed the gray but also the fresh tracks of deer hooves left in the sand, walked earlier. With kingfisher chatter and bald eagle flying overhead left the Whidbey Island sea/wildlife and headed back, with Joe on empty. Having a merry heart which is good medicine, is a good start to the day. Not on my to do list earlier.
Robert Stonefelt Oak Harbor, WA
ps This is my second sighting of gray out front this season. Both, times, about 2 to 2.5 hours before high tide; which is about 9:30AM this morning.

March 17

After a shower of mixed hail and snow (how cool is that?!), we came across two gray whales traveling together, one of which may have been Patch (#49). By this time we had sunshine and the whales were right in the glare zone. My best photos from today's trip on Mystic Sea - two gray whales traveling towards Gedney (Hat) Island, later joined by a third (or overtaken by a third). Transient orca last weekend and warm sunshine, gray whales this weekend with a mix of hail, snow and sunshine. Variety is the spice of life...
Sandra Pollard
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3:40 - leaving three grays: two travellin together east of mid way between Hat and Everett, moving steadily east. Single whale a bit east of Hat, hanging in same general location.
2:54 - at least two still moving east into/towards Port Gardner Bay (is that what it's called?).
2:38 - they are between the south tip of Hat/Gedney and green channel marker.
2:05 - seeing the two grays (and you on folks the Mystic Sea) from Mukilteo Community Center moving east.
Alisa Lemire Brooks
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2:41 - there are 3 together now.
2 pm - with two male greys on the south end of gedney island on board the mystic sea.
Tom N Tasha Hofer
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11:03 - Been watching a gray from our deck in Whidbey shores south of fox spit headed south along Camano. Must be the one that left Elger bay earlier today. It's close to Camano and moving south slowly. Been watching for a good 30 mins, I bet it can be seen from Langley now. Then at about 11:10 am: Think there might be two! If you're out there looking, there us a boat near and they aren't far from the tip (South end of Camano) now.
Sara Young
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Finally, my first Gray of the season. About 10:30 AM Sunday, mid channel between Mabana Rd. on Camano and Bell's Beach on Whidbey. Seemed to be feeding and not moving much.
Barbara Brock, Camano Island
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9:37 - Just watched a gray whale (possibly 2) in Elger Bay off of Camano Island. They just left the bay and are heading south in Saratoga Passage.
Frédéric François March 17 update - from NOAA's NWFSC
This morning K-25 (and presumably the rest of K-pod) is heading north along the central Washington coast. This map shows movements from Friday evening through this morning, posted for Brad Hanson, Northwest Fisheries Science Center.

March 16

4:35...on ferry see two grays hugging Hat Island heading east coming up on mid island. Yay!
Alisa Lemire Brooks
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1:51 - We are watching two gray whales off of Camano head, headed north toward pebble beach. A little wet but its liquid sunshine.
Tom N Tasha Hofer
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At 7:40AM a single gray whale passed by Tulalip Shores, just outside of the boat bouys. The whale was headed north toward Spee-bi-dah, not stopping to feed along the way.
Vicki Mattson, Tulalip Shores

March 15

Orcas sighted off Snake Island, Nanaimo. Southbound at 7pm.
Simon Pidcock
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We are on our 7th grey whale of the day. The first 2 were in 10 min of leaving the dock. They seem to be spread from pebble beach to the west side of gedney island. Great day for whale watching on the mystic sea.
Tom N Tasha Hofer
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Fred Lundahl flew over the known feeding spots at low tide today, but only found about a dozen feeding pits at East Point, Whidbey Island (near Holmes Harbor). It's still very early in the season, and the pits are not easy to see from the air, so there are probably others. Please let us know if you see any. The pits, often exposed at low tide, are about 3 feet deep and 4-5 feet across. Gray whales use their tongues as a piston to blast a jet of water into the mud to stir up the shrimp and other invertebrates. The muddy water is then sucked back into their massive mouths and expelled through the baleen plates. The tasty morsels are then swallowed.
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1:15 - From Harborview Park in Everett I can see at least one gray whale. Very hard to see without high powered binoculars. Looks like its going west between Hat island and Camano Island. It may have just gone into an inlet off the east side of hat island that I can't see from here.
Sara Troyer
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9:55 am - 2 gray whales seen off Whidbey island! We were off the east side of Hat Island, near Everett, one gray whale last seen by us around 10:30 AM.
Emma Ermer Reisenauer and Robin Araniva
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From NOAA's NWFSC: For the last 3 days K25 has been off the mouth of the Columbia River, the first extended period of time he has spent there since he was tagged in late December. The map shows movements from the morning of March 12th through this afternoon, posted for Brad Hanson, Northwest Fisheries Science Center.

March 14, 2013

Finally, our first [gray] whale this year feeding in Elger Bay working in 8' of water (~8:25 am) Now 2 whales (8:33 am)
Roger F. Clark
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Patch is back! This morning at 7:50 am Veronica Von Allworden watched at Patch went back and forth blasting pits in the mudflats of Langley. Nice to know the most famous of the Saratoga gray whales is back for his spring visit.

March 13, 2013

4 pm - Ron Bates reported: This morning's whales were picked up at 1449 3.7 West of Dungeness Spit going west, ID was T137's.
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11:25 am - Helen called Orca Network to report 3-5 orcas heading west close to shore past Diamond Point in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Diamond Point is west of Port Townsend, at the mouth of Discovery Bay, south of Protection Island.

March 12, 2013

12 March update from NOAA's NWFSC: K25 continued south from Cape Flattery on 11 March and the whales were off the mouth of the Columbia River on the 12 March.

March 11, 2013

March 10, 2013

Gary Stuntz reported 8 orcas heading north, Marrowstone Point (just south of Port Townsend).
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10 March update from NOAA's NWFSC: We caught up with K and L pods moving northbound off Destruction Island on the morning of 9 March and were again able to spend the day conducting prey and fecal sampling from our small boat based off the Bell M. Shimada. The whales foraged extensively which resulted in us being able to collect 11 prey samples today. The whales turned around at Cape Flattery that evening and headed south and moved through the same general area again on Sunday. We concluded our research cruise on the Bell M. Shimada prematurely due to the budget sequestration on 9 March and returned to Newport, Oregon on Sunday 10 March.
We have received no further transmissions from the tag that was deployed on L88 after 0730 on Sunday 10 March and based on our observations of the tag attachment condition on 9 March it is likely this was due to detachment.
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J pod was spotted by Nick Templeman off Campbell River at about 4:50 pm. He left them all spread out, socializing, between Mittlenatch Island and Salmon Point! Spread in sub groups over 3 miles.
What a magical encounter....it has been over 12 years for me to see J Pod! When we first came on scene it took a while to get a handle on the whole scene. We had only seen 4-6 animals to start but once we settled in, realized we were looking at a huge spread, well over 2-3 miles. We witnessed lots of surface activity, some longer, foraging dives. Seems they were successful in the hunt for salmon as we witnessed lots of gull activity over them in the distance in spots where they were on the surface. Hopefully getting a well deserved Spring salmon or two! They stayed quite separated the whole time...in little sub groups, so we were not able to see or photograph everyone. There was much excitement at points, breaches, double breaches, a couple times was 6-8 in a row! Very happy whales. I was excited to learn that this was all of J pod as well once the photos went out, nice to see Granny doing well!
Nick Templeman
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I spotted 2-3 killer whales from my Seattle--Victoria flight this morning on Kenmore Air at 9:10 am. We weren't right overhead, so couldn't get a good count, but I saw at least 2 individuals. They were northbound approximately halfway between Edmonds & Point No Point. Heading your way.
Kim Parsons, NOAA Fisheries, Seattle
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Visited with gray whales #22, 53, and 56 aboard the Island Explorer 3. Multiple spy-hops were the highlight of the trip!
Michael P Colahan
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2:05 pm: Three grey whales, Port Gardner Bay--RIGHT NOW!!!
Cassandra Miller, Mukilteo, WA
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1:50 pm: With the 3 gray whales off of Gedney island. No sign of Orcas. Great whales near Langley this year with the mystic sea.
Tom N Tasha Hofer

March 9, 2013

6:25 pm: spotted orca, Bigg's whales (Transients) across from Camano Island Inn on Whidbey side traveling south.
Michele Merrill & Ashley Sarver
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5:44 pm: Sighted orcas outside the entrance of Penn cove, straight across from Marina beach in Camano. Whales heading south followed by whale watching boat.
Nathan Ahlgren
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4:30 pm: Orcas a little ways into Penn cove, just turned around, headed back out of the cove east now.
Rachel Haight
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3:52 pm: Orcas between Madrona Beach on Camano and the inlet to Penn Cove on Whidbey, heading towards Penn Cove.
Dee Dee Busse Warr
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Beautiful day on the Mystic Sea!!! Today we have seen approximately 7 transient orca whales, with one large male in the group. At 2:10pm we are north bound at Indian beach on Camano Island. Great day for this early in the season!
Sandra Pollard
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At 3:15 pm Sandra Pollard onboard the Mystic Sea reports they are thinking the male Transient with the pod in Saratoga Passage might be T20.
Monte Hughes
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1:40 pm: Orcas still in Saratoga just moving N of Cama Beach State Park.
Will Murphy
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A pod of 4 or 5 Orcas cruised past East Point about noon to 1:30 today, and then turned around and headed back West. They were quite actively jumping and moving at a casual pace. I was on the shore so they were too far out to get a good picture. They appeared to be Transients to me but I'm not sure. I took this picture with my iPhone (see below). A tour boat cruised up quite fast from the Langley direction and slowed down suddenly and coasted towards the pod that was going towards them.
Ginger Miller Fox Spit Rd.
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I just spotted the pod of orcas in Saratoga Passage - at 1 pm, they are mid-way between Elger Bay on Camano Island and Greenbank on Whidbey Island, still heading north. I can see at least 1 adult male.
Susan Berta, Orca Network
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Captain Carl and the Island Explorer 3 were with the Orcas off Langley today all the way as they were feeding, to Elger Bay; they then went into a resting mode. They believe them to be the T-100s.
Jess, Island Adventures
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We received a call from Veronica von Allworden, who saw 5 - 6 orcas heading north past Langley at 11:40 am.
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Orcas in Saratoga Passage today! Three Orcas spotted this morning outside the Inn at Langley on Whidbey Island at about 11:15 am. Fantastic!
Kim Dunkley Wetherell
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At least 6 Orcas putting on a show in the Saratoga Passage off Whidbey Shores beach, yesterday, 1pm, being followed respectfully by a very large whale watching boat of excited people. I am guessing Biggs because of the curve of the dorsal fin.
Penny Thackeray
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Jen Chapin of Camano Island (also coordinator of Camano volunteers for our Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network) took two videos of the Bigg's Killer Whales in Saratoga Passage.
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"Spouting News" PENN COVE ORCAS WESTWARD HO
Late Saturday afternoon, turned to boating from Mariner's Cove Beach Club marina, in search for action. EUREKA/FOUND IT! WALA ORCAS!! As in Biggs? whales [transients]. From Snakelum Point, to Long Point, and westward ho; almost to Coupeville wharf. Observed feeding, frolicking, some breaching, and tail slapping. Not, positive, due to sun glare, but, very well could have seen a seal or porpoise "tossed" into the air. Seemed, to be 2 large males, one especially, with tall/large fin, leading the charge. With sun setting, majestic views of Mt. Rainier to the south and Mt. Baker to the north. What first appeared to be a pod of 7 to 9, might have been closer to a dozen, when trailing them leaving Penn Cove. Kinda difficult to be sure of the count. Finally, parted ways in mid Saratoga Passage; as pod headed south towards Rainier and I headed north towards Baker. If not spectacular, pretty close to it.
Robert Stonefelt Oak Harbor WA
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Kathy Degginger called to report a pod of orcas mid-passage, out from Tillicum/Tyee Beach (Port Susan) in the afternoon.
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Sandy Gitchell called to report a pod of orcas in Saratoga Passage at 1:15 pm, passing near Baby Island (entrance to Holmes Harbor, Whidbey Island).
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The Orcas were a great sight this a.m. from our shores here in Langley. The Welcome the Whales flag is now flying from the front of the Chocolate Flower Farm store plus we have the flags for sale to support the Orca Network.
Marie Lincoln, Chocolate Flower Farm, Langley, WA
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I heard a whale last night after dark just north of Kayak Point. It stayed around for about 30 minutes.
Gary Lingenfelter
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We received a call from Mike Maurice, reporting a sighting of 3 orcas (1 small, 1 medium, 1 large), 6 miles south of Tatoosh Island at 5:30 pm. At first I thought they were likely Transient orcas, but given the position of K and L pods, it's possible it may be some of them as well.
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On Saturday, we bypassed the offshore killer whales and ventured further offshore with the hope of finding fin whales, which we have encountered with increasing regularity in the outer waters of Washington state in winter and spring. An estimated 10 individual fin whales were photo-identified and several satellite tags were deployed. Very little is known about the population structure and movements of fin whales in the eastern north pacific, and IDs and tags from this region contribute greatly to ongoing photo-ID and telemetry studies seeking to support management of this endangered species along the US West Coast.
Greg Schorr, Cascadia Research Collective
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5:19 pm: Pair of Greys heading S in front of house toward Baby Island and Camano St Pk.
Will Murphy
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3:12 pm: I was searching for the transient orcas north of Cama but instead saw two grey whales spotted 150 yrds from shore off of sunset dr, NW Camano island. They were heading north.
Nathan Ahlgren
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Monte Hughes of Mystic Sea Charters reported one Gray whale near Greenbank, mid-afternoon.
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Paulette Hummer of Camano Island reported a Gray whale, observed feeding mid-channel between Mabana, Camano Island and N. of Langley on Whidbey Island at about 9:30 this morning - it was her first sighting of a whale from their new beach house.

March 8, 2013

We received a call from Michelle Campbell reporting a pod of orcas between Gig Harbor and Pt. Defiance at 5 pm, heading south toward the Tacoma Narrows bridge. There was 1 male, and 7 - 8 orcas total- sounds like the pod observed coming in through Admiralty Inlet late Thursday night - where did they hide out all day?!
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Cascadia Research conducted two days of offshore surveys out of Westport, WA on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, in coordination with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center cruise, we encountered a large group of offshore killer whales near Gray's Canyon. Photo IDs, biopsy, and prey samples were collected, and satellite tags were deployed to help elucidate movements and habitat use for this ecotype. This group did not include either of the individuals tagged in Southern California.
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March 8th map of K and L pods, from the NWFSC: Since 6 March we have continued to try to follow K and L pods on the NOAA vessel Bell M. Shimada. On the evening of 6 March the whales were offshore of Cape Elizabeth, Washington, heading southwest. By the morning of the 7th they were nearshore off the entrance of Willipa Bay before turning northwest. We spent the day following them in our small boat and collected several fecal samples. By March 8 the whales were off the head of Gray's Canyon. The whales then moved inshore and were off of Gray's Harbor and northbound up the coast this evening. In the process of trying to resight K and L pods this morning we inadvertently ran into 30-40 offshore type killer whales.
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Kathy Webb reported one Gray whale heading south past Lagoon Pt,Central/West Whidbey Island at about 5:45 pm.
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On a cruise out of Langley, Whidbey Island onboard the Mystic Sea, we observed 2 gray whales between Everett and Hat/Gedney Island around 1:45 pm, feeding in the shallow water, heading toward the river delta. We tentatively ID'd #22, which was confirmed with Rick Collar's photo.
Susan Berta, Orca Network
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John Rogstad of WA State Ferries called to report one Gray Whale between Clinton and Mukilteo, heading north at 1pm.

March 7, 2013

3:48pm - Watching [gray] whales off the Oregon Coast. Saw what looked like a pod of Grays off Rockaway, North of Twin Rocks, heading North. We are at a high vantage point at a house above Rockaway.
Joy Grassley
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We live off Mabana on Camano Island (south of Elger Bay), and were sitting out in our hot tub tonight about 9:15 pm, and heard a whale/whales threshing around and breathing. It was low tide, so they were a distance away. It/they hung out for around a half hour and we could hear them head south, but they soon returned. Didn't hear as much activity after that, but still out there.
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Just spotted at least 4 Grays heading north of Camano Inn at about 6:30 pm, watched til they were out of sight....Have an Extraordinary Day!
Aspen
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A Grey is headed south in Saratoga Passage at 5 pm. He was in Camano Island's Madrona beach about 15 minutes ago and moving slowly, fairly close to the beach.
Carolyn Stack Griffin
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We watched Gray whales off Rockaway Beach, Oregon !!
Joy Grassley
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Yesterday afternoon (March 7) our walk/run/jog/shuffle became pause/look/find them again/oooh/ahhhh... we (wife: Kathy) and I were just starting up the zigzags on the northwesterly end of Ebey's Landing area to the bluff trail. We paused to look at an inbound U.S.Navy ship and noticed the three spouts... they (definite four, maybe a fifth) stayed in viewing (binoculars) for approximately an hour of pauses and walk a little ways, look again. Four (certain), maybe a fifth, orcas approx 3.2 miles S/SW from northwesterly end of Ebey's Landing Bluff Trail. Lat 48.17ºN Long 122.77ºW. They weren't going anywhere--moved a little bit northwesterly, moved a little bit southwesterly, seemed to just be playing. First sighting approx 4:30 p.m. (7 March 2013), last sighting approx 5:30 p.m, when they did the "Hmmm, they just disappeared" thing. They stayed in sight, played a lot, lots of splashing--too far away to tell exactly what they were doing--just entertaining us? Kathy (wife) guessed at one male (noticeably largest), two females, one smallish, and we could not decide on being sure about the fifth one.
John (and Kathy) Morelock, Coupeville, Washington
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Justine from the Victoria Clipper called at 6:30 pm to report a sighting of 4 orcas, including 1 adult male, in the Pt. Townsend/Keystone ferry lanes, mid-channel, heading south.
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From Robin Baird: K-pod and L-pod have spent the last few days off the southern Washington coast - the map (above) shows movements of both K25 and L88 since about 8 PM on March 5th, through this morning (March 7). Brad Hanson reports from the NWFSC cruise that yesterday (March 6) they were able to collect four more fecal samples and two prey samples, to help in assessing diet. You can follow the movements of the Bell Shimada at Ship Tracker.
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March 5 - 7
Gray off Polnell Shores, Oak Harbor WA. We watched for over 2 hours, 10am until noon when we had to leave. Also had gray off shore on March 6th and 7th as well, in the late afternoon.
Kathy Kaufman, Whidbey Island, WA

March 6, 2013

Orcas reported in Howe Sound, BC again - Spotted in Shoal Channel, Howe Sound at 10:30. Pod of perhaps 7 or 8 with at least three small calves. They were traveling westward out through Gibsons' Gap.
Jo Hammond
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Since the previous update on 4 March when the NOAA vessel Bell M. Shimada was with K and L pods off Cannon Beach, Oregon, we have continued to follow them almost continuously up the Washington coast. They reached the northernmost point of their most recent round-trip to California this afternoon offshore of Cape Elizabeth, Washington before turning southwest and heading more offshore. We have been able to conduct small boat operations with the whales for the last two days and have been able to collect 3 prey samples and 7 fecal samples.
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The latest track of the NOAA Cruise ship, with K and L pods, shows them about six miles west of the Quinault River - they had been heading north, but appear to have recently turned south again. You can follow the movements of the Bell Shimada at Ship Tracker.
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"Spouting News" - LET THE SHRIMP HARVEST BEGIN - This morning our first "gray" whale of the season, right out front. From 8:15AM to 10:20AM, took the slow train [walking the beach] from Mariner's Cove; almost to Polnell Pt. Gray was in constant feed mode/harvesting the ghost/sand shrimp. Most of the time, really in close; between 50' to 75' from the shoreline. Activity included the following:
a) Was not the only one observing, as curious seal trailed, young bald eagle flew by to check out, and single otter was feeding close to gray, possibly on scraps.
b) Gray was definately a right sided feeder which turned always to its right side to suction shrimp from sand.
c) Standing, on top of beach large rocks/high driftwood, noticed for first time what the surface swirling/splashing is all about. How the gray feeds. When gray tilts on its side, it will rock on the sandy bottom, rocking towards its stomach and then towards its back/spine. Evidently, In this way, with this movement, it creates the suction to harvest the shrimp from the sand.
d) An hour into the constant feed, was suddenly engulfed with a smell that was around a few minutes too long. Really ripe and much more pungent than typical sulfur smell I've caught down wind in a boat.
e) Gray would 'zig' out to deeper water 'zag' in towards shore; while slowly heading towards Polnell Pt. Always, heading south when going out to deeper water where drop off might have been. Mostly, feeding with its head in SW direction. Handful of times, feeding with head towards the shore due west. Not, to read into it too much, but, made me think of its inner workings/compass bearings. Finally, after 2 hours, I walked backed to Mariner's Cove; leaving the gray as breakfast was now turning into brunch. This was on an incoming tide, with high tide around 11AM.
Robert Stonefelt Oak Harbor, WA

March 5, 2013

Orcas spotted in Howe Sound (BC Sunshine Coast) this afternoon. Hope to have more information soon!
Sandra Scott
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Yay! our first Gray whale report from Hidden Beach, N of Greenbank, Whidbey Island! I took the dog out for a short walk around 2 pm, and could HEAR a gray whale spouting close in. Went down to the neighbor's bluff, where I heard it several more times, but didn't get to see it - too close in to the bluff to see, but sounded like it was heading south toward Greenbank.
Susan Berta and Sweet Pea, Orca Network, Greenbank, Whidbey Island, WA
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Finn Gatewood of Freeland reported a sighting of a whale (likely a Gray) from the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry this morning around 9:40 am. She saw the flukes on the north side of the ferry, toward Hat/Gedney Island. She also thought she may have seen something out of the corner of her eye (possibly a 2nd Gray?) heading in the opposite direction.
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K-pod and L-pod are off the southern Washington coast, having crossed the mouth of the Columbia River early this morning. A report from Brad notes that combined on Saturday, Sunday and Monday they collected 8 different fecal samples and scale samples from 4 different predation events, so building up a good sample for examining diet. The map shows movements for the last ~24 hours, posted for Brad Hanson, Northwest Fisheries Science Center
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The NOAA vessel Bell M. Shimada, tracking L88 (Wave Walker), has been off of North Beach Peninsula near Long Beach, WA, all morning, where L112 Victoria/Sooke was found last February. They have zigged and zagged a couple of times, and per Marine Traffic, which is more current, it looks like they are headed south, at the moment.
Gayle Swigart, Olympia, WA

March 4, 2013

K-pod and L-pod continue to head north along the Oregon coast. The map shows movements since early this morning. L88 is the northern-most point on the map, but differences in tag programming are probably responsible for the gap between L88 and K25, rather than the two pods having split up. Posted for Brad Hanson, Northwest Fisheries Science Center

March 3, 2013

9:28 pm - As reported at 8:20 by Else Jean Jensen, orcas, reportedly J pod, are now on the OrcaSound hydrophones, NW San Juan Island, WA. Others listened in and reported hearing them until about 10 pm, along with loud ship noise.
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T19 and 19B at Trial Island. 3:09 pm - Just got in for an awesome afternoon watching the T19s off trial island. They were difficult to watch with long 5 minute dives and zig zag movements.
Josh McInnes, Victoria, BC
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2:19 pm - Deception Pass Tours is with a gray whale off Mission Beach right now! This is our first official sighting of the year!! Our passengers are thrilled! Great opening day weekend!
Terica Taylor, Deception Pass Tours, Oak Harbor, WA

March 2, 2013

March 1, 2013




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