May 2009 Whale Sightings

May 31, 2009

Ken Balcomb and Emma Foster of the Center for Whale Research encountered 3 transients while in route from Victoria, B.C. to San Juan Island. T109A and calf T109A2 were traveling with T12A.
Center for Whale Research
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May 24 & 31 - I have 2 grey Whale sightings to report: May 24 - 8 AM Camano Island at Indian Beach. 1 Grey traveling Southbound 40 yards off of shore. May 31 3:30 PM to 4:15 We spend 45 minutes with a Grey at Golden Gardens Park. It first breached and blew off of North Beach - then we stayed with it for 45 minutes as it bottom fed along the shore of Golden gardens. sometimes within 30 ' of shore.
Bill Barks
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This majestic bull T12A was out there keeping company with T109A and T109A2. We had good looks of the three of them slowly heading out west. He has a Dorsal fin rather like Ruffles, full of nice waves. We encountered them just south of Trail Island and they were in a resting pattern with very long dives.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic, Prince of Whales
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Working up here in SE Alaska has giving me yet another opportunity to view our awesome black and white friends in their world. I was out halibut fishing yesterday afternoon in Lynn Canal north of Juneau and had upwards of 20 orcas come through. They have been hanging around the area for a couple of weeks and we were finally able to see them. We watched them breach, spyhop and tailslap. One even rolled over on its back and was slapping its fins.
Eric Ogren
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About 9 a.m. we saw a minke whale surface a few times. This was about two miles southwest of Smith Island. Also, all day we saw lots of what we think were Dall's porpoises.
David Freed
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We heard that there was a group of Transients in the Strait of Juan de Fuca near the Romeo marker, so we were happy to hear we had whales in the area. As we left the dock, we heard that it was actually a large group of Transients, numbering between 14-20. Wow! We arrived about 6 miles north of Sequim at 1320 and slowly approached the area the whales were sighted. The perfectly glassy calm water made spotting the whales very easy, and we shut down about 450 yards from the group. Amazingly--they were in a definite resting pattern, with all 14 whales slowly rising to the surface in unison in a tight, contact pattern. This went on for about 15 minutes until one of the whales decided "nap time" was over. Then the whales began zig-zagging in what appeared to be a random pattern, breaking into smaller groups and then coalescing into a big group again. Soon the Transients were spy-hopping, tail slapping, and then a swirl of water around 3-4 whales--followed by a bunch of seagulls swarming the area. They had made a stealthy kill, and we can only guess it was a porpoise as there were dozens in the area. This was followed by several breaches!! And for only the 3rd time in 12 years--I witnessed whales swimming backwards four times! It always catches me off-guard to see a dorsal fin going backwards! No vocalizations, but amazing to see Transients so active! We left the scene at 1410 as the whales continued heading easterly.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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Mark Malleson of Prince of Whales called to relay a report of a large group of 18 Transients in the Strait of Juan de Fuca - the T30's, T100's, T101's, T124's, T90 & T90B. They followed them as they headed east, leaving them at 4:30 pm off Pt. Wilson, still heading east.
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Ken Balcomb & Emma Foster of the Center for Whale Research had 3 other Transient orcas: T12A, T109A, & T109A2, south of Discovery Island at 11 am, heading west.
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A pod of orcas went past Pt No Pt (N. Kitsap Peninsula) from 8-8:45 pm. Two whales were seen at around 8pm by beach walkers and then a second group came by around 8:30pm. There was at least one large male and 3-4 females in the second group. They were travelling south towards Kingston. The second pod hung out about ¼ mile past the lighthouse at Pt No Pt and did some breaching and tail lobs.
Patty Michak, MarineView Fisheries Consulting, Inc., Hansville
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Bev Wenthin of Bush Pt. called to report 3 orcas just north of Bush Pt. at 6:32 pm, heading south. They were between mid-channel & the far side of Admiralty Inlet.
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About 2PM off Partridge Point there was a pod of Orcas doing a little fishing. They were probably 10-15 miles offshore from where I am near Partridge Point, so there wasn't a lot of see from my vantage point, but the male's dorsals were unmistakable even from afar.
Cameron Chandler, Coupeville
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Cathy Kelly of Saltery Bay, BC (27km south of Powell River) called Orca Network with a sighting of 6-8 orcas traveling NE past the Saltery Bay ferry terminal, up Jervis Inlet at 11 AM . At least one male and one juvenile were among them.
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On the trip home we also found a lone minke whale between Middle Bank and Salmon Bank.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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I spotted a Minke Whale heading west. 1.5 miles south of Eagle Point (San Juan Island). I watched the Minke for 45 min. it was traveling at 4 to 6 knots.
Captain Tommer Roush, t2 charter
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After telling a friend yesterday that we don't often see whales in Port Townsend Bay, today several groups of rowers saw the Gray whale, roughly between 10 and 11 AM, closer to Indian Island than to downtown Port Townsend. It was about 200 yards from our boat, slowly cruising, showing small parts of its body at a time. It was visible for about 3 minutes. It may have been a juvenile, roughly 25 feet long, maybe shorter - comparing it to the length of the skeleton we have at the Marine Science Center. Its body had the typical patches of barnacles but what was more noticeable was the scarring along much of its body, especially on its tail -- long white slashes that may have come from encounters with propellers or possible entanglement with a net. Especially exciting since I remember an earlier visit by a grey on Memorial Day as well (and today "really" is Memorial Day.)
Libby Palmer, Port Townsend Marine Science Center, Rat Island Rowing & Sculling Club

May 30, 2009

We went by boat to Rat Island, located in South Port Townsend Bay at the entrance to Kilisut Harbor. At 8:00pm we were picnicking on the North side of the island when a gray whale surfaced and blew approximately 10 meters off shore. It appeared to be between 7 and 10 meters in length and exhibited feeding behavior up and down the North side of the island for the hour we were there.
Keith Brkich
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While at Pacific Beach around 2PM we spotted a Grey whale about 100 yards out from shore past the breakers. We saw the spout blow three times and the back of the whale surface once and the tail fins once.
Jeff Pollock
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A humpback whale was feeding in the flood tide at the south end of Yucata Rapids, in the Stuart Island BC area.
Nick Templeman, Discovery Marine Safaris, Campbell River BC
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The 3.30pm Prince of Whales, Ocean Magic, encountered two Minke Whales at Hein Bank, around 4.30pm. They were foraging in large cycles. The collection of gulls and sea birds on the surface would indicate often where these whales were feeding.
Marie, Orca-Magic POW
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We headed out this afternoon into the Strait of Juan De Fuca in search of T40, Cpt. Hook and eventually found him traveling a few miles East of William Head. The sea state was very confused this afternoon but T40 seemed to be taking the surf in his stride. As we observed T40 we noticed a number of directions changes. It was great to see the old guy again.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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Orca Network received a call from a fishing boat four miles due west of Port Orford OR, about twenty (20) orcas heading Northwest at 2 PM. At least one male and a baby were present. They came up to the boat, even rubbing it. Photos were taken and will be sent to Orca Network on Monday when they come in.
Marnie, relaying report from Josh Johnson, Port Orford, OR

May 29, 2009

I just received photos from Linda Nichol and Melissa Boogaards who work in our group and it looks like they had L's heading east off Port Hardy BC at 1800 this evening. From the photos they sent I could identify: L41, L77, L79,L12, L22, and L89.
Graeme Ellis, Pacific Biological Field Station, Canada's Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans
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2 Orca Whales seen briefly at 14:15, at Three Arch Capes, OR (45 27' 13.41" N, 123 58' 46.87 W) headed south. Appeared to be Swimming quickly. Three Arch Capes is a Breeding Area for Sea Lions.
Brian Blume
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We watched a nice sized Gray just off of NAS Whidbey Base. It was feeding, in close to shore. It was just dilly-dallying and showing off its style.
Caroline Spehar, Marine Naturalist, SSAMIN Member, Mystic Sea
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There were Harbor Porpoises everywhere, herds of them. We also saw a Minke Whale out around Smith and Minor Islands, also feeding.
Caroline Spehar, Marine Naturalist, SSAMIN Member, Mystic Sea

May 27, 2009

Evening, one gray at Kayak Point feeding close to shore, moving north.
Gary Lingenfelter, Kayak Pt, Snohomish Co.
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This afternoon (approx. 2:15-2:45 PM) from the Western Explorer we observed a gray whale just offshore of the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. It appeared to be feeding as every once and a while a brown plume of mud was visible at the surface.
Monika Wieland
San Juan Island
Jesse Huggins at Cascadia Research writes: Jill sent some photos of the left side of the same whale as well. This is one of the whales new to the area this year.
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Chuck Niedzialkowski reported two gray whales about 100 yards off Whidbey Naval Air Station for several hours from noon to about 2:45.
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We watched a gray whale feeding along the west side of Whidbey near Rocky Point, south of the main part of the Navy base. We watched him for about 45 minutes around 1 pm. He was in fairly shallow water, and didn't ever show his fluke. I think he's one of the newcomers for 2009.
Jill Hein
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Gray whale at Spee-Bi-Dah We just had (9:30am to 10:00am) a grey whale feeding 50 to 75 yards off shore at Spee-Bi-Dah. We have not seen this whale this year. Tail and fin markings are not like any others we have seen this year. Also so was much lighter in color. The feeding pattern was different. Instead of the normal roll and dip this one seem to sink with very little fin and tail action.
Malcolm & Tarry Lindquist

May 25, 2009

I had an incredible experience with a gray whale off Bells Beach on Whidbey Island around 12:30 pm. It was a very low tide and I had just brought our boat in and was preparing the anchor when a gray whale came up about 10 feet away - right off shore (the tide was all the way out to the drop-off so it got deep quick). The whale slowly traveled north along the shoreline. At one point I was able to wade out about waist deep and the whale came up about 5 feet away - I could almost touch its tail as it went by (I know I shouldn't have gotten so close but could not resist). He/she appeared to be feeding and came up numerous times without blowing and also rolling on its side and raising a fin, presumably while scooping up goodies on the seabed. My wife jogged along with the whale almost all the way to fox spit where the whale eventually steered out towards Camano and did a terminal dive. Others on the beach were taking pictures so I will try to get copies and forward them along.
Brent Lewis, Whidbey Island
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Spotted very small gray whale, lone, feeding very close to shore, Sunset Beach just south of Madrona Beach, (W. Camano Island) , swimming back and forth, 7pm.
Cyndi Harris, Camano Island
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J-1 with maybe 6 other whales porpoising fast to the southeast around Eagle Point, with a strong flooding tide, at 1:13pm They all slowed down around False Bay, going on long dives, appeared to be foraging. We left them at about 2pm.
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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Don Prior called Orca Network about a gray whale in Holmes Harbor, Saratoga Passage, and the Rocky Point boat ramp. It was a low tide and the whale was in about 10-12' of water. He saw it between 2 and 3 PM, from very close.
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We saw a pod of Orcas at Cape Flattery around noon today.
Diane Forsmark, Port Townsend on vacation up on the Makah Reservation
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Dave Ellifrit said orcas were heading south in Haro Strait, approaching the Center for Whale Research at 12:45 PM.
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Jeff Hogan was hearing calls on the Lime Kiln Hps at 12:55PM.
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We left J pod in big seas near Middle Bank headed south this evening about 7:00PM. The last time they did this, they were back the next day, after visiting Pt. Angeles.
Capt. Jim
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Some Ts have been spotted near Coal Island, over near Sidney.
Capt. Jim
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We ran into the T2's just outside of Active Pass in Trincomali channel and followed them through the pass.
Gary Sutton, Naturalist
Wild Whales Vancouver

May 24, 2009

8 AM Camano Island at Indian Beach. 1 Grey traveling Southbound 40 yards off of shore.
Bill Barks
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I spent a lot of time at Lime Kiln Park and was able to photograph the J Pod orcas on Friday, twice on Saturday, and again on Sunday. On Saturday, they went north and then came back later that day. I was so glad I stayed as little J45 was practicing his breaching for a good half hour.
Carole May, Whales And Sails, Etc.
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Type: Gray (possibly, but not likely, Humpbacks)
Number: two (2)
Where: 48 degrees 20 minutes North 122 degrees sixteen minutes West (Port Gardner, very close to Everett / mouth of the Snohomish River.)
Direction: Basically stationary / when the sounded they appeared to be heading NE towards the shallower water.
When: 24 May (Sunday), 2009 at 1350 (1:50) PDT
JW
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We left J Pod going north at the Pender Bluffs yesterday at 7:00 PM. J44 was having a great time strolling along with mom, J 17, and her family.
Capt. Jim Maya
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Tagging on to Jeff and Cathy's reports of calls on the HPs on Sunday. I was at LimeKiln and have posted a video clip of Samish J-14 and her three youngest - Hy'Shqa J-37, Suttles J-40 and baby J-45 as they spent time there. It was interesting that with all their activity there were more echo clicks than vocals. Was it a training session or just lunch time?
Jeanne
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We had J-Pod riding in the huge flood tide. When we were getting ready to leave the dock, we had a report that J Pod was at Constance Bank heading east, so we hoped they'd be somewhat close by the time we got in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. By the time we made Cattle Point, they were already along the shore of San Juan (must have been the 6 knot current speeding them along!) They were very spread out, making any ID's very hard, but I did manage to spot J27 near False Bay. For our second trip in the late afternoon, the whales had made a decision to head north, and we found the trailing whales near Stuart Island. This time however, things were different. The currents were almost ebbing, so the whales had slowed way down. We were lucky enough to find two good-sized groups traveling closely together, and not in a big hurry. Lots of spyhops, tail lobs, rolling on top of each other, and even a sea-snake! We were able to ID J16 Slick, J17 Princess Angeline, J22 Oreo, J27 Blackberry, J28 Polaris, J34 Doublestuff, J35 Tahlequah, J38 Cookie, and new calf J44. We watched the whales pass the Turn Point Lighthouse before heading home, full of smiles!
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN
Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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Jeff Hogan called with a Lime Kiln acoustic alert. J's live on the hydrophones at 1:30 PM.
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At 13:10 I was hearing faint calls on the Lime Kiln Hps. At 14:23 still hearing calls and clicks on Lime Kiln Hps. At 14:54 started hearing calls and clicks on OrcaSound Hps. Whales are obviously traveling North.
Cathy Bacon
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A call came at 9:54 AM in about at least 3 orcas in mid-channel Puget Sound between Sandy Shores Beach, Maury Island, and Federal Way.
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Mike Morris called in a report of at least 3 orcas 3-4 miles offshore of Destruction Island, 45 miles south of Cape Flattery, at 7:30 AM. Coordinates were 47, 39.14 N X 124, 35.24 W. He said he thought there were two males.

May 23, 2009

I spent a lot of time at Lime Kiln Park and was able to photograph the J Pod orcas on Friday, twice on Saturday, and again on Sunday. On Saturday, they went north and then came back later that day. I was so glad I stayed as little J45 was practicing his breaching for a good half hour.
Carole May, Whales And Sails, Etc.
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This pod heading north and swimming very fast crossed our helm at 11:53 am near the south bound shipping lane between Shilshole Bay and Bainbridge Island. Lat 47 41.89N; Long 122 27.15 W. There were about 5-6 whales including one adult male and one juvenile.
Tom and Elaine Armantrout
S/V Maria
The bull is T102. Along with T101 (frame 56) and T101A (frame 73) are in the pics too-so looks like the T101's with someone else. Dave Ellifrit
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We watched a large but dispersed set of whales head west between Aleck Bay and Iceberg Point on South Lopez mid-day today. They were passing by from about 11:45 until 12:15 - there were probably more than a dozen, but I don't have a clear count as some were far from shore.
Tom Reeve
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10:15 AM - A Vashon ferry captain left a report of up to six orcas in the ferry lane north of Vashon Island, headed north.
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4:30 PM - Sitting on my deck I spotted 3-4 orcas definately one male. Heading north then south in the deep traffic channel of the sound. Playing and breaching. going back and forth n to s. We are centered between the Eglon Boat launch and the point no point lighthouse. Could not get a good enough picture for you to send to verify which pod. thanks way exciting for me. Marion called at 4:34 PM with the above report, and again at 4:42 to say that after 40 minutes of milling and playing, the orcas headed north fast.
Marion McKenzie-Fuller
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7:30 PM - Pete called to report a single male orca several hundred feet out from Bush Point, Whibey Island, heading north.
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7:53 PM - Michael Wade called to say 3-5 orcas were passing between Bush Point and Lagoon Point, heading north.

May 22, 2009

I spent a lot of time at Lime Kiln Park and was able to photograph the J Pod orcas on Friday, twice on Saturday, and again on Sunday. On Saturday, they went north and then came back later that day. I was so glad I stayed as little J45 was practicing his breaching for a good half hour.
Carole May, Whales And Sails, Etc.
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We had a great encounter with J pod today. We travelled quite far south of Vancouver towards the Juan de Fuca Straight and found J pod not far off of Smith Island. We found J14 with new calf J45 (see photo) and his siblings, including Big brother J30. We travelled back home along the west side of San Juan Island, where we saw J1 all by himself. He was quite far away from the rest of the pod, but we were happy to have a look at him and get away from the wind.
Jill Persick
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Orca Network received a report of a gray whale near Everett at 9:30, near the white bouy.
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Just in from an exciting ride in Mark's Zodiac, west of Race Rocks, where we caught up with the K13 family group of 6 whales. Mark Malleson had spotted this group on an earlier trip. They were bucking a flood tide with 2-3ft chop at 2pm and moving fast. No time for foraging, although one seem to stall for a moment and possibly catch a fish or two. Plenty of white caps out there, near Church Rock, Sooke where we met up with them. Difficult to see these whales at times and to anticipate where they would surface due to the waves, but a great trip anyhow. We left them heading west still.
Marie, Orca-Magic POW.
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We left the trailing Js in the center of Haro St. at 6:30 this evening, headed north.
Jim Maya
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We sighted J pod foraging in small scattered groups of 4-7 orcas each. Tail whack after tail whack, and numerous breaches, even a bit of la amour- amour. I positively I D'd J17 and baby J44 riding high over her back. And J27- Blackberry. All sightings 2-3 miles S.W. off Iceberg Point in the Juan de Fuca. The children also enjoyed a pod (20-30) of Harbour porpoises, S.E. of Colville Is.
Caroline Spehar
Transboundary Naturalist
Mystic Sea, Anacortes
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Grey Whales are now at the entrance of the Straits of Juan De Fuca and right off of the green can by Waadah Island.
Vincent Cooke, Environmental Division Manager
Makah Tribe

May 21, 2009

This afternoon we caught up with several members of Jpod including J27 Blackberry, J28 Polaris and the new calf J44, just south of Lime Kiln Park. We followed about 12 members of Jpod that also included J17 Princess Angeline, J34 Doublestuff and J38 Cooke, as they moved north along the west side of San Juan Island up to Andrew's Bay. The rest of Jpod could be seen in the distance near Stuart Island.
Andrew Lees
Marine Naturalist
Five Star Whale Watching
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We left the J trailers headed N. at Turn Pt. at 6:30 this evening. The K13s headed south at Kellet at 4:15. I would suspect we'll see both groups tomorrow. Could the Ks, having split w the Js, be headed south to meet the rest of the Ks?
Capt. Jim
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Around 8:45 pm, a group of about 8 orcas were travelling eastward through Active Pass. They were moving quite quickly but we saw one spy hop. It is our first sighting of the season, although fellow whale watchers from Georgeson Bay tell me it is the third time they have seen them in the Pass this week.
Karoline
Galiano Island
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Thought you might like this Minke pic for your data base as it has a divit in its skin. Perhaps it is a familiar Minke in these waters, just off the west marker I believe I heard the driver say, Hein Bank approx 1.30pm. I was in a Zodiac heading toward San Juan Island to watch J Pod.
Marie O'Shaughnessy
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What a beautiful day watching J pod and some of K pod, head north along the shoreline of San Juan Island, between 2-3 pm today. Got to see one of the little ones J44 swimming close to mom J17. Not much foraging going on as they were really moving in rather spread out groups. I was on a POW Zodiac enjoying the calm conditions. We actually were surprised by a sudden appearance of a Minke Whale on the west side of Hein Bank during our trip over to the San Juans.
Marie, Orca-Magic, POW
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I went out to Joseph Whidbey State Park at 10 AM, just south of Naval Air Station and saw 4 or 5 orcas heading due west toward Salmon Bank, south of San Juan Island, several miles from shore.
Howard
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Chuck Niedzialkowski called at 9:30 AM with a sighting of at least five orcas heading south along the shore of Rocky Point, on the north side of the Naval Air Station Whidbey, including a cow and calf.
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Sally Reeve called at 8:30 AM to report about ten orcas heading west toward Ice Berg Pt. at the south tip of Lopez.

May 20, 2009

J Pod with some K's traveling north against an ebbing tide in Haro Strait from 1:15pm to 2:30pm. The family groups were loosely spread out diving and foraging, then showed an array of behaviors as they closed in on Stuart Island; fluke and pectoral slaps, a few breaches, lunges, and flashes of male parts! (It'll be interesting to see if there are any new calves, in about a year and a half, from those K-13/ K-20 girls!!)
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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Today we came across J Pod in Haro Strait headed north toward Stuart Island at 1:30 p.m. We watched Granny (J-2) and Ruffles (J-1) as they headed up the pod working their way north. The whales were in sub pod family groups, with lots of tail slapping going on, some foraging, and lots of traveling behavior. Big brother, Riptide (J-30) was right with his new sibling J-14's new calf. It was a beautiful day on the water with the added bonus of sunshine and warm temperatures. We left J pod as they headed north past Turn Point on Stuart Island, at 2:40 p.m.
~Nan Simpson
Marine Naturalist
Western Prince Cruises
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Orca Network got a call (7:30 pm) from Blaine Galanty in Brookings, OR with a real time report of at least 4 orcas, milling rapidly in the same spot for about a half hour before the fog rolled in, under many birds, about 2-3 hundred yards from Chetco Point. He said it looked like they were "chowing down". He says there have been a lot of seals and sea lions around there recently.

May 19, 2009

Hearing vocalizations on Orcasound at 18:05 (6:05pm).
Angela Bush, Mill Creek
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My wife Ali spotted a [gray] whale spout around 11:00 AM today. We were lucky to see a cow and calf again today. First spotted east of Chito Beach Resort 48* 18' 30" 124* 25' 33", we watched them travel and feed to the West losing sight of them at Shipwreck point. around 1:00 PM. I as able to get some more good shots and added them to this web album. I was able to get several good shots for identification and pictures with the 2 of them in the same shot.
Chito Beach Whales Album
Brian Harmon
Chito Beach Resort
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On two trips today, we were with Orcas. Right now they are down near Lime Kiln Lighthouse. This shot was taken by me just south of Turn Point. The ship in the background is Pacific Grace, out of Victoria. We see sights like this all the time...
Capt. Jim

May 18, 2009

A Gray was sighted feeding at West Beach (Deception Pass State Park), I observed it feeding South to North, from our concession building all the way to W. Point (right at the Pass.) I observed from 4- 5pm. It was originally reported by a visitor as an injured whale "Not moving, bobbing in the water for over an hour". It was in shallow water - less than 100ft from shore rolling to feed-no apparent injuries or abnormal behavior. Anecdotal reports later said it has been in the area for several days.
Adam Lorio, Parks Interpretive Specialist, Deception Pass State Park
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Mary Hamann of Monroe called to report a Gray whale observed from Deception Pass State Park. They watched it between 1-3 pm, as it fed in shallow water, rolling on its side, with pectoral fin and the tip of a fluke showing above the surface.
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After I missed the J pod again, I still started listening at the OrcaSound hydrophones last night. It seemes succesfull, because arount 1 am (4pm PST) I heard them! First faint, then louder. Later at the Lime Kiln hydrophones as well, so they must been heading south. When they stopped at the Lime Kiln hydrophone (around 1:45 am, 4:45 pm), I turned back at OrcaSound hydrophone, and was actually able to see them at the OrcaCam (heading north again)around 2 am (5pm)!
Jette Hope (Netherlands)
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I got a call that J-Pod had slowly made it's way past Kellett Bluff (they were at False Bay early this morning, so they were definitely not in any sort of hurry! With only 2 boats within 10 miles of whales, it was very serene as the whales slowly meandered by. We saw J17 and new calf J44, as well as J30 Riptide doing very long dives. Even J1 Ruffles was easy to spot in the flat calm water well over a mile away! Blows would carry so far across the water that many times we'd hear the blow and turn to look for the whale and only see a footprint on the water.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, SSAMN Member, Friday Harbor
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J pod: Heard them faint at the Orca Sound hydrophones about half an hour ago (4 pm), hearing them clearer now (4:30 pm) not much though - and faint at lime kiln hydrophone.
Jette, the Netherlands
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Picking up some Orcas on the Lime Kiln Hydrophone right now - 4:30 pm.
Pam Martin
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Faint Calls can be heard on Orca Sound hps. - 2:28 pm They must be moving North.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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Sounds like J pod on Lime Kiln Hp's at 2pm PST.
Barbara Ellingsen
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I am hearing calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone. It's 1:55pm.
Angela Bush
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Hearing faint calls on Lime Kiln Hps amoungst ship noise - 1:50 pm. Update at 1:55 pm: Very loud calls and clicks on Lime Kiln Hps.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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Jim Maya called to report J's & the K13's at Eagle Pt, San Juan Island, 10:05 heading north, and also sent in this report: this morning we, the mom, dad and their two boys, found J Pod at Eagle Pt., W. San Juan Island. We left them at 10:00 AM this morning at Eagle Pt. pointed North.
Capt. Jim and Mrs. Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters
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Shane Aggergaard of Island Adventures called at 11:30 am to report 1 Gray whale 200 yards west of the Deception Pass Bridge on the Fidalgo Island side.

May ?, 2009

MAY ??
Hi, after telling a friend I spent some time with a Gray whale just off the beach on the east side of Marrowstone Isl. she passed this site along to me. I was kayaking south along the shore and noticed the spout. I observed the whale feeding in about 6 to 8 feet of water just north off Liplip point. I hung out for about 20 min. then proceeded around to the south west side of the island. On my return a couple hours later, The whale or, a gray whale surfaced 100 feet to my right and I paddled along with it until I reached east beach.
David Cascadden.

May 17, 2009

I had a few minke sightings. About 10 a.m. briefly saw two minke spouts just off Partridge Pt. west side of Whidbey. Later, about 2 p.m. saw a minke much closer, wandering among the fishing boats about 2 miles southwest of Smith Island. At one point the minke was about 30 feet off the back of our boat, then dove.
David
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Around 5 PM, again spotted a gray off the drop-off in front of our house. He was diving deep and I only saw him twice.
Barbara Brock, Mabana, Camano Island
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Lone gray feeding along beaches NE of Clinton, much to the delight of squealing landside children less than 100 feet away on the beach, 12:00-2:00 pm.
Mark Eager
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J's and K's went to Jordan River area stopped and turned around. Were off the Canadian PT. no PT.at 1700 going East at about 10kts.
Ron Bates, MMRG, Victoria B.C.
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At 9am we received confirmed report from Ron Bates, MMRG, that J Pod had been sighted near Sooke heading west. By the time we caught up with JPod at 12.45pm, they were already traveling south in the Strait of Juan De Fuca a few miles from Sheringham Point (see above photo). We watched JPod in close formation surfing the waves in the strait. Later in the afternoon we heard that JPod had already reached Jordan River and were continueing west. Looks like they have headed out west but hopefully will be back soon.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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Orca Network received a report of 1 Gray Whale at Whitter Beach, SE Whidbey Island at 10:15 am, 50 - 70 yards offshore.

May 16, 2009

Just off Partridge Pt. west side of Whidbey about 2 miles southwest of Smith Island. The friend I was with said she also saw two minkes, where they blew and dove among the boats for a long while.
David
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We live on south Camano, and for the last few days one to two gray whales have been cruising by our home on Gull Way in the late afternoon regularly. On May 16th, Saturday, we witnessed a very upsetting occurrence with a boat interfering with two whales' progress.
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We were on the road to lime kiln around 6:45 pm and saw the two adult whales, but we saw three babies. Two were still small, and one was very tiny, smaller than the two. It looks like it was J pod, J44 and J45, but who was that small-small one? It almost looked like a porpoise, and if we didn't hear it's exhalation, we thought it just might be. One of the bigger but still small babies, stayed near an adult. The other bigger small baby swam a little bit away, and the tiny one stayed with that one. And the other adult stayed in closer to shore?
The Kane Family, Sammamish, WA
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There were T's everywhere out west in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. They were seen 2-5 miles south and west of Race Rocks. I have never seen so many in one day. Such an awesome spectacle. The early afternoon trip at 12.15pm caught up with playful Transients, possibly 10-12 that had probably just eaten. Their behaviour included several breaches and tail lobbing activity. T102, the big bull, was obvious on both the trips. His dorsal fin reminded me of 'Faith, 'L 57'. The later trip at 3.30pm, saw most of the T's in separate groups, heading fast out west past Sheringham Lighthouse. There could have been 15-20 or more in total at that time. Mark Malleson our Expert on T's, here in Victoria, identified many of the groups seen in the Strait. T100s.T124's T101's,T90's.
Marie, Orca-Magic, POW
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ORCASOUND - 22:10 - Jan start listening. Faint call on the Orcasound hydrophone. 22:16 -They are calling occasionally. Probably Jpod. 22:21 - Calls are fading away. 22:25 -The whales are coming closer. 22:37 Calls are fading away. 22:53-Occasionaly faint calls audible after a short period of 15 minutes silence. 23:04 Jan stop listening. Switching to Limekiln. LIMEKILN - 23:07 - Jan start listening. Calls of J pod are audible. There is some boat noise. 23:20 Calls stop.
Jan
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1805: Vickie from Kent and Carlie from Edmonton reported hearing calls first. Sound like S44 looks but not sure. 1818: Clear calls, buzzes pops on Orca Sound hydrophones. Recording.
Eric McRae
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Calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones - for a couple minutes then faded out beginning at 1748, it's 1752 now. Update at 8 pm: Still hearing calls, squeeks, and what sounded like possible echolocation? (sounds like tapping on metal..) I think the echolocation was happening during what sounded like some blow hole burps, very low sounding squeeks (like a human with gas! hah) so was assuming they were possibly hunting some fish/prey? It went on and off for about 30-40 minutes, never really fading out, staying in the same area and very clear. The echolocation was very loud. A little bit after 1900, for about a half hour, and now I'm getting ALOT of noise of squeeks, and squeals and calls!!! It's not extremely loud, but it's very audible. I started listening at 1738, got calls at 1748 and continued until now (2000), and we are still getting them. More the squeeks and squeals this time. Sounds like several, rather than a few? I'm just learning the hydrophone listening.
Vickie Doyle, Kent
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I heard calls at around 6:40 (Edmonton time) Short bursts. Possibly hunting calls.
Carlie
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From 5:30-7:30 PM we watched a very spread out J-Pod head slowly south past Lime Kiln Lighthouse.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island
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J pod went south past Landbank between 5:20pm and 5:50pm, traveling slowly and widely spread on glassy water. When we returned from a tasty and fun Whale Museum Greeting Ceremony benefit dinner (a big thank you to all those who worked so hard to put this event on), J16 and her family were hanging out at Landbank at about 9pm, heading south but being pushed by the flood tide north. The "whoosh," "whoosh's" were loud and magical. After staying in the same hundred yards or so for at least a half hour, J16 and family picked up speed and began traveling south. It was getting pretty dark by this time. Almost as soon as the J16's moved south, J27 and his siblings appeared, whoosh, whooshing and moving south. Three whales came within 10 yards of shore, Ruffles (J1) and Granny (J2) and another whale that I could not identify by sight, but that had a familiar whistle--must be Speiden (J8) I'm thinking. Ruffles' exhalations in such still air exploded in the night. As I wrote this, faint calls at the LimeKiln hydrophones were becoming louder, but after boat noise came and went, the calls have disappeared, at least for now.
Sharon Grace, San Juan Island
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Orca Network received a report of 1 Gray Whale at Whitter Beach, SE Whidbey Island.
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Two gray whales, some distance apart, feeding off the drop- off in front of our house (Mabana, SW Camano) about 5 PM. One whale has been fairly stationary, and the second has moved north toward Mabana.
Barbara Brock, Camano Island

May 15, 2009

A friend said he saw about 20 orcas at Octopus Point on Vancouver Island about 3 pm, heading North. They were jumping and playing. Is this possible? Whom might it have been?
Tamar , Salt Spring Island Maybe this was the large Transient group we've had other reports of from the 15th? sb
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Center for Whale Research staff Dave Ellifrit and Erin Heydenreich responded to J and K pod calls heard on the Lime Kiln hydrophone, early morning. J pod and the K13's were encountered off Hannah Heights (48° 32 24 N, 123° 10 14 W) on the west side of San Juan Island at 9:39 a.m. The whales were spread out in groups, traveling North. The whales later came together in a tight group and began resting off Mitchell Bay. The encounter ended at 11:45 a.m. with the whales moving slowly north at (48° 35 03 N, 123° 12 27 W).
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After leaving J pod and the K13's off Mitchell Bay, we recieved a report of 20 plus transients off Beaver Point on Saltspring Island B.C. At approximately 1:30 p.m., the T18's, T20's, T101's, T100's and the T124's were encountered by Dave Ellifrit and Erin Heydenreich of the Ctr. for Whale Research, the whales were traveling in a tight group up Satellite Channel (48° 44 329N, 123° 22 990W). The encounter ended with the whales split up into groups heading toward the Swanson Narrows at 3:23 pm (48° 45 350N, 123° 34 163W).
From Center for Whale Research
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As soon as the we left the 20 some transients up in Satellite Channel, B.C., we recieved another report of more transients off the southern end of Sidney Island. The T2's and the T123's were spotted off Kelp Reef in Haro Strait (48° 32 169N, 123° 16 213W) at 4:31 p.m. They were traveling south in a tight group. At 4:49 the group of T's quickly killed a harbor porpoise. The 3rd encounter of the day ended at 5:01 p.m., with the T2's and T123's continuing south at 48° 30 989N, 123° 15 447W.
Dave Ellifrit and Erin Heydenreich, Center for Whale Research
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Thought I'd send an orca photo from Friday, May 15. This was taken from shore on the west side of San Juan Island, near Smuggler's Cove. The orcas were traveling in a tight formation, so it was especially thrilling to see them on Friday.
Jane Cogan
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7 orcas for sure, but there seemed to be more -maybe 8 or 9, between 8:00 pm and 8:45 pm, travelling south close in to the shore along south eastern Vancouver Island, from Porter's Creek estuary (south of Ladysmith which is south of Nanaimo), down and across the mouth of Chemainus Harbour , close in around Bare point, and then directly over to the northern end of the Shoal Islands off the Chemainus River estuary where they stopped for quite some time. Likely feeding - Moving quickly, then slowing to circle, diving, jumping occasionally, tail splashing . Settled at tide line off northern shoal islands for 20 mins. and may have stayed longer but we left. Two very large fins led the group, out front about 300 feet. One was larger than the other and led slightly in front. Then a third whale joined them at times. Also in the following group whales amongst the smaller fins there was one very small (about 6' long) whale.
Jane Walton, Vancouver Island, B.C.
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We picked up a huge group of transients thataround beaver point.
Gary Sutton, Naturalist, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Amazing day with T's today. Dave Ellifrit was also there representing the Center for Whale Resarch, so I'm sure you will get a fantastic report from him too. When our boats passed close, he was just grinning from ear to ear and rattling off ID's. I think he was in T heaven! A group of approx 8 Transient Orcas was located on the east side of Prevost Island at approx 12:30 today. T102 was clearly recognizable in the group, along with several females and juveniles. They were travelling at about 8 knots, heading south. Then, off a ways to the south there were many more blows spotted. We had heard that J Pod was headed North, and the immediate reaction was that we were going to have a near pass of Resident and Transient Orcas. As we approached, the pointy tips of the dorsal fins, and the unmistakable lean of T19B's fin revealed there were even more T's in the area. I can't give you an exact count of the number as the various groups kept joining up, then seperating, but I would estimate there were about 20 whales altogether. The whales we ID'ed on scene and after the fact from photos were the T18's, T20 & T21, T100's, T101's and the T124's. A photo of T124D and company travelling together is attached. The Center for Whale Research was also on scene, so I am positive they will have a complete list of the whales that were present. We did see one kill during the time we spent with the T's - likely a seal as there was not much fuss at the surface, except for the seagulls looking for scraps. There was some social activity, some breaches and tailslaps, however, no vocals were heard. When we left the whales, most of the group was headed southwest, along the south side of Saltspring Island. What a magnificent show of power to have so many T's travelling together.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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I took another trip Friday on the Ocean Magic at 3.30pm, and conditions were even better than in the morning. Flat calm waters in Haro Strait with no wind. We encountered T123's and their tiny calf. Also the T2's that were with the T123's. The research boat monitoring them at the time gave me the info as to who we were watching. We had encountered the T's west of Kelp Reef at 4.30 pm and they were heading south in Haro Strait.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic POW
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A lovely, calm, sunny day on the water! From about 1:15pm to 2:15pm, we watched J-Pod very slowly swimming north across Open Bay, off of San Juan Island, against the ebbing tide. They were bunched up into 2 close, tight groups. A beautiful sight to see all those fins coming up together and one after another, with glimpses of J-44 & J-45 tucked in the middle. Their yellowy- orangey patches really stand out! The Orcas seemed to be resting, almost treading water in the same area for quite awhile, then there was some tail lobbing from a few trailing whales and a surprise flash of a "pink floyd"! Reports were of a few of K-Pod with J-Pod. At about 2pm they seemed to wake up, changed direction heading fairly fast south, then they all dove for a few minutes, came up, turned back north, picking up speed as they swam toward Stuart Island. I can only imagine the 'conversation' that took place in deciding the directional changes! Lots of rotund harbor seals sharing space with 3 adult & 2 young eagles- feeding on a fish- on Sentinel Rocks, further awing our visitors with the diversity of wildlife that call the Salish Sea home!
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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We encountered J pod in resting formation off Kellett Bluff, Henry Island at 12 noon. They were really bunched up together which was amazing to see. They headed slowly north against an ebbing tide. Conditions were fantastic. Saw Ruffles and Granny.
Marie. Orca-Magic Prince Of Whales
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We arrived on scene between Henry and Stuart Island around 1:40 pm to find what appeared to be all of J pod moving in one tight knit group and travelling in a resting pattern. The group moved slowly along. They had no particular destination in mind, switching directions at will. Distinct members of the pod, like - J26 (Mike), J27 (Blackberry), J1 (Ruffles), the two babies (!), and J30 (Riptide), swam amongst the pod. J pod also made the viewing pleasant because of their slow travel and tight knit group.
Ashley Chapman, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Beam Reach called in a report at 2 pm - they were near the entrance to Speiden Channel, and had been with J pod & the few K's that have been with them, from 9:30 this morning at Lime Kiln, heading N/NW with lots of resting.
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Orcas (likely J pod) traveling N at Hannah Heights with calls audible on Lime Kiln and Orcasound hydrophones at 9 am.
Sharon Grace, San Juan Island
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Calls on Lime Kiln Hydrophones 8:47 am.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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Shari Tarantino emailed a couple reports of calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophoness at 8:15 and 8:50 am.
Eric McRae
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Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research called to report Transients at Kelp Reef at 4:35 pm.
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Hillary from Beam Reach called to say that a pod of orcas reported earlier in the day in Active Pass were Transients, at 2:15 pm they were in Swanson Channel.
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7:30 pm: 2 adults and 4 (at least) young Orcas in Stuart Channel at the opening of Ladysmith Harbour seen coming in from the North and going south in the channel toward Chemainus.
Jane
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We just got a report of three large killer whales off the NE end of Fox Island traveling north towards the Narrows Bridge. The report came from Priscilla Spiker who saw the animals around 11:30. She said that they were very surface active.
Annie Douglas, Cascadia Research Collective
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Orca Network received a call from Eric, reporting two orcas in Sequim Bay at night.
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Sally Bigger called to report 1 Gray whale heading into Holmes Harbor, very close to shore at Beverly Beach at 7:20 pm, then turning & heading by again on its way out of the Harbor at 7:45 pm.
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6:20 p.m. Baby Island Heights (near Holmes Harbor entrance). One gorgeous Gray feeding just 20 ft. off shore, presently swimming towards Baby Island.
Nancy Nolan, whidbey Island
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Around 6:30 pm watched a single Gray Whale leisurely rolling in the shallows off Mabana on Camano Island exposing flipper and fluke. It was slowly traveling in a northwesterly direction into the low settling sun's reflection. It hung around for around forty minutes and moved on.
Nancy Otis and Christopher Brown

May 14, 2009

There were just the two orca. They entered Sequim Bay about 10:00am. They spent the whole day in the bay and left about 8:00pm. I work at Battelle Marine Sciences Laboratory at the entrance of Sequim Bay Occasionally we see a gray whale in the area also.
Martin Murray
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One gray whale, just being lazy and drifting below our bluff (near East Pt), headed towards Langley about 3:30pm - munchin' on what-ever he/she ran into.
David Day, Freeland
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Capt. Jim Maya of Maya's Westside Charters called at 7:40 pm to relay they were leaving J's & some K's 3 miles NW of the Dungeness Spit Lighthouse, heading NE toward Lopez Island.
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From Beam Reach - 12:49 pm: J pod traveling WNW at Salmon Bank spread out. Then an update: 5 pm: Beam Reach observed J-pod foraging as they traveled south from Iceberg Pt. to Salmon Bank to Hein Bank and on south. Students saw a salmon jumping from the water in front of foraging orcas.
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I was out on the POW, 'Ocean Magic' trip at 12.15pm, which took us out east toward San Juan Island where we met up with J 16, family group of five whales between 1.30pm and 2.30pm. Little J 42, 'Echo' was clearly visible along with big brother Mike, J 26. They were travelling south west off Hein Bank.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca- Magic, Prince Of Whales
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One of my friends is on her way to Victoria on the ferry out of Anacortes. She and her husband spotted J-Pod with the new baby off Blakely Island at 8:15 AM today, northbound. She said the ferry slowed to a crawl and the whales were pretty close to the boat.
Vicky Miller, Marysville
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The lone Gray seems to be very happy hanging around West Beach by Joseph Whidbey State Park. I sighted it at about 7:00 PM and watched for about 45 min.
Andra & Brian Shelly, Oak Harbor
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Orca Network received a call from concerned citizens who saw a Gray whale headed south off Mabana, SW Camano Island about 100 yds out, rolling on its side.
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Sarah Schacht called to report 1 Gray whale about 8 houses south of Joseph Whidbey State Park, W. Whidbey Island at 3 pm, headed south close to shore at low tide.
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A gray whale came back for shrimp salad. It could be the same one, but this time rolling more quickly to feed (see above photo!). Location: 1/2 mile north of Beverly Beach; time: 10AM.
Bruce Schwager, Freeland
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While we watched J pod for a while off Hein Bank, two Minke Whales popped up. They were busy feeding. Thought you might like to see a Minke whale pic for a change. What a great afternoon out there even if the wind was a bit chilly.
Marie, Orca-Magic. POW

May 13, 2009

The following photos (see above) were taken near Flores Island, Clayoquot Sound. We encountered the same whale on two different occasionsand is easily recognized by the local tour boat captains as a regular summer resident grey whale though its light coloured head and unique markings. There were other grey whales in the large outer swells and foraging in the bays off the west coast of the island but this individual seemed to prefer the more sheltered east and south sides that day.
Rachael Griffin
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This morning between 8:30 and 9:30 AM, two gray whales came from the NW feeding in the shallow water NW of Langley. One of the whales was clearly Patch (#49) and I'm not sure about the ID of the second whale. The whales worked their way back and forth and then headed out towards Camano. Update at 1:50 pm: 1 Gray whale mid- channel in Saratoga Passage, off NW Langley heading NW.
Veronica von Allworden, NW Langley
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Sarah Schacht called to report 1 Gray whale about 8 houses south of Joseph Whidbey State Park, W. Whidbey Island at 1:50 pm, real close to shore.

May 12, 2009

Ken Balcomb and Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research encountered J's and the K13's (K13, K25, K27, K34, K20, and K38) spread out in tight groups off Spieden Island (48° 38.91 N, 123° 13.67 W) at 5:30 p.m. The whales continued to travel north at a medium pace. The encounter ended off Stewart Island (48° 43.36 N, 123° 14.43 W) at 6:08 p.m. The whales were spread out across Haro Strait heading up Swanson Channel.
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We left the dock at Snug at 11:00 AM since both Jeanne and Jeff Hogan had seen members of J Pod on the West Side of SJI. Alas, they headed into big seas south of Discovery Is. and no one could find them. We came back in at 1:30, and I proceeded to go to Hannah Hts. to look for them. Jeanne began to hear them, but I still couldn't see them. By around 3:30 or so, they appeared at Lime Kiln headed north. We got everyone back onto the boat and by 4:00 the leaders were almost to Henry Is. still going N. Ken Balcomb and David Ellifrit came out and took pictures. We left them at 5:30, with Ken and Dave still on scene, still headed N toward Turn Pt. I didn't see all the Js, but I think other boats did, including J1 and J2. There were some Ks with them still.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Charters, San Juan Island
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We last saw J pod traveling N in Swanson Channel Tuesday evening. Throughout their passage up Haro Strait they traveled at 5+ knots, so we were unable to observe them with our towed hydrophone array.
Beam Reach crew, aboard the Gato Verde
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I was out with Jim Maya and his guests and while we didn't see whales (J's & Ks) in the a.m. we surely got to see them in the afternoon!
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Visual of single large orca male traveling north seen from the Orca Cam off the Center for Whale Research, W. San Juan Isl. by the kelp bed at 4:30 pm.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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At 4:00 PM, I saw J Pod heading north past the Center for Whale Research.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Friday Harbor, Member, SSAMN
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Been recording [orca] calls amid ship noise on both Lime Kiln and Orca Sound hydrophones since 1452.
Eric McRae
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We on the Beam Reach research vessel have just seen multiple breaches about 2km offshore from Lime Kiln at ~ 4 pm. The whales appear to be traveling slowly northward.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach
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After I received message that orca's were heading west, I started listening to the Lime Kiln Hydrophone - and waiting and patience paid off! Right now, 2:38 pm - very faint calls but definetely southern residents! Then an update at 4:08 pm: About 1.5 hour ago I heard faint calls at the Lime Kiln hydrophone. Just now, since a few minutes, really clear calls at the OrcaSound hydrophone.
Jette, the Netherlands
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Around 4 pm we heard some strange and faint whistles on the Lime Kiln hydrophone - then ship noise drowned them out. Didn't sound like the usual J pod calls, but they were pretty faint and hard to detect.
Susan Berta, Orca Network
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Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research called to relay a report of J pod off Hannah Heights, west San Juan Island earlier this morning, and at 10:20 am south of Discovery Island heading west.
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08:30 J pod at S end of SJI traveling W toward Discovery Island.
Ivan Reiff, Western Prince, San Juan Island
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Connie Barrett of Camano Island called to report 1 Gray whale N. of Cama Beach State Park, heading south toward Camano Island State Park, close to shore at 12:40 pm.
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One lone Grey spotted by our guests around 7:00 am, the whale was heading east towards Sekiu.
Brian Harmon, Chito Beach Resort

May 11, 2009

Ken Balcomb at the Center for Whale Research received a report of ~20 orcas in Shelter Cove, between Ft. Bragg & Eureka, CA, killing sea lions close to shore.
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Orca Network received a message from Carlos Cordina (sp?) on May 11th reporting he was out in a boat near Crescent City, CA and encountered a lot of orcas. We have been unable to reach him for more details at this time but will keep trying.
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8 to 10 killer whales, 1 bull, reported in front of Campbell River, B.C. early afternoon.
Matthew Ellis, Eagle Eye Adventures
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We had a great encounter with J pod today in the Strait of Georgia. They were breaching like crazy and we saw several spyhops as well. It was a bit rainy when we first arrived on scene, but luckily the sun came out for us and we got an amazing show!
Jill Persick, Steveston Seabreeze Adventures
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We received a call from Kay Ogren reporting a small, thin looking gray whale heading past Yokeko Pt., Fidalgo Island (NE of Deception Pass bridge) at about 4:30 pm, heading east & north up into Similk Bay. She said it was close to shore when she saw it, & it didn't look like it had the "bulk" of other gray whales she's seen. A neighbor watched it later, a bit further out from shore, continuing to head north into Similk Bay.
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Just spied two Gray whales about a quarter mile off of Langley Marina at 9:20 am.
Sherry Mays, Langley
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There is a very low tide and we just had a gray whale come by NW Langley at 12:25 PM traveling from the NW to the SE right along the drop off in the eel grass.
Veronica von Allwörden, NW Langley

May 10, 2009

From about 6:30 to 9:30 AM. Our beach is in the cove 1/2 mile north of Beverly Beach (E. Holmes Harbor). After the tide became too low, we heard the gray whale heading south looking for snacks.
Bruce Schwager, Freeland
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We spent much of the afternoon watching several Grey Whales right off the beach inside the kelp line feeding. The pair was a juvenile and an adult. At times both were within 75' off shore. Sightings range was from Shipwreck point to Chito Beach Resort 48* 18' 27" 124*25'45".
Brian Harmon, Chito Beach Resort
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Report forwarded by Candi Emmons, NWFSC: I was working in Astoria on Sunday and was told by a few fishermen that they saw some killer whales within 40 fathoms of the Oregon coast between the Astoria jetty and Cannon Beach's reefs on Sunday.
Laura Cowger, Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
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At 11:30 PM we heard a gray whale splashing as it fed for about ½ an hour in front of our house, NW of Langley.
Veronica von Allwörden, NW Langley
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One gray spotted about 7:40 PM heading toward our beach (1/2 mile north of Onamac beach) to feed. We, along with our neighbors, enjoyed watching the big fella feed & blow in the shallows for about 45 minutes. He would make a parallel pass along the beach and then would turn and give it another go in the other direction.
Tom Perry, Camano Island
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At San Juan County Park I realized there really was a gray whale!
Connie Domenech, The Whale Museum
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I saw two gray whales about 5:00pm in Port Susan right off the shore of Camano Island, about a mile north of Tillicum Beach (about 2/3 of the way down the east side of Camano Island).
Julius Budos, Camano Island
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Sally Bigger of Freeland called to report a Gray whale in Holmes Harbor, heard by a neighbor off Beverly Beach at 9 am, then seen by another neighbor at 5 pm feeding.
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Debra Buck called to report seeing 3 Grays together in Port Susan, midway between Warm Beach & Camano Island, heading north toward Stanwood at 3:45 pm.
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This morning we observed a single gray whale feeding on ghost shrimp in very shallow water on the East shore of Holmes Harbor on Whidbey Island, in the cove ½ mile north of Beverly Beach, about 5 miles north of Freeland. The whale was in water as shallow as 5', scooping up large divots of sand and filtering out the shrimp.
Bruce Schwager, Freeland
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The Ocean Magic encountered T14 , 'Pender' at 1.30pm, near Sheringham light house. He was typically all alone and definitely heading out west this time. Last time I saw him on April 10th he was keeping company with the T30's and T11's near Piers Island, Swartz Bay. It was so nice to see he had company at that time.
Marie , Orca-Magic POW.
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This morning our vessel "Fastcat" was half way between Race Rocks and Crescent Bay when Marine Naturalist, Rachel, spotted a large dorsal fin in the distance. We slowed down and after a few more surfacings soon realized we had found T14 "Pender". During the 30 minutes we observed T14 he was zig-zagging across Juan De Fuca Strait and then suddenly made a number of sharp direction changes, possibly making a kill underwater of one of the Harbor Porpoise we had also seen in the area. We continued to Crescent Bay where we found a lone Gray Whale in resting mode logging at the surface. Yesterday, we also sighted a large Gray Whale a couple of miles south of Trial Island.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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My name is Julius Budos and my wife's name is Judi Budos. After seeing Gray whales earlier in the day (see Gray whale report below) in Port Susan right off the shore of Camano Island, about a mile north of Tillicum Beach (about 2/3 of the way down the east side of Camano Ialand). My wife went down to the beach about 7:00pm and said she saw about 5 orcas.
Julius Budos, Camano Island
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We observed J pod making only clicks for almost 1.5 hours as they traveled northwestward from between Matia and Orcas Islands. Then they began milling and whistling intensely. They were again traveling northward slowly when we left them at 6 pm. Maybe listen to Orcasound tonight as they occasionally seemed to travel towards Boundary Pass.
Beam Reach students onboard the Gato Verde
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Their dorsal fins and exhalations came into view just south of Lummi Rocks. We slowly approached seeing the tall dorsal with the unmistakable wavy trailing edge belonging to none other than Ruffles! Quickly I began searching out Granny and it was no surprise that Ruffles was being a "good son" on this beautiful Mother's Day staying very close to J2. Then a flash of the most beautiful orange caught my eye- it was little J45 surfacing by Samish and surrounded by the rest of their family (see photo on Orca Network's Photo Page)! I can't describe just how amazed I was to see the growth the youngster has gone through in the past few months. 11 year old Doublestuff (J34) is really coming into his own as well as Riptide (J30). Not to mention seeing Echo (J42) in contrast to the newest members of J Pod, to think she was that small only 2 years ago! I was able to identify a handful of K Pod whales that were amongst J Pod (Spock K20, Comet K38, and Scoter K25). There were others, but I was unable to get clear photos for identification.
Kate Janes, Naturalist, Island Adventures
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Jeff Lamarche and I had J's & K's from 1600-1830 today heading NW up Rosario. After passing through Obstruction Pass, nearing Lawrence Pt (Orcas Island) we found out that J's & Ks turned around and headed NW rather than come down Rosario which is what they were doing previously. I left them 3 miles NW of Sucia Island at 1845 when the rain began.
Brenden Onorato, Seafun Safaris
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The Beam Reach students were with J pod at 5:45 pm, traveling north from between Matia & Orcas Islands. By 7:25 pm they were west of Patos Island. You can read posts from the Beam Reach Marine & Sustainability School's Students on the Beam Reach website blog.
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Mother's Day whales off west side Lummi Island right around noon! Looked to be J pod - a few small groups ambling pretty close to shore, with a baby tucked in close in one of the groups. Didn't see J1 - he may have been off by himself, farther out.
Penny Stone, Lummi Island
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We got a report from Susan McLeod at 4:50 pm, of 4-5 orcas between Salt Spring Island and North Pender Island - out where the Swanson Channel and perhaps the Satellite Channel intersect - south of Beaver Point, Salt Spring Island. I do have a good spotting scope and am pretty sure that the male that I saw had a dorsal fin that was completely bent over at the top (it looked like it was rolled over). Probably T40/Captain Hook - sb.
Susan MacLeod, Salt Spring Island, B.C.
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I just talked with Radar out of Victoria. He has T14 ("Pender") out by Sheringham now.
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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This is the first really good ID photograph of any of the whales that have been feeding off West Beach, NW Whidbey Island. This is a new & unusual place for us to have continual reports of gray whales feeding, and this ID shot will hopefully enable Cascadia Research to check their ID catalogs to see if it's one of the "regular" N. Puget Sound whales, or a newcomer that has found a new place to feed.
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Not sure if this is a Gray or a Humpback (from the photos it is definitely a gray). I watched it feed for about an hour about 200 yards off Whidbey Island at Swan Lake at West Beach. It was moving back and forth parallel to the shore. This is the second time I've seen it there. Maybe you are able to recognize it by the coloring (see above photo & comment). Love your site.
Andra & Brian Shelly
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At 2:30 today a gray whale passed by at Lime Kiln Lighthouse, traveling north. The whale was following/hugging the shoreline. As the whale passed by the light he/she went into the cove continuing north. I went up to Andrews Bay to see if I could spot the whale.The whale was still following/hugging the shoreline all the way through Andrews Bay, surfacing about at four different locations as he/she traveled on to the north. The last surfacing was just out of my sight - I only heard the blow. Very unusual for Haro Strait.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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I was sitting out on the deck about 11 AM and heard the unmistakeable "whoosh". A lone gray traveled quite rapidly SOUTH along the drop-off at Mabana, SW Camano Isl.
Barbara Brock, Camano Island
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Sally Bigger called to report a Gray whale had passed Beverly Beach on the east side of Holmes Harbor at about 9:15 am, heading out of the Harbor toward Baby Island. Her daughter heard a gray whale at about 9:15 am on May 9th as well.
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Veronica von Allworden was out taking some aerial photos of Gray whale feeding pits for our Gray whale feeding survey yesterday, and was surprised to find some feeding pits at the very end of Holmes Harbor, right off Freeland Park, downtown Freeland!

May 9, 2009

We had found the Minke Whale just south of Seabird in the morning and then East of Baumont Shoals in the afternoon.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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Saw a single gray whale about 100 yards south of the Port of Mabana (Camano) beach road about 7PM. Blowing for ghost shrimp just off the beach.
David Brown, Camano Island
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We sighted a large Gray Whale a couple of miles south of Trial Island.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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About 8-8:30 we saw 3 Grays feeding, south of Mabana on Camano, they were the closest I have ever seen. they hung around for about half hour.
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After having an amazing encounter with small groups of Dall's Porpoises, literally 100's of Harbor Porpoises, and about a dozen Steller Sea Lions feeding on Skates off of Patos Island this afternoon, we found J-Pod (and part of K-Pod) traveling northbound in tight formation west of Alden Bank at 2:45 PM.
Ivan Reiff, Owner/Captain, "Western Explorer", Western Prince Whale & Wildlife Tours
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I have a couple of reports this morning. I spotted about 6 maybe 8 Dall's porpoises at 8:10 and 9:20 AM east of Langley. They were frequently changing direction, possibly chasing fish? Also, at 9:00 AM, I saw a gray whale spout near Camano, opposite Langley and headed to the east. The whale is now off the Head of Camano (9:45 AM) and moving towards the bar that extends out towards Hat Island.
Veronica von Allwörden, NW Langley

May 8, 2009

After a brief visit with some Dall's Porpoises in the middle of the Strait of Georgia, we encountered J Pod a little further south, shortly before noon, with flat calm conditions. The pod was spread out over miles, and were travelling slowly southeast in matriline groups. Our boat first encountered the J2 Matriline, with new calf J45. It was thrilling to see J Pod again after a long winter, and even better to see that all the whales look fat and healthy. It warmed my heart to see Granny take a turn at babysitting the little one - photo attached (see above - aaaww!) (zoomed and cropped). We also had an opportunity to visit with the J17 group (Princess Angeline and family). Little J44 seems to be quite the explorer, often swimming ahead of the remainder of the family, and showing off some fine tail slaps as well. We were fortunate to also encounter J16 and family after our visit with gray whales. This group was the furthest east, and were just rounding the tip of Point Roberts, travelling in about 10 feet of water, heading towards Boundary Bay. For all the distance that the pod was spread, we heard no vocals on the hydrophone, just some echolocation clicks.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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I saw Orcas!! I was fishing for rockfish in my kayak off Cherry Point just south of Point Whithorn. At like 6.30 or so I heard what I thought to be a whale exhale Like 10 minutes later I hear it again and realize it really is something. Look around and sure enough a top fin of a killer whale goes up and down like 250 yards away! Then I realize there are like 3 or 4!! The others are spread way out, it amazed me how far apart they were. They were all traveling south parallel with the coast heading toward Sandy Point only like 1/4 mile past the refinery docks. Watched for like 15 minutes as they moved south, slowly. Definitely traveling. Go back to fishing and out of nowhere a whale surfaces like 125 yards in front of me! Right in front of the refinery dock! He was traveling too, parallel with the coast. On his 3rd rise he turns right at me!!!!! His next rise right at me!!!! I freaked out. This giant, intelligent creature oriented it's self toward me. I thought he would come right under me and was I scared, he probably felt that cuz he didn't surface again till he was like 100 yards away back on the southern course. He then did like 4 circles nice and slow then I didn't see him again. It was weird, he didn't rise and I was looking. Then saw the biggest fin by far heading south was out there. He was far but I could still tell it was the biggest. It was special. No one to share it with but you so thanks.
Bob Smith
Not sure, but this was likely part of J pod, who had been seen further north earlier in the day traveling south slowly and spread out - sb
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Transient Orcas T18's swam by Campbell River today between 10:00am and 2:00pm.
Matthew Ellis, Eagle Eye Adventures
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We have received several reports into our office today indicating the Humpback whale was near Cooper Point mid-afternoon then went down into Eld Inlet before heading out and apparently north up the west side of Hartestine Island.
John Calambokidis, Cascadia Research, Olympia
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3:30 p.m. - We spotted a single gray whale close to shore about 3 miles north of Langley. He slowly moved south and passed us almost in front of the Inn at Langley at about 4:30 p.m. then turned back north as we headed into the Marina.
Ed Young, Whidbey Island
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Around 2:30 my kids and I got to see a few grey whales feeding out off West Beach (maybe 2 right out from the parking area south of the beach houses across from Swan Lake) and another south towards the Hastie Lake RD area. We saw lots of spouts/backs (but no flukes). They stayed in those areas until at least 3:25 when they disappeared as quickly as they arrived.
The Laverys, Oak Harbor, WA
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Drew Dixon of Langley called to report that several kayakers in their Kayak club saw a total of 8 Gray whales early afternoon in N. Puget Sound. Drew saw 1 Gray whale in the north end of Port Susan, 1 mile south of Triangle Cove mid- channel, and 2 others along the west side of the north end Pt. Susan. Fred Geisler saw 4 Gray whales in Saratoga Passage, just north of Langley, and Ken Bittle saw 1 Gray whale south of Kayak Pt, near Tulalip.
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There are still four Gray Whales in Boundary Bay. Three of the animals we observed today have been there since at least the middle of April, and at least one also visited Boundary Bay in 2007. As with our other encounters with the Grays in Boundary Bay, the whales seemed to be swimming in large circles. No foraging events were observed today. We wonder how much longer they will stay.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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A whale seen at 7:30 pm outside our home by the Harstene Island bridge (S. Puget Sound). Was a surprise - saw the water blow and the whale surface. All I could see was a top fin I think. He then proceeded farther toward the bridge and out of view surfacing to blow but not out of the water as far as he had. Would love if you could tell me what type it might be?
Shandra
It's possible this is the Humpback whale that has been sighted in the Seattle and So. Puget Sound area the past several days - sb
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J pod calls on Lime Kiln Hydrophone at 2:23am! and OrcaSound too (N. of Lime Kiln, so J's are heading north) at 2:27 am. Help!
Jeff Hogan, Killer Whale Tales, Seattle
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Between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM. We had a gray whale that stayed northwest of Langley for over an hour! The whale would roll on to it's side and feed for a dozen or so times, head out to deeper water and loop back for more feeding. I was unable to ID the whale but forwarded on some of the pics I took. Also took some shots of a kayaker who drifted in a little close, but then headed off. The whale was unperturbed. While I was photographing that whale, I spotted another gray whale heading to Camano, diving deep and showing its flukes. At 7:30 PM the same gray whale has returned, traveling from SE to NW, Continuing to feed close to shore.
Veronica von Allwörden, NW Langley
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At 1:00pm on the beach between Bells Beach and Eastpoint we heard a blow. There was a lone Grey traveling very slowly parallel to the beach headed towards Eastpoint. I was a bit concerned because he was no more than 15-20' off shore in very shallow water. He was rolling often and popped his head out to look at us a couple times as we followed him for about a mile. When he rolled it appeared to me that his right fluke had been either worn down or sheered on the end. He was around 35' long with lots of barnacles on him. When we got to the point at #3 past the spit where the water depth drops off we lost sight of him as he seemed to be headed towards Holmes Harbor.
Ginger Miller, Whidbey Shores
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One gray whale spent about 40 minutes in front of our house happily eating shrimp. The whale (and perhaps a second) were just about fifty yards offshore in front of our house.
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, Langley

May 7, 2009

At 4:19 p.m. Center staff Dave Ellifrit, Erin Heydenreich and guest John Boyd responded to a report of Transients off Kelp Reef as well as J pod off the South end of San Juan Island. The T71's (T71, T71A and T71B) and T40 were encountered at 4:33 p.m. just north of Kelp Reef (48° 33.15 N, 123° 13.54 W). The whales were actively hunting a Steller Sea Lion. The transients continued to attack the sea lion for about an hour. The sea lion was determined to have been killed around 6:00 p.m. At 6:21 the encounter ended and the transients continued traveling slowly north at (48° 34.39 N, 123° 13.48 W). Center staff continued down the west side of San Juan Island in search of J pod.
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Center for Whale Research staff Dave Ellifrit, Erin Heydenreich and guest John Boyd encountered J pod 1.5 miles off Hannah Heights (48° 29.08 N, 123° 07.31 W) at 6:53 p.m. The whales were spread out in groups and traveling west. The encounter ended a few miles off False Bay 48° 27.13 N, 123° 06.58 W), at 7:59 p.m. with the whales heading steadily southwest.
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Best I have had at the dog house (downtown Langley) in some time. Patch and his friend spent about 15-20 minutes just lollygagging about 150 meters from shore, showing their entire bodies and slowly rolling along almost like a chorus line.
Fred Lundahl, Langley
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Transients were between Discovery & San Juan Islands heading north. After watching the Transients, we decided to head down towards False Bay to see J-Pod. We did manage to spot J17 and new calf J44, along with J16, J26, J27, J41.The Residents were quite spread out over several miles and were meandering slowly towards the southeast. I had the opportunity to go out and see "Captain Hook" (T40) and the other transients, and witness a rare interaction between the Transients & a Steller Sea Lion. The 5 transients spent over an hour and a half toying with the sea lion, occasionally letting it "get away" before they'd lunge after it. The two younger whales were obviously practicing their techniques, and we kept wondering if they were just toying with the sea lion or if they'd really eat it. Finally, after 90 minutes of this behavior, they decided to eat and the steller was pulled below the surface and all five orcas disappeared for several minutes. When they returned to the surface, there was no sign of the sea lion.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Friday Harbor
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The Ocean Magic spent time with Capt. Hook, T40 this afternoon. He was with four other Transient Orca. Possibly three females and a youngster. This was my first ever observation of this male with a distinct looking dorsal fin (see photo below). He sure is an old male Orca.
Marie, Orca-Magic Prince Of Whales, Victoria
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I am listening to what sounds like J pod calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone at 8 p.m. We heard calls on the OrcaSound (further N. on SJI) hydrophone at 6:07 pm, then began hearing calls at Lime Kiln at 7:33 pm, so they must be moving south.
Susan & Howard, Orca Network
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Around 7-8pm there were orca on the Lime Kiln hydrophone, they kept getting weaker and weaker as the 8pm hour arrived. Could not tell which direction the whales were heading Great to hear them though.
Sandy Weideman
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6:57 pm - Faint Calls on Lime Kiln Hydrophones. 7:40 pm - Calls getting louder on Lime Kiln Hydrophone. Sounds possibly like J pod.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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Got a call from Shane about a report of orcas in the south end of Bellingham Channel headed south. Went upstairs to the scope and saw at least three groupings of orcas cruising past Fidalgo Head toward Burrows Island lighthouse in Rosario Strait. Saw Ruffles and two other sprouted males, a tiny babe, and some activity: spy hops, tummy-up tail lobs and pec fin slaps. They were going at a pretty good clip, I'm guessing with the ebb tide.
Shane & Jennifer Aggergaard, Island Adventures, Inc., Anacortes
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Orca Network received a call from KING 5 TV, relaying a report of a whale in S. Puget Sound, between Anderson Island and Steilacoom this morning, but had no further details. Thanks to Gary Chittam for getting in the air with the KING 5 chopper this afternoon to try to locate the whale, to confirm whether it might be the Humpback reported the past two days - they found the whale and confirmed it was a Humpback, at 2:15 pm, off the SW corner of the Key Peninsula & Anderson Island at 47 12.42 N, 122 44.16 W.
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Just to let you know I had an excited telephone call from my Mum in Ladysmith (Vancouver Island) B.C. today around 5.30 pm - she was watching four Orcas from her condo looking down on to Transfer Beach, Ladysmith. They were in full activity mode with plenty of seagulls hanging around. Orcas here are not a common sight.
Sandra Pollard, Whidbey Island
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4:03 pm - calls on OrcaSound hydrophones now - seeing Transient T40 plus others. 4:06 pm - Transients were going after a sea lion, was hoping to capture more calls.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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First the Transients off of Discovery Island, then the Js at Iceberg Pt., then more Transients on the way home at Kelp Reef eating a Steller. Also, observed and photographed a bleeding Steller sea lion off Whale Rocks today off of south Lopez Is. I don't know about the small one. We hardly ever see them in here.
Capt. Jim and Mrs. Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters
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This evening at 6:10 two gray whales came by from the NW to SE feeding in the shallow water in front of Langley. The whales were being very shy about showing either the knuckles on their backs or the underside of their flukes. I took this shot (see photo below) of one of the flukes and it looks like Patch #49.
Veronica von Allwörden NW Langley
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Moments ago (5pm) one, maybe two, GRAY WHALE FEEDING AT THE BOTTOM OF OUR BLUFF. We are 80 ft above sea level at this spot, looking down on the popular feeding waters (about 12 ft deep) for migrating gray whales - west end of First St, Langley. We couldn't get a fix on which way they were headed. They were feeding slowly and leisurely. And looking at the calendar, we know this may be one of the final sightings this season.
Sharen Heath, Langley, Whidbey Island
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Steve Schrader called at 2:35 pm to report a small gray whale (~20') about 60' offshore of West Beach/Hastie Lake Rd. on NW Whidbey. His description of it rolling on its side, pecs & fluke tips above water, then spouting, sounded like feeding behavior.
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Donald Looff of Oak Harbor called to report one Gray whale inside the kelp bed off West Beach, Hastie lake area, NW Whidbey Island at 10 am, feeding in 10' deep water. He called back to report it again at 3 pm, heading NW.
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We received a call from Karen Morton at 9:06 am, reporting one, maybe two Gray whales moving slowly in Port Susan 1/4 mile off Bech #2, Country Club area, SE Camano Island.
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Florian Graner of Sea-Life productions in Freeland called to report a very unusual sighting that seems incredible to both him & us! He was out boating and diving in Saratoga Passage, and around noon came across a whale in about 10' of water off Baby Island. He has been watching the Gray whales (and is a marine biologist), but said this was not a Gray - it was creamy white in color, ~20' long, no dorsal fin, and a single blow-hole (Grays & all baleen whales have 2 blow holes). The whale swam close around their boat, nearly touching the swim step, so they got a good look at it, but unfortunately no photos. It would spout every 60 - 70 seconds. The only marine mammal that comes close to this description is a Beluga whale, which is not found in these waters.

May 6, 2009

At 3:15 p.m. encountered J Pod (plus other orcas) travelling east at the coal docks north of point Roberts. My naturalist Tammy identified Polaris but the whales were spread out and no other definite i.d.'s
Captain Rich Massey, Vancouver Whale Watch
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I am still listening to calls on the Orcasound hydrophone at 12:20 a.m.
Sharon Grace, San Juan Island
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Orca Network received a call from Jim Peters, reporting a whale that sounded like it was possibly the Humpback sighted yesterday in Seattle - at 1 pm in Quartermaster Harbor, between Vashon & Maury Islands. The whale was between the Burton Peninsula and Dockton Park, heading north into the Harbor.
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Orca Network received a call from Bill Gates of the OR Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, reporting 2 adult orcas (3-4' tall fins) swimming quickly upstream in the Umpqua River, OR adjacent to the USCG Station, ~2 miles upstream at 1 pm today. He said there were many sea lions in the river.
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At about 3:30 PM today there was a gray whale working its way north between Van Dam & Hastie Lake (NW Whidbey Isl) about 100 yards off shore. My neighbor alerted me & I was thrilled because this was my first sighting since moving into this house 4 yrs. ago.
Shirley Taft, Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island
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Nadja Baker of Anacortes called at 12:45 pm to report a Gray whale ~ 1/2 mile offshore of Sunset/West Beach, NW Whidbey Island, heading south.
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Jerry Pitsch of Oak Harbor called at 8 am to report 2 Gray whales off West Beach, NW Whidbey Island, no real direction of travel at the time. He said they were there all day Sunday, May 3rd. He said the larger whale is a darker color, and has a white spot midway back on its right side.

May 5, 2009

Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research responded to a report of J pod on the west side of San Juan Island. At 5:48 p.m. the J14's were encountered traveling slowly toward the southeast just off False Bay (48° 27.61 N, 123° 06.58 W). The K13's soon join up with the J14's and begin heading northwest. At 7:40 p.m. Dave finds the J22's followed by the J16's. The whales were spread out in groups all traveling north at a slow pace. The encounter ended 1 mile west of Lime Kiln State Park (48° 30.95 N, 123° 10.22 W) at 8:20 p.m. Above reports from Center for Whale Research
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I left J pod and, at least, the K13's at 2030 heading north at Lime Kiln spread out in small groups. The whales were too spread out and I didn't have enough light to find everybody but both calves were looking good and I saw K13, K25, K27, and K34 mixed in with the J's.
Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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I got my first good look at the whales this year. It was so good to see J pod all afternoon, then listen to them most the night, barring ship noise. I saw both of the newest calves, J44 and J45 for the first time. Both were romping around, tail slapping, bouncing, and turning and twisting on the surface. J44 practiced his/her swan dives frequently and spent a lot of time close to J28, with J17 and J35 sticking fairly close. They joined with J8, J27, J31, J39, J19 and J41 and spent some time socializing and "foraging" as a group at Hannah Heights before moving north at around 4p.m. and continuing to "forage". All the orcas stalled out for awhile, with the northernmost whales at Lime Kiln, the southernmost off Land Bank, and J1, J2 and reportedly the J16's about 1-2 miles offshore. At about 4:45pm they headed south again. This time I got a photo of K20. (I thought there were too many whales to be just J pod. Later I learned that the K13's had been spotted by others.) During the time I watched the whales (about 2pm to 6:30pm) they seemed to be not in the constant search for food/traveling mode that was so prevalent last year, but more relaxed and less purposeful. There was lots of social activity and lots of hanging out. Hope this continues. I also saw my first sea snake of the year-either J27 or J30, but couldn't accurately identify b/c they were traveling together and I couldn't find an ID catalog for this body part.
Sharon Grace, San Juan Island

May 4, 2009

Ken Balcomb and Erin Heydenreich of the Center for Whale Research encountered J pod traveling north at 4:02 P.M., just off Thieves Bay, Pender Island, B.C.(48° 47.384 N; 123° 19.350W). The whales were spread out in groups and traveling slow. At approximately 4:45 p.m. the whales grouped up and headed through Active Pass, (48° 51.327 N; 123° 20.452 W) where the encounter ended due to rain.
Center for Whale Research
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It was soooo great to finally get the news - J Pod was back in town. The last I heard was about 4:30 and they were in Active Pass headed North.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters
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J-Pod is absent no longer!!! After 44 days, J-Pod made a special appearance on the west side of San Juan! Luckily The whales were spread out from one side of Haro Strait to the other, and they would speed up for awhile, and then take their time and zig-zag around randomly (well, it appears random to us on the surface.) After hearing about new babies all these weeks, I was finally able to see with my own eyes J14 and her new calf J45! He's (well, we'll use artistic license and say "he") sure was active as he'd surface so exuberantly! We also spotted J1 Ruffles off in the distance (about half a mile away and still so recognizable!) J30 is surely sprouting big time and it was so good to see everyone once again. I heard from Jeanne Hyde that K20 had been spotted earlier in the day, but we only saw J's in the afternoon.
John Boyd, Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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Leslie Veirs reported Southern Resident orcas off San Juan Island at Orca Sound hydrophones at 12:25 pm, heading north.
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I took a pic from shore at about 12:20 as the whales were going north, just north of Andrews Bay - they looked like they were coming across the strait and heading up - they were way far out and the only identifiable image I got was K-20.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Sharon Grace of San Juan Island called at 11:10 am to report K's and/or L's in a resting pattern south of San Juan Island.
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J pod came in past Clover Point to Haro Strait this morning, but it is too windy for us to go out, or even see them.
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research
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We received a call from Mark Malleson of Prince of Whales at 10:45 am reporting J POD heading NE past Oak Bay/Victoria B.C. toward San Juan Island! Another group of orcas was sighted by others south of Discovery Island, heading east in rough waters, but no ID's on them at the time.
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Jennifer Barwick called at 2:55 pm to report a humpback whale mid-sound between N. Vashon Island and W. Seattle, heading north quickly. She then sent this update, with photos: Wow this whale was so exciting to watch I couldn't get any decent photos. The whale was spotted off W Seattle (south of Fauntleroy) and heading north, fast. My neighbors and I saw 2-3 full breaches. Seemed to be only one solo whale. I'm sure it was a humpback because of the very long pectoral fins I saw when it breached. It was half-way out in the sound so too far to get any close up shots. Hope other get so it this whale in action.
Jennifer Barwick, Seattle
Jennifer's photos of the dorsal fin and fluke confirm this was a humpback - also the size of the splash in the photo of the after-breach! SB
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James Parent called late this afternoon to report a 7:55 am sighting of a whale he suspected was a Humpback from the Bainbridge/Seattle Ferry, 1/2 mile from Bainbridge Island, heading south.
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Jim McCarthy of Oak Harbor called to report 3 Gray whales, including what looked like a mom and calf, off Swantown/West Beach at 2 pm. They were 1/4 mile offshore, heading north.
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May 2 - 4 - John Hartley of Oak Harbor called to report 2 Gray whales off West Beach for the past 3 days, about 400 yds. N. of Hastie Lake Rd, between Pt. Partridge and Sunset beach, approx. 600 yards offshore. He observed 1 Gray whale there this morning, May 4th around 8:40, then at 10:30 he called to say he was now seeing 2 Grays.

May 3, 2009

Linda Wheeler from the WA State Ferry Kaleetan called to report 1 Gray whale had surfaced in front of the ferry while at the Bremerton ferry dock, then headed west toward the Navy docks at 4:15 pm.
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My son Travis came busting in the door for his camera and told me he spotted people on North Whidbey's Sunset Beach watching what appeared to be two grays about 50 yards off shore spouting, diving, feeding. We both took off to see them and he got a video of the two surfacing and spouting side by side. We watched them for about 20 minutes before they headed West toward Smith Island.
Jan McKinney, Past Commodore, Whidbey Island Naval Sailing Assn
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We heard from Island Adventures that they have continued to see Gray Whales in So. Saratoga Passage around the Gedney/Hat Island area.
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John Hartley called to report some Gray whales off W. Beach (see report below) and also had a sighting of at least 3 Orcas north of the Partridge Pt. buoy, W Whidbey Island and SE of Smith Island, at 5 pm.
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Sighting of 4-6 transients hunting and catching a seal half mile off powell river, b.c. around noon. Seal came and hid under our boat and whales came over and circled us flushing out the seal caught and ate him, displaying spy hopping, tail lobbing, and breaching. Have many pictures. Possible identification of t 118,121, 164, 70.
Mv catalyst, Bill and shannon bailey
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Dena Royal of Oak Harbor called to report 2 Gray whales south of Joseph Whidbey State Park, NW Whidbey, at 4:45 pm. One was smaller than the other, they were circling around, close to shore.
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We received a call from Paul Gillon of Oak Harbor, reporting 2 Gray whales ~100 yds. off West Beach, NW Whidbey between Row (?) Park and Joseph Whidbey State Park, heading north.

May 2, 2009

I saw a gray whale surfacing and diving in Useless Bay off the west side of Whidbey Island.
Kevin Curran
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Since you asked about recent sightings in Saratoga, while out shrimping Saturday morning, my husband and I headed over towards Baby Island. While there, we spotted a lone gray spouting occasionally. Not familiar enough with the shoreline there to know if he was feeding, but I don't believe so.
Nancy Zaretzke, Greenbank
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We found a group of about 5 transients in Active Pass. We travelled with them into Swanson channel and they were travelling southbound when we left. I got a few really good ID shots so I thought I'd send them in.
Jill Persick, Steveston Seabreeze Adventures
ID's on the Active Pass Transients in photos from May 2 by Jill Persick: Looks like the T124A's and the T86A's. The first pic is T124A2 and T86A.
Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research
My guess is the one with the 2 nicks could be T86A. The one with it could be T86A2.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales

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Been watching two grays on Friday and Saturday-off bluff at Fort Nugent and West Beach. Close to shore at times, seem to be eating in a pattern and staying close together. One seems much larger than the other.
Sandy Blondin
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One Humpback observed, Steep Island, Campbell River B.C.
Matthew Ellis, Eagle Eye Adventures, Campbell River BC

May 1, 2009

Been watching two grays on Friday and Saturday-off bluff at Fort Nugent and West Beach. Close to shore at times, seem to be eating in a pattern and staying close together. One seems much larger than the other.
Sandy Blondin
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We received a call from a woman who was watching a Gray whale in south Saratoga Passage at 1:45 pm.
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We received a call from David Moses, who was watching a Gray whale about 1/2 mile off Priest Pt, near Tulalip, WA for 2.5 hours in the same exact spot. It seemed to be on its side, and then its head or fluke would come up, but it never changed direction or moved from the spot it was in as he watched it from 9:30 - noon. He was concerned as the tide was starting to go out and it was in a shallow area, but at 12:30 he called back to say the whale had finally moved and was breathing and swimming normally.
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Morning, at least two grays still here. 4:00 pm, three grays just passed by Kayak Point close to shore moving north.
Gary Lingenfelter, Kayak Pt., WA
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Two gray whales were seen in Elger bay Camano Island Wa. They were seen around 9:45 a.m. They were coming up and out of the water. They stayed around for about 30 minutes, then headed south.
Janice Smith, Camano Island
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Two grays dropped into the Elger Bay "restuarant" this morning for a "snack." I watched them from about 9:00 to 9:30 or so.
Peter DeLuca, Camano Island
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I had the pleasure of watching 2 gray whales feeding in the shallows at Mabana (SW Camano Isl) about 6:30 AM.
Barbara Brock, Camano Island
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One great Gray. (feeding between Baby Island and the green buoy.)
Nancy Nolan, Langley




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Orca Network's Sighting Network Map
Map © 2003 used with permission by Advanced Satellite Productions, Inc.