May 2010 Whale Sightings

May 31, 2010

We were surprised today to find a couple Transients just south of the north arm of the Fraser river, just outside the harbour of Vancouver. They were milling around for a while and ended up playing with a seal for a while before finishing the kill. It was a great day but frustrating because I couldn't seem to ID these 2 whales.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
From the Center for Whale Research: The whale with the little nick is 124C, but the one with the injury near the trailing edge of the fin is not known to us. Dave gave it his best. Ken
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Jim Zimmerman saw T40 heading south in Rosario Strait from Sharpe Park, Fidalgo Island, just south of Anacortes, at 3:30 pm
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This trio, T40, the big guy with the "hooked" dorsal, and T86A and T86A2, were spotted yesterday in the morning down near Cattle Pass after being seen near Pt. Townsend yesterday. They spent the day munching their way from Cattle Pass, into San Juan Ch., almost into Friday Harbor, then up towards Waldron, passing on the north side of Waldron. Most of their kills were seals, though it seemed that they might have taken a porpoise down near Whale Rocks. We left them at dusk almost between Sucia and Patos Islands, headed northeast.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside
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Erick Peirson called in a sighting of T40 and two other transient orcas at Fidalgo Head, Fidalgo Island, heading south at 1:30 pm. He said they were at East Point, Island BC, at 7 pm on May 30.
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While headed to Anacortes at 5:30 this afternoon we passed a small group of Orcas just north of Spencer Spit on Lopez. There was one adult male with a droop to the top of his dorsal (anyone other than Captain Hook have one of those?). He was accompanied by 2-3 companions.
Tom Reeve
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Three orcas were trucking past Lions Bay (north of Vancouver BC, several miles inside Horseshoe Bay) yesterday at about 7 pm heading north fairly rapidly.
Lawrence Ruskin
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On the afternoon 'Goldwing' tour, Vanessa and I traveled way over into Rosario Strait where we encountered 3 Transient Killer Whales in Thatcher Pass. The whales were found to be T-40 (Captain Hook), T-86A and T-86A1. The animals were traveling close together swimming to the Northwest towards Upright Head Lopez Island. During our stay with these Transients we got very lucky as the adult female, T-86A, swam right over to us and went just below our vessel !!!! As she swam right under our vessel we could see her arch her head up to look at us. Once across to the other side of the boat she swam around the stern and then came up the other side all the while she was swimming on her side staring at the passengers on the back viewing platform of the boat. She was obviously doing a little people watching.... Absolutely amazing encounter with these 3 animals. T-86A has a satellite tag on her right side of her dorsal fin, which allows the researchers to track this group of whales as they swim all through the waters of the Pacific Northwest. These Transients average over 100 miles (160 km/h) per day !!!!
Jeff Lamarche, Captain/Biologist, Eagle Wing Tours
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Nancy Zaretzke saw a gray whale near Hidden Beach, Whidbey Island at 5 pm, moving slowly north. She reported there were many feeding pits in the mudflats at low tide there.

May 30, 2010

Transients are the new Residents. At least when it comes to being around in May! We had two trips and got to see two different groups of Transients! As we left the dock, we had reports of T40 Captain Hook and T86A & T86A2 just at the bottom of San Juan Island. But before we left the harbor, we got a call that there was also a group of 12 Transients just north of Eastpoint. So Captain Ivan decided to head north even though it meant a longer trip, and it was worth it! The waters were pretty calm and at first we spotted what turned out to be T87. Soon we were close enough to watch the larger group of transients all coming to the surface at the same time as they made their way up Georgia Strait. And wouldn't you know it, by the time we got back to Friday Harbor, we had the opportunity to get a quick viewing of T40 as he passed right past the entrance to Friday Harbor. Our second trip of the day was much shorter, as T40 and gang had not made much headway. We watched as the group continued up San Juan Channel, then turned towards Presidents Channel, and then turned again towards Point Disney on Waldron.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Explorer, Friday Harbor
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At 1300 the Ts were heading NW off the Belle Chain in two groups at first. T87 and T88 were traveling together. T100s (without T100D born in 2006), T124s and others made up the main group. They were travelling at approx. 3 knots with whale watch companies and a couple of pleasure boaters following. Long dives of 4 to 5 minutes . At approx. 1400 the T100s split from the group. T100E was seen staying close to mom T100. This baby frequently surfaces on her back. The male T87, born about 1963, has very visible wounds on the top of both sides of the dorsal fin (most likely tooth rakes). Only activity observed for the afternoon was travelling as they continued NW passed Poirier Pass at 1730.
Peter Hamilton
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Jeffry Gottfried called to report a sighting of 4 orcas about 100 yards from the beach at Cannon Beach OR, at 5 pm. He thought at least two looked like males.
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I know it was not an Orca. There was no dorsal visible and the body was molted black and gray. So this could be a possible gray. Sighted around N49 00.000 W123 44.014. Heading North - North East up Stuart Channel. Slow moving, we first spotted it at 16:20, as we were approaching Ladysmith - approx 5 miles out - heading in the same direction as we were. It then turned NE towards Yellow Point. It would surface about every 5 to 10 minutes before diving. No tail was ever shown us. Only noticed one. We have seen Orcas in the area before, but not Grays. Hope this helps.
Rick Ruppenthal, Chemainus, BC
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Our favourite group of T's were around again today. They are becoming more resident than the residents these days. Light was a little better than on Friday. We were fortunate to once again locate transient orcas in the Strait of Georgia, east of the Belle Chain Islands, shortly after noon. As we arrived on scene, a few of them were milling, and there were many seagulls picking at scraps, so we must have arrived during lunch again. With the meal over, the group headed northwest, eventually catching up to a larger group of approx 6 animals. Two others, T87 and T88, were off to the east, keeping in range of the big group, but separate. For the remainder of our viewing, the large group of the T100's, T124, T124D, T124E, T90 and T90B surfaced close together approximately every 5 minutes, for 5 breaths or so, as they continued to travel in a northwesterly direction. We last saw them heading towards Georgeson Island.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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Capt. Jim Maya called in a sighting of transients including T40 and T86A & B heading east at 8:25PM between Patos and Sucia Islands, south Strait of Georgia,
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A Seattle friend, walking on Edgecliff in Langley early this morning about 6 am, heard, then saw, 3 Orcas swimming south in Saratoga Passage!
Julie Buktenica
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Gray in very shallow water giving Bell's Beach a feeding show for nearly an hour before heading North. I have pic of pec fins- was hoping to find link to ID on Cascadia or your home page, but could only find sides.
Kathy Carr
This is the same gray whale that was feeding in Greenbank May 27 - see photo below - but don't have the ID from Cascadia just yet. Veronica Allworden has some pec shots with IDs -hg
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I was getting into my waders this morning around 5:30, enjoying the sunrise and eagles talking when I heard a familiar blow. I watched one gray whale feeding on ghost shrimp for about 20 minutes in close to shore just east of Langley.
Gary Kocher

May 29, 2010

Orca Network received a call from Nate Stansbury, reporting a sighting of orcas off Coos Bay, OR, 7 am. 2 orcas, including 1 adult male, sighted crossing the bar off Coos Bay, OR heading N.
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About 7 PM one gray whale was feeding along the shoreline ½ mile east of Baby Island. It made one resting trip out to deeper water, came back in for a few mores bites, and then steamed east down Saratoga Passage.
Roger Clark
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I was out at Lime Kiln yesterday around 5:00pm, despite the less than wonderful weather--I've been trying to get out there every weekend because I've been dying to spot the whales and only have a little longer to live on the island. We had only been there for 20 minutes when I saw a group of 4-5 orcas surface fairly close to shore. There were two larger ones and two or three smaller ones and they surfaced a few times in front of us. We kept watching and saw them again off in the distance--they appeared to be heading toward Victoria.
Amanda Moulton
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Jon McKenzie called Orca Network with a sighting of 8-10 orcas north of Port Angeles, at Lat. 48.10.7, Long. 123.25.9, at 7:15 AM. They were meandering slowly to the west.
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Liam Reese heard Orcas on the Orcasound hydrophones at 1830 and saw at least one male & two female orcas traveling N in Haro Strait.
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Chris Kennedy of WA State Ferries called to relay a sighting of a male, female and calf orca were rounding Point Hudson, Port Townsend, heading toward the mill at 1722.
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Erick Pierson called and texted reports of about 8 transients in Admiralty Inlet near Port Townsend. At 1225 they were in Admiralty Inlet, at Admiralty Head, southbound. At 1:10pm Midchannel headed to Pt. Hudson. then: North turn, to Pt. Wilson. Then they were approaching Partridge Point, northbound. At 6:36pm another group of transients were were at Kala Pt., inside Port Townsend bay, south of the mill, almost to Port Hadlock.
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Group of orcas between Ebey's and Pt. Partridge heading north with 3-4 whale-watch boats @ 3:45pm.
Al Luneman
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At 9:25 this morning Christina Baldwin saw two orcas, a male and a female, heading south down Admiralty Inlet closer to the Whidbey Island side.

May 28, 2010

J's, at least, maybe L's, were chirping up a storm on Orcasound hydrophones for about four hours last evening, from around 6 to 10 pm. No cargo ships, no buzz boats, just loud and clear calls from whales in serious party mode.
Howard, Orca Network
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Cathy Bacon, listening to OrcaSound Hps at 1923 heard Southern Resident calls getting louder among tanker noise.
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Lime Kiln Hydrophones: I've been waiting a long time for this and I'm happy to report there are [orcas] passing by Lime Kiln. The chatter started about 5:50 PM with some sporadic sounds in the distance. By 6:04 PM it was quiet. At about 6:11 the chatter picked up again.
Vicky Miller SSAMN Member
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Jeanne Hyde reported very faint calls at Lime Kiln at 1717.
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Beam Reach aboard the Gato Verde reported J pod moving slow near Iceberg Point at 1214 with J1 Ruffles and J2 Granny leading along S side of Lopez, foraging with many clicks and a few whistles and calls.
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Transients today!! started out with 10 of them and then they broke off into smaller groups, we stuck with a group of 4 that had T101 and T102 with them, in the strait of georgia.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Following up on a report of orcas on the east side of Galiano Island, we located a large group of Transients travelling southeast. As we were approaching, the location of the group was apparent from some very large splashes. On arrival, the whales were milling, doing long dives, and vocalizing. Seems we may have arrived during dinner. As the group continued south, most were traveling very close together, maintaining approximately 7 knots, and occasionally porpoising. The group consisted of T124, T124D, T124E, the T100's and possibly another female with a calf two+ years old. Slightly further offshore, T87 was traveling with a female, presumably T88. The T100's, T124's were last seen heading south past Gossip Island, while T87 and 88 were observed heading west into Active Pass. We continued south to the Belle Chain Islets to check on the juvenile Stellar sea lions, California sea lions and harbour seals that haul out on the rocky shores. To our surprise, we encountered yet another group of T's lurking offshore of the Belle Chain. This time it was the T101's and T102. They were very spread out and appeared to be foraging, perhaps hoping to find a naive young sea lion that strayed from the haulout. Several very pregnant harbour seals wisely stayed onshore as the T's cruised past. We left this last group in the early afternoon, heading southeast in the Strait.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch

May 27, 2010

Late afternoon on Maya's Westside Charters, we met up with J pod north of Alden Bank, Whatcom county WA, heading north. They were spread out in groups of various sizes. J17 and her two daughters seemed to be in charge of most all of the kids -J36, 38, 39, 40, 44, 45, 46 and 47. J41 and J42 were traveling with J42's mom Slick J16 and her oldest offspring Mike J26. Ruffles J1, Granny J2, Canuck L7, Spieden J8 and Keet J33 were all way ahead of the rest of the whales. Others were in small groups or surfacing individually, some very far off from the rest.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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We have seen our first Grey whale of this year. The Whale was 8 miles west of Sekiu, WA heading west towards Neah Bay. First spotted directly off of Chito Beach Resort and disappeared around Ship Wreck Point about 10 minutes later. We usually have whale sightings on this part of the Strait of Juan De Fuca around the 15th of April.
Brian Harmon, Chito Beach Resort
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They're back!! It was great to see J pod today, vocalizing and lots of foraging going on which is always a nice sight to see. They were spread very far apart in the strait of georgia, east of Point Roberts. We spent time with J16, J22, J26, J34 and J38 among others.
Gary Sutton
Wild Whales Vancouver
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Jim Maya and Jeanne Hyde tell us J1 (Ruffles), J2 (Granny), and J8 (Speiden), are all present and accounted for north of Orcas Island this evening.
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We found some members of J pod, and one L pod whale today just south of Point Roberts in the Strait of Georgia. The whales were very spread out, traveling in matrilines, or as individuals. They were doing long dives, likely foraging. We were fortunate to observe one feeding event, when J16's (Slick's) family shared in the catch of a silver fish, likely a Chinook salmon. J33 (Keet) did not show up for dinner with the rest of the family - hopefully just a case of teenage independence. We also observed Rhapsody, J32, traveling with her relatives, the J22's (Oreo's matriline). J14 (Samish) and her brood were also identified. J1 (Ruffles) was way off to the south, ahead of the rest of the group, and the lone representative of L pod that we saw, L7 (Canuck), was traveling near him. Overall, it was a very peaceful encounter, on calm waters, with J Pod calls once again on the hydrophone.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist
Vancouver Whale Watch
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It was a bit of a rocky day out there with 2 foot swells, but it was still a great day! The Southern Resident L- pod was first spotted off False Bay on the southwest side of the island. The pod was spread out into several smaller groups. We chose to take a look at a smaller group that seemed to be frolicking in the waves. Eventually they moved offshore to slightly calmer waters and milled about. We continued along the west side of the island encountering a small pod of Dall's porpoise. These small black and white porpoises are often very social riding the bow wake of boats.
Casey
SanJuanSafaris
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very loud vocals right now on Lime Kiln hydrophone!!
Christine Swedell via Facebook
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Beam Reach - False Bay - 1553 48.45924|.|123.07136 L pod members, including L82 (student photo ID) foraging ~1/2 nm off mouth of False Bay. The were southbound for last few hours, but now appear north bound. Beam Reach towed array is hearing sporadic calls and plenty of clicks.
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Started hearing calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones at 12:41.
Chrissy
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Been hearing orca calls since 11:55.
Jenny L. Atkinson
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I live in Olalla about 3/10's of a mile from Al's. We just saw two beautiful orcas swim by on their way toward Prospect Point at 5 p.m. Prospect Point is off of Shoreline Drive SE. The first outcropping of low-banks homes as you head up Banner Road. They were gently cruising and wonderfully incredible. Both whales appeared to be smaller. They were swimming north right next to my house on the Olalla side of Colvos Passage, across from Vashon.
Robin Headrick
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We saw Orcas, 6-8 traveling North, West side of Colvos Passage, 1/2 mile North of Fragaria about 200 yards off shoreline. One large male with the top of his dorsal shaped with an "m" or "v "shaped grove in top of fin. the fin was about 4 or 5 feethigh. Looked like a slight, light gray area on his back at the base of his fin. There were two females and one with young baby by her side. These females looked like they had the same light gray area. We don't know if it was the reflection of the sky off the wet skin. There were 3 or 4 more orcas:
Suzanne and Don
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I was working on the south tip of Bainbridge Island, on South Beach Drive, when a pod of Orcas swam by, about 11AM or so. There were maybe 4-5 adults, one with a very large dorsal fin and maybe 3-4 young ones. They were swimming east. Attached are 4 pictures that I took. The homeowner also took pictures and might have better ones if you want copies. Both he and his wife said it was the first time they've ever seen Orcas swimming by.
Doug Tanaka
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abt 0715 - Just saw a single tall dorsal fin followed by a blow and submergence - right off Keyport headed South in the channel out of Liberty Bay. I've seen lots of whales over the years and there's no doubt this was an Orca. No other dorsal like it!
Brad Green via Facebook
Keyport, WA
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Type of whale: ORCA
Number of animals seen: Four. One male, one female, one juvenile, and one calf.
Where: Sinclair Inlet entering Rich Passage N47.585 W122.580
Direction traveling: ENE
What were they doing? Transiting. Male had two notches. One on the top of his fin (it looked like two tips), and one on the trailing edge about 1/5th the way down from the tip. I could confirm the ID with a photo.
Tom Jesionowski
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A gray whale was reported by Mary Jo Stansberry in Greenbank today. It fed there for about two hours (12:30 - 2:30), back and forth along a quarter mile line about 200 yards off the beach at Wonn Road, rolling on its side in typical feeding behavior every couple of minutes. Not known is whether there was much shrimp or other good food for it there. After 2:30 it moved on northward parallel to the beach. At 3:45 Mary Pacher reported the whale off the north end of North Bluff Rd., still heading north at a good clip about 500 yards from the beach. At 8:00pm Mary Jo reported it back at the same beach, near Wonn Rd., so maybe there was something good there.
Howard, Orca Network
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12:30 pm One grey whale swimming slowly north along Greenbank Beach.
Fran Banasick
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Harbor porpoises went by, unable to count a/c trees in my view. I used to see Dall's but haven't in a long time. We live a little north of Salty's in Redondo, Des Moines, Wash.
Ruth E. Johnson

May 26, 2010

My name is Ivaly Alexander and my friend, Kari MacKenzie, emailed you about the transient pod that made a showing yesterday in Dyes Inlet and again this am in Poulsbo.
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Susan Wiggins sent her photos of orcas heading through Rich Passage
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From Brent Norberg: Constance Eddy called to report a group of killer whales moving north to south through Pt. Orchard passage earlier today. Group included a male and female with a calf.. bn
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Observed the transient orcas in Dyes Inlet for 4 hours. They were staying largely on the West side ... moving North and South. They were still there when the sun quit for the day.
Robert Dashiell
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I am reporting having observed a group Killer Whales at approximately 7:30PM. They were observed at Staleshin, Wilson Creek on the Sunshine Coast, British Colombia. They were observed very close to shore, up to a couple of hundred and predominantly 1000-2000 feet. At first all I saw was one seal suddenly rise as if standing in the water to scan the horizon. This happened repeatedly and then I observed that seal & others doing the same while making haste towards shore where they remained for perhaps an hour and a half more after the whales departed southward and appeared to travel close to shore. At first all I saw was water stirring and then several shapes came up out of the water and at first I thought it was dolphins or porpoises and then I saw how big they all were as fins, dorsal fins and tails emerged in a seathing, circular repeated patern as well as expanding and contracting the diameter of the circle. The seals remained on high alert. The reason I think they may have caught a seal as opposed to fish is how paranoid the seals were long after the killer whales left, and I know nothing about fish or if any are migrating in this area now. There definitely were two very young animals in the group given the size difference. What really stood out was that none had a dorsal fin of any substantial size or difference in size. The dorsal fins all seemed similar in size and shape. I know there is a difference between male/female whales dorsal fins so I really tried to see the male as I thought he would stand out and I couldn't be sure because the dorsal fins were not exaggerated in any way. It was hard to count accurately the number but I think it was 6-8/9. That would include the young ones.
Sam McKillop
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John Boyd called Orca Network at 5:09pm to say J and L pods were headed in the Strait of Juan de Fuca at Beechy Head, west of Race Rocks. Looks good for tomorrow.
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After a report of 3 orcas today at 12:25 in Sinclair Inlet, Chris Dunagan of the Kitsap Sun heard reports of orcas in Dyes Inlet, including 31-year-old male T-74. They went past the Boatshed restaurant about 12:30 and then past Erlands Point about 2:30.
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11:40AM Sighting of Orca just South of the Bremerton Shipyard traveling North.
-Matt
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At 12:25 Richard at Washington State Ferries called to say he saw 3 orcas in Sinclair Inlet, one male included, heading east toward either Rich Passage or Washington Narrows.
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Type of whale seen: ORCA
Number of animals seen? One
Where did you see them? Sinclair Inlet N47.585 W122.580
What direction were they traveling? Southwest
When did you see them? 9:30AM (approx)
What were they doing? Transiting. Surface for air twice in about 20 min. Second sighting about 1/2 mile SW of first sighting continuing to travel SW.
Were there any males (very large fin on their back)? Yes
Tom
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I saw two orcas while on the 7:35 AM ferry to Bremerton! I've lived in this area for 30 years, even grew up on a sailboat, and never have I seen orcas before! They were just north of Blake Island heading west. The very large dorsal fin caught my eye. The other wasn't quite as large.
Tracey Drum
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Mary Pacher in Greenbank called Orca Network to say there were two gray whales feeding for a couple of hours between about 4pm and 6pm, just off North Bluff Rd. in Saratoga Passage.
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Unidentified whale spotted around 4:10pm today, just south of the Tacoma Narrows, heading North. Eric Thomson After some emails it appears that this was most likely a minke whale. -hg

May 25, 2010

Out with Capt. Jim on a morning trip. We were going to look for some of the transients that had been in the area and instead we came upon many members of L Pod!!! When Crewser L-92, Fluke L-105 and Pooka L-106 surfaced one after another we were about in shock and then took several minutes to get some pics and get some IDs. I could tell there were whales from several different L Pod subgroups and we could see they were spread way out. The only large male we saw was L-92 and he is still a teenager. There were tails slaps, a baby breaching, an older whale breaching off in the distance and even a spyhop.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Beam Reach was with some of L pod alongside San Juan Island from just south of Lime Kiln Park to a few miles off False Bay, beaming reports from 1:13 to 4:23pm.
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Jim Maya called at 11:27 to report L pod orcas off Eagle Point, San Juan Island, heading south.
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11:55 AM: reports of many L pod off Eagle Pt. area.
Ron Bates
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The Residents are back !!!! Finally, some of L-pod returned to local waters today.... The morning trip was spent off of Eagle Pt. with some of the L-26's. On the way back to the harbour, Mallard and I bumped into T-20 and T-21, 2.5 nm NE of Seabird Pt. (Discovery Island). The afternoon trip turned out even better as we had the first triple header of the year !!!! Residents, Transients and a juvenile Humpback, 1 nm SW of VH Buoy. The animal was moving quickly to the Southwest towards Race Rocks and was not showing any tail.
Jeff Lamarche, Eagle Wing Tours
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We came upon many members of L Pod!!! When Crewser L-92, Fluke L-105 and Pooka L-106 surfaced one after another we were about in shock and then took several minutes to get some pics and get some IDs. I could tell there were whales from several different L Pod subgroups and we could see they were spread way out. The only large male we saw was L-92 and he is still a teenager. There were tails slaps, a baby breaching, an older whale breaching off in the distance and even a spyhop. It was great! I posted 'more of the story' and some pics on my blog.
Jeanne Hyde
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Jeff Hogan called at 8PM to say he finally got a good look at the orcas off West Seattle, and they were 10-12 transients, including three adult males. One male had two notches off the top of its dorsal fin and another notch about a fifth of the way down the trailing edge.
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This evening I was at Seahurst Park (near Burien) and I believe that I spotted several Orca Whales. Around 7:00pm I was walking the beach when I noticed large black things floating in the water. The distance from the shore was around 2 football fields so I can not be sure of what I saw.
Levi Eads
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Rick Chandler of the Bainbridge Historical Museum called to relay a report of about 5 orcas circling Blakely Island at 4:56 pm.
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Jeff Hogan saw at least ten orcas across Puget Sound near Ft. Ward, Bainbridge Island, at 4:24pm, still heading south. He later reported seeing three adult males among 10-12 whales.
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Donna Sandstrom reported orcas near the Bainbridge ferry lane at 4pm.
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10:21 AM - A caller reported hearing VHF radio chatter saying the Kingston-Edmonds ferry had stopped for a group of orcas.
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The Center for Whale Research relayed a report of three transient orcas off Otter Bay, Pender Island BC, at 9:30am.
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9:18 AM: Just received a call from a friend on a sailboat. He reports what he believes are J pod off Pt. No Pt., middle of the sound heading South. He ID'd Ruffles so I'm guessing he's correct. This was probably a group of transient orcas. -hg
Dave Calhoun
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Watching the water from my living room I noticed two porpoise dorsal fins in the waters just off Richmond Beach. I grabbed my binoculars and got a closer look. The dorsal fins were almost head-on towards me, but their coloration and shape looked more like Dall's Porpoise than Harbor Porpoise. There were definitely two of them. I saw each of their dorsal fins surface twice, nearly in tandem with one another.
Dave Haas

May 24, 2010

We get a call that a small group of Transients were discovered near Anacortes in Rosario Channel heading towards Cypress. So off we went, and after watching a few seals and eagles, we found ourselves watching Transient groups T2s and T123s. They were in no hurry to go anywhere, and would spend quite a bit of time at the surface before going on a long dive. They continued northerly and there was an air of expectation as they neared the Peapods (a small chain of islands that are a known seal haul-out), but the transients were content to work the tide rips and continued north. We left them heading towards Lawrence Point, and we were all excited at seeing these marine predators. But our day would prove far from over as we get a call that more transients have been discovered just a short distance in front of us. And my favorite transient was in this group. T40 is known as Captain Hook for his very prominent hooked dorsal fin (the top foot makes a 180 curve to the left). T40 was traveling with 2 other transients and they actually followed us through Peavine Pass. And while they appeared to be actively hunting for something to munch on, we did not witness any kills. But it was such a treat to see this massive guy traveling along the shorelines, especially as he passed 3 immature bald eagles feasting on something along the shoreline!
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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We got a report of transient orcas in Rosario Strait at about noon, when we were at the opposite end of our range. By the time we arrived on scene, they were traveling northeast along Cypress Island, in typical transient fashion - 5 minutes underwater followed by a breathing sequence of approximately 5 breaths. The group then turned northwest towards Orcas Island, eventually passing Lawrence Point. While alongside the dark shoreline, their blows were beautifully displayed. All this time they were swimming with the flood tide. A minke whale passed by heading southeast, against the tidal current, within approx 20 yards of the group. The minke only surfaced once while near the orcas, and was not seen again. The T's interrupted their travel momentarily, split into two groups, then continued in a northeast direction towards the Sisters Islands in the southern Strait of Georgia. No kills or chases occurred during our encounter. The group of six T's were comprised of T2C, T2C1, T2C2 (the little whale with the wavy fin), and tentatively T123, T123A and a calf (not in my ID book) that appeared to be about 1 year old.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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I heard from Makah that there were 5 [orcas] including at least one calf off Neah Bay last night, seen heading west this morning.
Fred Felleman
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We finished off the long weekend here by checking out some transient orca off of Orcas Island. We had a group of 6, one of which was T002C but had a hard time identifying the others especially because one was a sprouting male. They were milling around for a while with a lot of playing and then headed north.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Three sets of Orcas today. We chose a group heading north along the east side of Orcas Island, the T100s, and saw some amazing blows with a dark Orcas Island in the background. Then, over near Sucia Island, they make a kill.
Capt. Jim Maya
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Out with Capt. Jim of Maya's Charters. We met up with the T2Cs and the T123s in Rosario St. on the east side of Orcas Island just north of Barnes Island as they headed north at about 3 pm. (These same whales were in Haro Strait on Sunday traveling with T20 and T21, however on Monday T20 and T21 were not present.) They seemed to stop and take a harbor seal from time to time and then as they neared Sucia Island some of the whales began lunging, perhaps going after a porpoise which they quickly made a meal of. I posted pics on my blog of the encounter.
Jeanne Hyde
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John Boyd called in a sighting of transients in Rosario Strait at 2:51pm, including the T002's and T123's. T40 is reported to have turned west into Peavine Pass toward Orcas Island.
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Jeff Lamarche of Eagle Wing Tours reported 5 or 6 transients about 5 miles north of Dungeness Spit at 1:45pm, including T30A, B and C, and T74, a transient orca who hadn't been seen since Mark Malleson saw him in Southeast Alaska in November, 2009.
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Transient calls were recorded from the Port Townsend hydrophones between 1:53 and 2:42AM.
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KIRO TV reported the gray whale that has been seen in or near the Everett marina, and even into the Snohomish River, swam outside the jetty about 1 pm.

May 23, 2010

Nancy called from Salt Spring Island with a belated report of Orcas in Trinconeli Channel. There were at least 4 orcas, heading slowly south between Salt Spring and Galiano Islands, by Wallace Island near Fernwood. The pod included 2 males, 1 with a very big fin.
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I went out with Maya's Westside Charters where, at about 5pm, we met up with several transients who were near Discovery Island and were beginning to travel up Haro Strait. T020 and T021 were a couple miles to the southeast of the main group. The main group consisted of T002C, T002C1, T002C2, T123, T123A, calf T123B. T020 changed his location and moved over and traveled with the main group. T021 was still far off to the east. At about 7:45pm while on the Center for Whale Research (CWR) boat with Ken Balcomb, apx. a mile south of Kelp Reef Marker, we watched as T021 moved across Haro Strait to meet up with the main group as they continued to travel north.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Around noon we observed a gray whale heading north along the south-eastern coast of Camano Island. The gray was making steady progress northward, not stopping to eat; it was not swimming right along shore. We were observing it from across the water in Tulalip Shores, with the aid of binocs, so couldn't distinguish much except the shape of the back and the blows.
Vicki & Jim Mattson
Tulalip Shores
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Erick Peirson relayed a report of Orcas inbound at Sheringham, BC at 8:30 am. At 10:40 am, they were at Church Pt, still inbound. At 1135 am he reported 5 Transients - 2 males, 2 females, and 1 juvenile off Race Rocks heading E toward Constance Bank. At noon, more were reported at 48 19.85N, 123 12.65W, direction of travel unknown. This group was then reported headed N toward Discovery Island at 12:46, then at 1 pm had turned and headed SE.
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Orca Network received a report of 4 orcas 5 miles west of the Crescent City, CA lighthouse - 1 male, 1 female, 1 juvenile & 1 unknown, heading N. at 1:25 pm.
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There was much conjecture as to whether there were two calves or one with the mother (Humpback whale). The conversation went back and forth all day. When I got to them late in the afternoon they were all coming out of Bedwell Harbor, Pender Island, BC, and the whale watch boat on scene said that he had seen both calves surface at the same time. From the pictures that I took, I can only find two whales total, though I thought I saw two calves also.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island

May 22, 2010

A whale (not sure what kind?) was heading South towards Boston Harbor around 3:30 in Dana Passage (S. Puget Sound). It breached a couple of times before we lost site of it.
DEAN SCHMIDTKE
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I have been watching a gray whale feed between Jetty Island and the Everett Marina just North of Anthony's restaurant. I first saw it North of the Everett Yacht Club on Friday night, June21, 2010 at about 7:30 PM. It must be eating shrimp. On Saturday morning at about 8:00 AM I saw it again near Anthony's. It is definitely feeding and there are many seagulls in the area. I saw its head this morning.
Mary E. Schmitt, Attorney at Law, Everett
Orca Network and Cascadia Research received several calls about this Gray whale yesterday, and KING5 TV has some video and an article here, the video shows this is another very emaciated whale. There have been no reports of the whale that we know of on Sunday, though we also had reports of a gray whale in the same area a week ago.
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9:55am, I counted at least 6 of what looks like harbor porpoise in the center of Commencement Bay, slowly working their way north.
Kristofer Nystrom
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Orca Network received a call reporting several medium sized female Orcas, at 2:42 pm at 44 53.7N, 124 4.8W (S. of Lincoln City, OR), heading NE.
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Orca Network received a report of 3 orcas, 1 may have been a calf, in Charleston Harbor, OR, off Clam Island at 2 pm.
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We came out into some pretty rough waters today but it ended up being worth it. We went just south of Sand Heads Light, north of the Fraser River, BC, and found 6 transient orca including T124 and T87. They mostly traveled but near the end of our time with them, they chased down and killed something but I could not get a good look at what it was. They celebrated a little after with a couple breaches and tail slaps which was awesome!!
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver

May 21, 2010

Around noon I was on the 5 mile drive in Pt. Defiance Park and saw a tree/root wad floating through the narrows. It looked like the head/neck nessie photo. While looking at it through the binoculars I saw at least 2 harbor Porpises near the entrance to Gig Harbor.
Bryan Owens, Tacoma Wa.
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We spotted a Gray Whale at Hein Bank at about 11am (from the photo we'd say this is Gray whale #53, one of the "regular" Saratoga Passage whales!). This was the first time I had seen a Gray Whale at Hein Bank. We watched the Gray Whale for a while before heading north and heard later that the whale had traveled towards Eastern Bank.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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At around 7:40 AM we saw a single gray whale directly off Picnic Point in Edmonds. We saw two blows, then the whale dove; we think it was feeding. Several minutes later we saw two more blows a few hundred yards to the north, still near shore, and then it dove again. We saw a final spout much further from shore to the north as it headed toward Mukilteo.
Jen and Rich Woolf, Everett
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Erick Peirson called to report Gray whale #53 off Eastern Bank, 3.5 miles west of Smith Island at 2:25 pm, doing long dives right off the bank.

May 20, 2010

May 19 - 20 A gray whale to report on the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry run, closer to the Mukilteo shoreline just in front of Lighthouse Park around 7:20 am. It came up a couple times and blew each time before I had to disembark the ferry and lost track of it. It was headed south.
Margi Hartnett, Marine Naturalist in training, Whidbey Island

May 19, 2010

We heard a few Transient orca calls at 6:12 on the Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Susan & Howard, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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1757: Transient calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Started hearing calls extremely faintly at 5:48 pm, (three), and now again 5:53 p.m.; sounds like Transients. 5:57pm Calls a bit more audible and continuing.
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo
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A gray whale to report on the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry run, on the Clinton side around 7:10 am. The ship's captain announced that it was passing at the bow of the ferry and waited for it to pass. It surfaced a few times; blowing as it headed south.
Margi Hartnett, Marine Naturalist in training, Whidbey Island
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This morning the 7am Clinton ferry delayed its departure for 7 minutes to allow a gray whale to pass across its path from north to south. Quite a show for everybody aboard.
Gary McKinney

May 18, 2010

We saw a group of orcas heading north off of punta gorda california. The male was very distinctive he was a large animal and was missing the top quarter or third of his dorsal - he was traveling with apx. three females. We were apx three miles west of the punta gorda at apx 10 am.
john santaella
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The afternoon trip took Vanessa and I over 52 nm North of Victoria. 2nm East of Porlier Pass (top end of Galiano Island) we encountered the T-100's. The whales were all grouped together and seemed to be staying in one location doing long dives. Based on this behaviour and the presence of gulls circling the area, we presumed that they were actively feeding - having a late lunch. After about 25 minutes of staying in one spot the whales started to swim to the Northwest towards Gabriola Island. Earlier in the day, we had heard from Jim Maya, that they were together with other Transients, however, we could not find the other animals at all.
Jeff Lamarche, Eagle Wing Tours, Victoria B.C.
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Jim Maya of Maya's Charters called to report 9 Transient orcas 10 miles NW of Active Pass traveling north near Galiano Island at 2:45 pm.
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Orca Network received a call from Robert on the Victoria Clipper, reporting a group of Orcas westbound at the Romeo Buoy near Hein Bank, Haro Strait at 9:30 am. The pod included 1 adult male and 8 females or non-adult males.
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Capt. Jim Maya called at 4:45 pm to report a Humpback whale off west San Juan Island between False Bay and Eagle Pt, heading SE.
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We got word of another whale being sighted at Andrew's Bay heading south. We encountered the whale north of False Bay and soon i.d. the whale as a young Humpback Whale. It seemed to be traveling south along the west side of San Juan Island. During our tour we also encountered both Harbor and Dall's Porpoise and believe we may have even seen a Hybrid!
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching, Victoria B.C.
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We found a cetacean traveling all by itself along San Juan Island, a juvenile humpback! He would come to the surface with a massive blow, and then dive for 5-7 minutes. We watched him for about 30 minutes, and as we were preparing to depart, he passed by the bow and gave a beautiful tail fluke dive.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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We encountered the 3 Minke Whales not far from the Hein Bank Marker this afternoon and two of them were very close together.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching, Victoria B.C.

May 17, 2010

After sailing up the West Coast last week in the Oregon Offshore Race and seeing Humpbacks, Gray Whales, Brown Pelicans and Tufted Puffins it was a nice change to see some Killer Whales in Georgia Strait. Vanessa and I had a brilliant encounter with the T-100's and the T-101's off of East Point Light. The whales were traveling Southeast towards Patos Island and were swimming through the huge tidal rips off of boiling Reef. All around the whales were lots of Seals, Sea Lions and Harbour Porpoise also feeding in the same area.
Jeff Lamarche, Eagle Wing Tours
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I was riding the Kingston/Edmonds ferry from Edmonds at 7:30pm when a woman who was sitting on the L side of the boat told me as we were walking off that she thought she'd seen a large grey whale just under the water, nearer the Edmonds side. She said she also thought she saw some porpoise fins. She said she'd clearly seen the tail shape of the large grey mass just under the water (no spouts or nothing surfaced). I didn't see anything myself.
Joy Jaber
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We had a wonderful sighting of what appeared to be 6 to 8 Orca whales traveling southeast along the north side of Patos and then Sucia (San Juan Islands). The sighting occurred at approx. 4:50 pm. There was one large male of particular note. They seemed to be swimming in 2 to 3 groups along the outer edges of the tidal currents.
Dan Meaker
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At approximately noon, we got the radio call that one of our boats had spotted a single orca in Georgia Strait, near the midpoint of Galiano Island. As we headed in that direction, the report grew to 4 whales. When we were still 5 miles away, we were distracted by a huge splash, then fins. We had found our own group of T's northeast of Active Pass, and they were busily hunting an unfortunate young sea lion. We stopped some distance away to watch these top predators take turns at subduing their prey. A few minutes later, a limp brown body was floating at the surface. The 5 T's - T87, T88, T124, T124D & T124E - stayed under for several minutes at a time, followed by excited surfacings. Soon the first seagull arrived for scraps, followed by his friends. During the encounter, it was noted that T87 has some fresh wounds at the tip of his dorsal fin, on both sides, which appear to be rake marks. Our 5 T's remained in the same area, milling and eating, and vocalizing! Meanwhile, the other group of T's were now up to 9 individuals - T14, T100's (including T100E, but not T100D), T101's, and T102 - and had moved to within a mile of our location. We could see that group porpoising towards us. When the two groups met, it was a casual meeting compared to the precision lineup of resident orcas. We did observe 3 head-head meetings in which one whale would always back away, and then angle head-up before slipping below the surface. T14 was not present during the meet & greet. We last saw the whales headed in a southwesterly direction towards Mayne Island, a long line of blows and fins.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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Orca Network received a call from Tom Paulu of the Longview Daily News, relaying a report he'd had from a man who saw 2 orcas in the Columbia River near Longview at 2 PM. Howard talked to the man, Scott White, who saw the orcas from hwy 4/Ocean Beach Hwy while sitting on the guard rail waiting for construction on the road. The whales were 30' away, and he saw one adult and one smaller orca, approx. 8 - 10 miles downstream from Longview, WA, near Stella and Germany Creek. Brent Norberg of NOAA Fisheries wrote "According to the Coast Pilot Stella is at river mile 48.9" - wow! that's nearly 50 miles upriver!!
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Watched the T100's and T101's (Transient orcas) swim past dozens of harbor porpoise and steller sealions feeding in the current between East Point Lighthouse and Patos Island light between 1620 and 1700hrs. They were last seen heading east along the north side of Patos Island.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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Jim Maya and Jeanne Hyde called at 2:50 pm - they had 10 - 15 Transients 4 miles SE of Active Pass heading toward East Pt. in Georgia Strait, heading toward a bunch of Steller sea lions. They called again at 4:15 pm to report they were with Transient orcas T100B & C, T101, T101A&B and T102, 3 miles off Patos Light heading toward Patos Island.
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Today I was out with Capt. Jim of Maya's Westside Charters and having learned of transients near Active Pass we went to locate them. When we found them at about 2:30 pm they were east of Active Pass, a few miles from shore, heading east toward East Point. There were two groups - the T100s and the T101s and T102 was with the T101s. However there was one whale who was missing from the T100 group - a 4 year old who has been missing since last year. After observing this group for a while, who were in a slow but steady travel mode it was clear that T100D, a 4 year old was NOT present. Present in that group were T100, T100B, T100C and the baby T100E. Traveling in a parallel fashion yet a more than a 1/2 mile from this group were the T101s, consisting of T101, T101A and T101B, and with them was T102. No other whales were observed in the area, in flat calm water, during the time we were there. I will be posting pics on my blog in a while (and see photo of the day, above).
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Transients going South along the Galiano shore to Active Pass, T87 and friends going North from the Belle Chain Is. to Active Pass at about noon.
Ron Bates, MMRG, Victorica B.C. (via Facebook)
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Erick Peirson of Port Townsend called to report that the USCG/Vessel Traffic Seattle Sector sent out a call about a gray whale off Shilshole, northbound at 9:30 am this morning.
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Erick Peirson of Port Townsend called to report 2 Minke whales east of Partridge Bank, NW Whidbey Island at 10 am, and another Minke off Turn Rock at 11:45 am.
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Minke whale in San Juan Channel heading south around noon.
Ron Bates, MMRG, Victoria, B.C. (via Facebook)
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Sitting here at Lincoln Park, spotted at least four porpoise (probably harbor) mid channel just south of the Fauntleroy/Vashon run, milling around and circling. Also , Harbor seal very active just off shore from us. Such a peaceful calm on the water.
Alisa & Ed Brooks

May 16, 2010

Erick Peirson of Port Townsend called to report 2 or 3 Minke whales off Partridge Bank, NW Whidbey Island at 4:40 pm.
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Gray whale heading quickly south along Tulalip Shores around 7:00 pm. Only surfaced 3 times while in eyesight. Haven't seen a whale on two weeks. What a great afternoon!
Tamra Nelson (via facebook)
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Today around 130 pm we were in our boat out of the shores of edmonds. We were watching the regatta race and there in the middle of it was a single grey whale. When we first saw it he was playing and he was raising his head out of the water. After a while he slowly headed north and all you could really see was just his spout hole. We have not seen him before due to not making it up that way alot yet. But cant wait to spend a summer watching these beautiful creatures.
Kassie Dugger

May 15, 2010

During a joint field project between the Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Cascadia we satellite tagged a mammal-eating killer whale - T90. For more information on our study of movement patterns of mammal-eating killer whales see our website here.
Cascadia Research (via Facebook)
Transient Tagging Project
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7 transients spent about 7 hours traveling about 7 miles! T87, T88, T90, T90B, T124, T124D and T124E acted more like a group of Southern Residents than the typical unpredictable zigzagging transient behavior that is common with Ts. Of course they were in a resting mode for a large portion of the time. They were first reported at Pile Pt. in a resting mode at about 8:30 in the morning. By noon they had made it to Lime Kiln park a distance of just a few miles. They split into two groups T87 with T124, T124D and T124E and the other three T88, T90 and T90B in the farther offshore group still going north. The last I heard they were at Open Bay, a few miles north of Lime Kiln at 3:30.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Once again I was at Lime Kiln today and at approx 1pm I saw Transients heading North, definitely T87 & Co.
Corrine Wyatt Marine Naturalist - in training - :-)
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Lime Kiln Park - 1.00 pm approx: Lunchtime treat for The Whale Museum's Marine Naturalist Training group at Lime Kiln - transients going north including T87.
Sandra Pollard, Freeland, Whidbey Is.
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Brad Hanson of NOAA Fisheries relayed a report from Ron Bates of Victoria's MMRG of a small group of orcas off Pile point in the morning.
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Kathy Fritts of Freeland called to relay a report of orcas milling in Saratoga Passage N. of Greenbank, at 12:05 pm, heading north closer to the Whidbey side. Nancy Zaretzke had observed one or two orcas off Hidden Beach a short time before that, heading north.
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Barb Nichols called to report a couple of Orcas in Saratoga Passage near Baby Island at the entrance to Holmes Harbor, at 7:30 am.
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We watched 2 orcas about ¼ mile east of Baby Island, Saratoga Passagein shallow water swimming a tight circle. They must have been hunting because they continued the tight circle for several minutes, got the binoculars and saw one roll on his(?) side and saw a fairly large pool of blood in the water but did not see any seal or fish pieces floating. They then headed north. One appeared to have a notch out of his aft dorsal fin about half way up. This all took place about 7:15am.
Linda Fauth, Whidbey Island, WA
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2 Orcas heading north towards Holmes Harbor from Bells beach at 6:45 am.
Leslie McGuire (via Facebook)
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We have 2 transients heading your way (north up Saratoga Passage). Milled about off Bell's Beach at 6:30am about a 100yds out. Now making their way towards Holmes Harbor opening at 6:45.
Kathy Carr, Whidbey Island, WA
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I called to report a gray whale siting on the East side of Jetty Island, Everett. We first spotted it around 5:06 pm and it hung around for at least an hour. We were parked at the 12th Street Yacht basin which is right next to the Everett Boat Launch, the last time I saw him he was headed south and hopefully back out into Sound.
Marsha Stephens
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We enjoyed the sight of what looked like a small gray whale proceeding up river in front of Anthony's homeport in Everett. It raised several times and blew, right in front of the restraint. The time frame was around 4-5 pm.
John Ackerman
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Susie Richards of the SEA Program called to report a small Gray whale between Kingston and Edmonds at 10:50 am. Lat/Long: 47 47.943 N; 122 26.603W.
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About 10:30 AM from Lagoon Point (SW Whidbey Isl) there was either a very large porpoise or a small whale going back and forth (north and south). At one point it surfaced for about a minute before going back down.
Jim and Lenore Minstrell, Greenbank, W. Whidbey Island

May 14, 2010

0430: We observed 6-7 Orcas off of the east side of Blake Island, Puget Sound this morning. They were heading North but were very active with many tail slaps and spy hopping.
Paul Ruppert, Park Ranger / Asst. Area Manager, Blake Island State Park
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On our way back to Vancouver we also ran into a group of 6 Transients just north of the belle chain islands in the strait of georgia.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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On a search for more orcas I went back through the pass and headed to the Belle Chain in Georgia Strait. At 1430, after seeing the hundreds of sea lions, those southerly fins that I probably saw earlier were heading north. Were these more residents? It was looking possible with the close group of 6 or 7 and others seen off in the distance. As time passed the 1 or 2 off in the distance joined the small group for some socializing. At 1330 some of these Transients went along the shoreline north of Active Pass while the others moved parallel further off shore.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce, Pt. Roberts
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Finally, a sighting of resident killer whales for those of us in the northern portion of their range. Some of L pod were located at approximately noon today, just entering Active Pass from the east side, at Georgina Point. Although the usual direction of travel for them is west to east, this was a little deja vu of the return of L pod last spring. The group stayed close to the Mayne Island shoreline, and entered Miner's Bay. They then did an abrupt change of path, putting them in the centre of the pass, in the tide rips (tide was on a flood at the time), and in the pathway of an oncoming ferry. The ferry had slowed for the whales, and once it passed, there was no sight of them, until we looked behind us. They had circled back into Miner's Bay to take another try at the pass. Numerous spyhops ensued, always by the same whale with some distinctive lines along the mouth. For the remainder of Active Pass, the group stayed very close to the Mayne Island shore. Their blows were remarkable against the dark background, however, ID's were difficult with shaded saddle patches. As the whales approached the end of the pass they became more active with some upside down swimming, tail slaps, pec slaps, half breaches (see photo), kelping and finally porpoising their way into Swanson Channel. Where they had been quite close together through Active Pass, they split off into several small groups in Swanson. Some groups porpoised quickly into the distance, some traveled leisurely against the current, and others kept up the breaching contest! The whales we could definitely ID were the L12's, including L25, the L5's and L22's. There may have been more.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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Awesome day today with L pod just south of active pass. Lots of breaching and spyhops and we even got to see Lolita's mom L25.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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At approximately 1200 I saw some fins on the west side of Active Pass. It looked as if some fins were also south of the pass but more about that later. At approximately 1230 I entered the pass where some whale watch companies were with the orcas in Miner's Bay. There were about 20 L pod orcas moving in tight groups through along the southerly shore when a ferry approached. The orcas grouped up and were back in Miner's Bay. As they moved again to exit the pass numerous eagles were soaring above. After some head views, pec slaps, and porpoising they left the pass at 1310. Once in Swanson Channel they picked up speed and spread out.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce, Pt. Roberts
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Just spent the afternoon hanging out with a few members of L-Pod up near Vancouver Island.
Sandi Murdock (via Facebook)
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Val Veirs recorded many calls from members of L pod.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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Brad Hanson of NOAA Fisheries said they were able to get out and collect some fish scale samples from L pod foraging events off the west side of San Juan Island, between Hannah Heights and False Bay, as the whales headed south.
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I was fortunate enough today to be out at Lime Kiln (W. San Juan Island) to see L-pod's homecoming. I saw Ocean Sun, Flash (who looks more & more like his Daddy ..lol) as well as Calypso and her calf L113. It was approx 5:30 or 6 pm when we could see them coming from the north -- VERY spread out & only a few came close to shore. Looked like they were headed towards Victoria.
Corrine Wyatt , marine naturalist in training
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We began hearing Southern Resident orca calls on the Orca Sound hydrophone (NW San Juan Island) at 4:45 pm. At about 6:25 pm we began to hear calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone as L pod continued south - heard calls until at least 7:30 pm.
The Center for Whale Research was with members of L pod - the L9, L12, and L54 sub-pods, off Stuart Island at 3:42 pm, following them south. At 4:40 pm they were off Henry Island, at 5:30 off NW San Juan Island. We were able to see some of the orcas on the Center's Orca Cam, while listening to them on the Beam Reach/Whale Museum OrcaSound hydrophones! Thanks to all of the above for providing these amazing technologies for those of us not lucky enough to see or hear the whales first-hand!
Susan & Howard
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We had reports of Southern Resident orcas off Nanaimo early this morning, and in Active Pass around 12:15 pm.
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Just when we think they've left the area - we received a call from Ted Weber at 7:55 pm, reporting a lone orca, off Lagoon Pt, Whidbey Island, mid-channel in Admiralty Inlet heading north!
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At about 7:50 PM, from Lagoon Pt., we saw at least one orca (male) headed north toward Fort Casey.
Jim and Lenore Minstrell, Lagoon Pt, Whidbey Island, WA
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11:00 am - Near Norwegian Point Park, (Hansville, Kitsap County). Spotted large white water disturbance in the waters across the sound, off Double Bluff, Whidbey Island. It turned out to be at least 4-5 very, very active orcas! Perhaps socializing? It sure looked like play to me. They stayed in one area for some time and close to the surface diving and leaping from the water sometimes a couple in unison. With binoculars it appears that one had to be a male from the size and one appeared to be a juvenile. They then moved quickly across the shipping lanes, (no ships in sight) some porpoising, some underwater, still quite far from the western shore and headed north. What a joy to see such a show of life!
Janice Ceridwen, Hansville, WA
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Orcas going outbound past Pt No Pt, WA at 10:46 am.
Patty Michak, MarineView Fisheries Consulting, Inc., Hansville, WA
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At about 10:45 am we saw 2 Orcas heading slowly north from Point No Point, WA. Just cruising on a sunny day in Puget Sound.
Judy Anderson Roupe (via Facebook)
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Orca whales - appeared to be at least 5 animals, off Bainbridge Island, just outside of Eagle Harbor traveling North ~6:30 am. They appeared to just be slowly traveling north ward, very relaxed pace. There was at least 1 male. We were not close enough to see any further detail. (seen from the Bainbridge to Seattle ferry.)
Michael Molien
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A number of orcas were just East of Wing Point, on Bainbridge Island, as seen from the 0620 ferry as it left Eagle Harbor. There were only two on the surface at any one time, but it appeared that there were at least 3-4 total. They were about 150 yards offshore. At least one had a fairly prominent dorsal. Not sure if they were feeding or not, but they were moving very slowly to the North at first, and then were headed to the West, toward Bainbridge.
John Kimmerlein
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9:50 am - Had the binocs out for something else, when I noticed suspicious "calm spots" in the water. The tide was already out quite a ways, and a lone Gray was feeding off the drop-off a mile south of Mabana (SW Camano Isl), and heading south. Barbara Brock, Camano Island
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Orca Network received a call from Tony Woelke of the WA State Ferry Puyallup, reporting 1 Gray whale 1 mile north of Pt. Wells, near Edmonds, heading north at 9:37 am.
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This morning (NW of Langley) we were woken up at 5:50 AM by whale blows and looking out we watched a gray whale swimming by from SE to NW. He was not feeding, just swimming along the drop off. I grabbed my camera took a couple of shots and it was Patch, #49!!
Veronica von Allwörden, NW Langley

May 13, 2010

We spotted what we think was a minke whale at Salt Creek Rec Area by Port Angeles around 6pm while surfing.
Rob Casey, Seattle
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I was kayaking near the rocks at tongue point, 150ft from shore near salt creek state park outside Port Angeles at about 5PM. Saw dark gray/light black whale circulating and surfacing repeatedly in the same area. Sort of looked like an extremely robust and large dolphin. Dorsal fin was curved back like a scythe. Head had a thick short nose, dolphin like but chunkier. Animal was at least 10ft long, may have been 15ft. I went home and pilot whale seemed to be the correct ID. May have been two because there seemed to be some size differences but that may just be a false impression since I didn't see two separate animals. Animal kept getting closer and closer to me, so I decided to move off, but we continued to see him break the surface just past the waves. Never seen this type of whale at salt creek but may have seen one on the outside of dungeness spit a couple of years ago.
Jory Kahn
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Orca Network received a report from Cindy Burns, wildlife biologist for the Siuslaw Natl. Forest, Florence, OR, of ~4 orcas going up the Siuslaw River from 1:30 - 3 pm. They were observed breaching by the crab dock 1/2 mile upriver.
I took a look at the photos and whales are the T49As and T49Bs.
Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Bittersweet news from Possession Point State Park (S. Whidbey Isl): Last night we witnessed nature at work; a small pod of Orcas attack and eat our resident seal pup. We are happy the whales have full bellies, but we mourn the loss of our dear friend 'Sammy the Seal'.
Ranger Tess & Family
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Right around dusk (8:40), my husband and I saw 4-5 Orcas, one much smaller than the others, heading north between Polnell Point and Strawberry Point on Whidbey Island. We were too far away to see details, and didn't have a camera with a zoom close at hand.
Diane Ginn
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I would say K's and L's for sure. Lots of socialization behaviour off of Cape Mudge. Multiple breaches, spyhops and tail lobs!! Absolutely beautiful to see these guys every year. Will try and forward some photos when I get back to Tofino.
Nick Templeman (via Facebook)
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I have a fifth hand report that there may be K and L whales in that sighting, but I think Ron Bates or Mark Malleson have second or third hand reports that may be more precise.
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Just got a report (~5 pm), through Simon (Ocean Ecoventures), that LOTS of Orcas are headed south from Campbell River B.C. today. Last year we had a similar report and 18 hours later Residents came down through Active Pass!
Western Prince Whale Watching & Wildlife Tours (via Facebook)
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Amy Carey of Vashon Island called to report the pod of Transient orcas off Dilworth, NE Vashon Island at 6:15 pm, heading south.
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Donna Sandstrom called to report the pod of Transient orcas approaching the Vashon ferry lanes at 5:50 pm, heading south. It appeared there were ~6 orcas.
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We saw the orcas between Elliott Bay and Bainbridge on the 3:45 ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge.
Steve Wagner (via Facebook)
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KING5 TV in Seattle showed this beautiful video footage of 6 orcas traveling in a resting line off Edmonds at about 12:50 pm today, heading south. On their website, they also show some great still photos taken by several people who watched them off Edmonds and off Mukilteo. In photo #5, a male with a large fin and a nick out of the top looks to us like Transient orca T87 - a male had not been reported in other reports, and the video didn't show the saddle patches well enough for ID's, so this was a very helpful photo!
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This morning at approximately 7:00 am while just sitting to enjoy a cup of morning coffee there was a very large pod of Orcas between my house at the south tip of Camano Island and Langley in Saratoga Passage. They were slapping their tails and swimming by very slowly. They were heading towards Port Susan Bay. I counted at least ten different whales!
Mj Walline-Sawyer, Camano Island
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Orca Network received a call from the US Coast Guard out of La Push, WA - they had a pod of 10 - 12 orcas northbound at 2:15 pm off La Push - lat/long: 47 56; 124 57.
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We capped off the day with a smallish Minke whale in the Strait of Georgia, just east of Georgeson Island. It was doing the usual Minke meanderings, surfacing briefly and changing direction frequently. It seemed to be working it's way further out into the strait, following the barely visible tide lines. We observed a few surfacings that appeared to involve some lunge feeding.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch

May 12, 2010

Orca Network received a report from Jimmy Brizzee, - a few orcas 5 - 6 miles out of Port Orford, OR at 1 pm, including 1 adult male. He was in a 22' boat and they were swimming under it, 1 breaching, etc. in about 60 fathoms of water. A lot of sea lions were present in the same area.
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I was out on the Ocean Magic at noon and we headed north up Haro Strait toward Spieden Island in the San Juans. It was here, at 1.40 pm that we saw this rather active grey whale. It was foraging close to the shoreline of Spieden Island and took two deep dives during the time we were observing it. Lifting its tail we were able to see the unique markings on its flukes. A lovely encounter with this whale in very pleasant conditions.
Marie, Orca-Magic, Prince of Whales, Victoria BC.
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Around 9:30 AM we were very surprised to be able to see a gray whale from our dock in Friday Harbor! It was heading north up San Juan Channel, and we were with it on the boat from 10:05-10:50 during our morning trip. I heard it went up Spieden Channel and through Johns Pass (!) before we met up with the animal again in the afternoon. Between 3:00 and 3:30 PM it was heading northeast up Boundary Pass near Skipjack Island. It was going for fairly long dives of up to seven minutes and at times would only surface once or twice between dives. It did fluke a couple of times as well.
Monika Wieland, Naturalist aboard the Western Prince
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Beam Reach (with the aid of the San Juan Island Whale Museum) spotted a gray whale just north of San Juan Island Point Caution (gps: 48.57089 N, 123.02851 W) in the (San Juan) channel. It was moving about .25 miles off the shoreline.
Libby Whiting and the Beam Reach 2010
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Erick Peirson of Port Townsend called to report a Gray whale in San Juan Channel at Pt. Caution, 1 mile N. of Friday Harbor Labs at 11:30 am, heading north slowly. At 12:10 he called back to report it was coming up to Limestone Pt. in Speiden Channel, still heading north.

May 11, 2010

Spotted two orca's off Of Diamond Point West of Port Townsend, very close to shore, Whales headed west. Time 2:30-3:20 pm, Feeding. Photos were taken from 100 yards away with 600 mm Nikon Lens.
Sue McKay
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Two orcas, Feeding, off Diamond Point, West of Port Townsend WA.
Paul Happel
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T100's and T101's passed CWR (NW San Juan Island) heading north in Haro Strait around 2030 .
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research
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We headed east towards the belle chain islands to check out the Steller sea lion haul out and on our way we got a big surprise!! At the east point of Mayne Island (Swanson Channel) we saw a dorsal fin in the distance and then the huge fin of T20 surfaced along with four others! When we first arrived there was a lot of playing and looked like even a little mating! Then they continued to head west along the shore of Galiano island.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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We were already on our homeward journey this afternoon, 5 T's had been spotted in Georgia Strait near the southeast corner of Mayne Island. When we arrived on scene, we observed 5 individuals that appeared to be resting as they moved slowly northwest close in to the Mayne Island shoreline. The whales were ID'ed as T20, T21, T2C, T2C1 and T2C2. The whales drifted a bit to the east as they moved by Active Pass, then moved back closer to the shoreline as they continued towards Galiano Island. We left the group headed northwest, at approximately 1530 hrs, just north of Active Pass. They appeared to be still in resting behaviour.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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Our students had a sighting of a minke whale near Hein Bank while on the Beam Reach boat, from approximately 10:49 - 10:57 am.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach
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9:30 am: grey whale between Ebey's and Pt. Partridge (W. Whidbey Isl.) slowly heading south~ 1/4 mile out. Al Luneman, Coupeville, Whidbey Island
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Chris Kennedy of Washington State Ferries called to report 1 gray whale in Fauntleroy Cove, S. of Seattle, heading south at 5 knots at 9:13 am.
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Small grey whale seen at Fauntleroy Ferry terminal around 9am today. "Small" for a whale!
Robert Teagardin (via Facebook)

May 10, 2010

I had Transient orcas T020 and T021 with the T002C's east bound west of Sooke at 1030 . At the same time CA058 and T124C were spotted off Victoria heading west. They met up with T020's group in the afternoon near Race Rocks and all continued east for Trial Island. At approximately 1830 CA058 and T124C broke off while the others continued north east for Haro Strait.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales
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As we were heading West on the afternoon tour, Vanessa and I picked up T-20, T-21 and the T-2's approximately 1 nm Southwest of Church Rk. (2.5 nm West of Race Rocks) at 1345 hrs. The five Transients were grouped together and traveling East towards Race Rocks Lighthouse. During our stay with them we saw one seal kill near Race Passage. At which point, the animals went off -- Lots of spyhops, breaches and tail flips -- Brilliant !! Later in the tour, the group of five Transients met up with two others, T-124C and CA058 near Albert Hd. Once all together, the seven Killer Whales proceeded Northeast towards Victoria. Our encounter finished at 1615 hrs., 2.5 nm East of Albert Hd.
Jeff Lamarche, Eagle Wing Tours
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5:30pm Alaska time spotted about twenty orcas in the distance spread out and traveling off the east shore of Brownson Island in Ernest Sound north of Ketchikan in SE Alaska. Believe because of size it was a resident pod.
Shannon Bailey, MV Catalyst, Pacific Catalyst II Inc
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Forwarded by Brad Hanson, NOAA Fisheries: News Video: Orcas circle boat off Palos Verdes, CA Coast. We have much more video of the orcas that just hasn't made it online yet. If your colleague knows anything interesting about these particular orcas, we'd love to know about it!
Lisa Bartley, Writer/Producer, KABC-TV Eyewitness News, Glendale, CA
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Message relayed by the Coast Guard, North Bend OR this am. Commercial fishing vessel SEA PRO reported a pod of 6 orcas (5 adults & 1 calf) 1/2 mile off of South Beach 44 36.5N x 124 03W (Newport OR) this am.
Brent Norberg, NOAA Fisheries NW Region, Seattle
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Brendon, a Trinidad, CA fisherman called at 7:30 am to report 3 orcas just N of Trinidad Harbor.

May 9, 2010

2 Transients were found in Haro Strait heading southerly along Mandarte Island. It was 2 females, one of which is a fairly regular visitor-T124C. The other was a bit of a surprise in that it was CA58, or a California Transient. As we came on scene, it appeared they had just made a kill as they were circling the same area for awhile with lots of direction changes.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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Cheryl Hetrick called to let us know that at 5:30 p.m. she and her husband were at the S. Jetty of Florence OR and got to see 3 cows and 3 calves (orca) come into the jetty for about an hour. She said it was at the crabbing dock and they played for about an hour, the mothers circling while the calves played. They were close enough to see their eyes and she was awestruck.
Bruce Mate, Director, Marine Mammal Institute, Oregon State University, Hatfield Marine Science Center
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We were on the Seattle/Bainbridge Island ferry and were approaching Bainbridge Island at around 1:00 when we spotted two harbor porpoise. They were in the path of the ferry surfacing frequently and moving quickly to the south.
Kris Jones
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During our stay with T124C and CA058, Val and I witnessed two seal kills from 1630 hrs. to 1730 hrs. At the time of the seal kills, we were 1.2 nm West of Zero Rock.
Jeff Lamarche, Eagle Wing Tours
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Beam Reach was with orcas (presumably the two Transients in the report above), from 3:33 pm, between N. San Juan Island and D'Arcy Island, heading east, and off the Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, at 5:10 pm.
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The Center for Whale Research boat was with orcas (presumably the two Transients in the report above), between N. San Juan Island and D'Arcy Island from 3:12 - 3:30 pm.
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We saw this mother/calf pair of gray whales on Mother's Day at Patrick's Point in Humboldt County, California. The calf had a very light colored tail, so maybe you can recognize it as it moves up the coast. The calf also had some marks on the face that made us think of orca teeth marks? (could also possibly be from rubbing on Mom's barnacles? sb). We also saw another pair of grays that were closer in size, but the smaller of the two was a very pale color.
Mike, Julie, and Jen Kelly
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Our Stranding Network received several calls about a Gray whale in Oak Harbor "beaching itself", but it was the Gray whale that has been regularly feeding in the area just feeding in shallow water. One call came in at 7:30 pm from Neal Ketchum of the Oak Harbor Marina. The dispatcher had called him to report a call of a gray whale beaching itself near buoy #8. At 7:10 pm we received a call from a man who had been in the sail boat regatta today. He reported a beached gray whale near Buoy #8 which may be near the east end of the harbor.
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We just returned from a day sail in Saratoga Passage. As we were motoring out of Oak Harbor Marina, we saw a lone gray whale feeding in the shallows on the East side of the channel, between the shore and the red channel markers. The tide was still low, and it was moving very slowly. We turned off the engine and drifted on the other side of the channel to watch for a bit. There were a number of boats coming in from the Round Whidbey race, and some coming out from the marina to watch, and all were very respectful and gave the whale distance - it helped too, that the whale was inside the channel markers. We originally saw the whale about 11am though it looked as though it had been there for awhile. We watched for about 30 minutes, and when we continued out the channel, the whale continued traveling in toward the R"8" marker. We could still see it near the innermost marker after a good 60 minutes or so after we left the channel. When we came back in after sailing at about 4pm, we saw a couple of blows of presumably the same whale at about the number 4 marker. It seemed to be traveling out of the channel.
Sue Cunningham The Blue Goose Inn, Coupeville
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Billy Wind of Oak Harbor called to report a Gray whale in Oak Harbor, at the R4 buoy at 12:22 PM, close to the beach on the east side of the Harbor during the Round Whidbey sailboat race.
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Very large gray whale @ 11 AM leaving Penn Cove on the north side shores. What a great mothers day. I was hoping to see one.
Theresa Gonsalves, Oak Harbor, WA
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Isabelle Cameros called to report a large gray whale in Penn Cove from 9:30 - 10 am, it was first heading out of the Cove from Coupeville toward Lovejoy Pt, then it turned around and headed back in toward Coupeville.
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I was on the Washington State Ferry going from Keystone to Port Townsend. Suddenly the back of a medium sized whale appeared in their midst, scattering the birds and the whale exhaled with a low diffuse spout. Given the behavior, size, shape and color I am confident that the whale was a minke.
Brian Parent
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We deployed several satellite tags on fin whales which indicated the whales were spending their time in deep water between the Astoria Canyon and Grays Canyon- roughly 40 miles from shore. We headed southwest from Grays Harbor and encountered more fin whales in this area, and also several humpbacks in the southernmost reaches of our survey. We deployed an additional satellite tag and collected several biopsy samples which will be used for genetic analyses of stock structure. In total we collected 20 or more photo-ID's for comparison to our fin whale catalog, and to our great surprise encountered a fin whale we know from several years of research in Southern California, which was exciting as it is our first documented cross-regional match. All in all, a very productive two days toward a better understanding of this population.
Erin A. Falcone, Biologist, Cascadia Research, Olympia, WA

May 8, 2010

Orca Network received a report from the Hatfield Marine Science Center - someone had come into the center and reported seeing ~ 6 orcas, including 1 very large male, just north of Depoe Bay, heading south.
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Minke whale passing thru while shrimping between Clark/Barnes Islands and east side of Orcas, about 3 pm. Don't think any of the other boats even saw it, that sneaky whale.
Penny Stone/Lummi Island shrimperman
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Orca Network received a message reporting 2 orcas, 1 lg. male & 1 female, on the bar of Charleston Harbor, Coos Bay, OR. They came up to the entrance at 1 pm, then turned and left.
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Single gray whale all day in Kiket Bay between Hope Island and Skagit Island. Spouting and staying around the Salmon Fish Pen located in Kiket Bay. In close to the Fish Pen Watchman's House just minutes ago (8:30 pm). We are watching and hearing it from just North of "Thousand Trial" property on the Fidalgo Island side.
Stan Lorenson, Fidalgo Island
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Gray Whale sighted just north of Shipwreck in Harbour Point Mukilteo heading north Saturday May 8th late afternoon.
Tim Coulter, Mukilteo
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I was kayaking with a group of friends from Salsbury Pt. to Kingston , and as we approached Apple Cove Pt. just north of Kingston at about 12:30pm we saw a whale blow just in front of us and only about 10-15 foot from shore. As we paddled past the point we got several good views of him, enough to determine that it was a feeding gray whale. A large wake from a container vessel came thru just then and the whale moved east into deeper water and looked like it was moving north toward Pt. No Point.
Deb Orth
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Finn Gatewood and Phyllis Kind called to report two Gray whales in Saratoga Passage, north of Baby Island at the entrance to Holmes Harbor at 9:55 am - they were unsure of the direction of travel.
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Rich Shaughnessy of Greenbank called to report a Minke Whale at Partridge Bank, NW Whidbey Island at noon .
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Today around noon while kayaking approximately 1/2 mile west of the Steilacoom Ferry Terminal, I encountered 8-10 Porpoises that appeared to be feeding.
Dave Mangino
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We had two separate encounters with individual Minke whales in the straits -- between Protection Island and Port Townsend, about one mile off-shore. We were fishing for halibut north of McCurdy Point, the whale seemed to be moving.
Brian Fleming

May 7, 2010

We are getting ready to move from our "upper First St" home where for 10 years we have enjoyed visits by feeding gray whales and lo and behold we had what is likely a final visit of the season, tonight at 9:05pm. A single gray whale fed at the shoreline at the bottom of our yard. Since we are moving just one block down the street and will still have a water view, we do expect to enjoy gray whale visits here in Langley .
Sharen Heath, LANGLEY, WA
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Chris Bert onboard the SEA boat "Indigo" called to report a Gray whale in Crescent Harbor, near Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island at 6:54 pm. It was on the west side of the Harbor, heading south.
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Connie Barrett of Camano Island called to report one large Gray whale off W. Camano Island, close to shore feeding, heading north toward Utsalady at 6:07 pm.
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Our Stranding Network received a call at 4:32 pm from Lisa at Maylor Point, Oak Harbor reporting a stranded orca beaching itself off the sea plane base. From the description it was determined it was the Gray whale that has been feeding close to shore in this area over the past month. Others on the beach said it swam away toward the commissary on the sea plane base. Their descriptions were more like a gray whale.
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Riding the Clinton to Mukilteo ferry to work at around 7:15, a few friends and I were lucky enough to see a gray whale. I spotted it as it suddenly came up out of the water (closer to the Mukilteo side) and dove revealing its fluke. We didn't see it for a few minutes after that, but it came up again blowing and diving repeatedly at a leisurely pace. Seemed to be heading southward and was alone. What a way to start a day!
Margi Hartnett, Whidbey Island
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We had two separate encounters with individual Minke whales in the straits -- between Protection Island and Port Townsend, about one mile off-shore. We were fishing for halibut north of McCurdy Point, the whale seemed to be feeding (spotted roughly moving in a circle).
Brian Fleming
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Pod of 6 - 7 orcas, including 1 adult male, reported by Sandy Hayden, observed between 5:30 & 6:40 pm, off Cape Foulweather, (near Newport, OR) near the gift shop, heading SW; then from 7:17 - 7:34 pm off the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.
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Several Orcas from The AD Pod sighted yesterday (5/7) foraging and traveling along Fox Island in Resurrection Bay near Seward, Kenai Fjords National Park, around 14 miles south west of Seward, AK. 60 degrees 7 N, 149 degree 27 w. Appeared to be traveling -possibly foraging close to shore. Also a lot of Humpback activity, including a Mom and Calf as well as what we thought was some Lunge feeding.
Raven Sky, Naturalist /Customer Service, Orca Voyageur, Kenai Fjords Tours, Seward
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Mark Malleson of Victoria called to report Transient orcas T124C and CA58 (California Transient recently seen with T103) heading north up President's Channel (N of San Juan Island) between 4 - 5 pm, heading toward Parker Reef.
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1600: 2 transient killer whales heading north up President's Channel. Beam Reach students are observing with towed array and have heard some calls.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach
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At 1320 we found two transient orcas traveling northwest up San Juan Channel near Yellow Island. Both animals had nicks in their dorsal fins, but we were unable to make an ID. At 1410 we left the area and then met back up with the whale watch fleet and the orcas at 1545 on the west side of Orcas Island traveling North. The animals appeared to just be transiting and there was no evidence of feeding or resting during either encounter.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island

May 6, 2010

Here's a report if you didn't get it from someone else, as seen on Nanaimo, TV Evening news: There was a gray whale traveling about False Creek (near the city of Vancouver) on May 5 and May 6. Video was shown. May 6th a large pod - maybe about 100 - of what looked like Pacific white sided dolphins was also seen near the city of Vancouver today. Video was shown.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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At 4:10 PM, we heard the blows from a gray, feeding just offshore at Tulalip Shores. Trees obstructed our view, but we heard the blows move north towards Spee-bi-dah. Based on the timing of the blows, it seemed there was only one whale.
Vicki & Jim Mattson, Tulalip Shores
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One or two greys moving east along the Langley bluff about 12:30.
Staci McGill (via Facebook)
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I say a Grey feeding off Sandy Point in Langley this pm starting a 12.17 until 12.30, when I left. There was a whale watching boat at a respectful distance.
Olof Sander
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Nancy Zaretzke called to report 1 Gray whale feeding in Saratoga Passage off Hidden Beach, N. Greenbank at 7:20 am, heading north slowly, close to shore.
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Point No Point, Kitsap County, between the Lighthouse and Hansville Store about 8:00 pm I looked out at the rosy colored sky and there only about 30 feet or so from shore was a very, very large grey whale leisurely feeding in the shallows. I watched until it grew dark, over an hour. The grey didn't cover much ground, but moved back and forth over about a 300 yard area. Lots of spouts!!! We spotted him in the same area about 10 AM and then it moved north staying close to shore.
Janice Ceridwen, Hansville, WA.
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I just happened to pick up the binoculars again today and lucked out to find ~6 porpoise in Saratoga Passage, swimming S off Hidden Beach N. of Greenbank, at 4:42 pm. I believe they were Harbor porpoise, but they were too distant to confirm species.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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I was on the 3:50 ferry from Bainbridge and half way to Seattle there was a porpoise jumping next to the ferry boat about 4 times completely out of the water. He was alone and having fun. I have never seen this particular type of porpoise in Puget Sound. It was mottled gray and black, quite narrow, 3 feet long. It looked nothing like a Dall's Porpoise which is the one I most frequently have seen while traveling the waters of Puget Sound.
Dianne Iverson

May 5, 2010

Mariners Cove Sighting. N.E. Whidbey around 6:45PM, was on patio when I noticed some movement in the water with lots of birds nearby. Wasn't sure it was a gray, but, few minutes later came a spout. It was a couple hours after low tide and gray seemed to be somewhat lackadaisical. Ever slowly meandering N.E.; submerging itself but appeared not to be feeding much or at all. Searching or checking things out to come back to when higher tide? Along the way, gray did have enough energy to launch its entire head out of the water. At Mariners Cove marina entrance, gray turned sharp right and headed out to deeper water. Last spout/fluke seen meandering, east; towards Brown Point, at north end of Camano Island, near Stanwood.
Robert Stonefelt, Oak Harbor
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My husband, Kevin, and I are sitting here puzzling over a strange sighting he had directly south of the Lopez Ferry terminal. He watched it from 8:15am-9:15am. It was about 8 feet long, dark gray, with a thick muscular tail stock, swept back dorsal fin and distinct, short beak. For most of the time he was watching it, it was playing with or unsuccessfully trying to eat a salmon. We looked at several guides and the closest that he could come up with was a bottlenosed dolphin, which seems nearly impossible. The catch seems to be the distinct beak.
Chrissy McLean, Port Townsend
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I have a couple of photos of the grey whale as it was coming out of False Creek into English Bay, Vancouver today (about 1430). How often do we get to see a grey whale with Lighthouse Park in the background!?
Cayley Coulbourn, Marine Naturalist - Wild Whales Vancouver
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I am sure you have heard about this but a gray whale is currently hanging out in False Creek in Vancouver. News articles here and here
Frances C. Robertson, PhD Candidate, Marine Mammal Research Unit, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia
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According to a CKNW newsflash a Gray has been sighted in False Creek, which is pretty much right downtown Vancouver by Granville Island, between the 2 Bridges there, the Burrard and Granville St Bridge. Let's hope its ok because the last time one got into this area, it beached and died.
Ellen Hartlmeier (via Facebook)
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Grey whale sighted in False Creek, Vancouver at around 14:00. It went up to Science World, and then headed back out accompanied my canoers, and whale watching boats.
Sarah Marjoram (via Facebook)
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I saw a Gray whale spout in Saratoga Passage! First spout was at 10:48 am, just north of Pebble Beach, SW Camano Island. At 10:52 am I saw it spout quite a bit further to the north, so it looked like it was traveling rather than feeding.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Greenbank, Whidbey Island

May 4, 2010

We received a call around noon from Sharon Soderberg of the Point No Point resort near Sooke, B.C., reporting a dead orca calf washed up on their beach. She sent a photo to us, which shows a newborn calf, fetal folds still visible. Sharon said it was approximately 8.5' long, and the umbilical cord was still attached.
The Dept. of Fisheries Marine Mammal Stranding Network responded, and a necropsy was performed under the direction of Canada's DFO. We have had a number of Transient orcas in the area, but J pod had also been in the region just days before the stranding, so it isn't yet known who the calf belonged to. We will forward on any further information on this as it becomes available.
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2 whales (orcas) reported again in Port Angles at 1000 . No Ids yet but one of the photos from yesterday looked like T40.
Ron Bates, MMRG, Victoria BC (via Facebook)
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3 (one big one and 2 little orcas) and possibly a 4th (? - none of us were really sure but we thought so) Orca were in Port Angeles harbour again today.
Diane Forsmark, USCG Port Angeles WA
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This afternoon we encountered a Humpback Whale just south of the Chain Islets! This was the first Humpback Whale that had been sighted in the Salish Sea this year and it was very exciting as we sat and watched this large baleen whale feed. The Humpback Whale was doing large loops off Oak Bay Flats, near Victoria, whilst we sat and observed and had not moved very far when we had to finally leave and head home.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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Ron Bates of the Marine Mammal Research Group in Victoria called to report a Humpback whale sighted off Victoria - it was 1.5 miles south of Oak Bay, heading west at 3:45 pm.
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While watching a beautiful sunset rainbow at 8:15pm tonight I saw a solitary grey whale mid channel off of Langley heading up Saratoga Passage. Just now at 10:45pm I hear a solitary whale feeding in front of our house here in Langley. It is very calm and the whale is very loud. Cool. No ID since it is dark. Still feeding at 11pm and moving very slowly. All whale pits were erased by yesterday's wind and waves.
Eric Fogelin, Langley, Whidbey Island
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Glanced out at Noon just in time to see a single gray whale spout several times just south of Mabana Road (SW Camano Island). It was diving deep off the drop-off, and seemed to be heading north fairly rapidly.
Barbara Brock, Camano Island

May 3, 2010

We watched a 30-35' gray whale feeding on the east side of Tala Point (head of Hood Canal, west side) starting about 6:00 PM. It was feeding in the shallows, in water as shallow as 8 feet, 75' from shore. It fed back and forth along the shoreline for about 1/3 mile. We watched it for about 1.5 hours. It left swimming towards Admiralty Inlet once the wind started to drop.
We have lived here 20 years. Only the 4th sighting in this area. Usually they are cruising by, first evidence of feeding behavior we have seen on the beach in front of our home. Can't wait to go down at low tide to see the changes the whale caused.
David Neault
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3 (one big one and 2 little orcas) and possibly a 4th (? - none of us were really sure but we thought so) Orca were in Port Angeles harbour.
Diane Forsmark, USCG Port Angeles WA
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I saw ORCA traveling North in Sansum Narrows between 6:15 - 6:30 PM. It was stormy-rough with the North wind blowing white caps and big waves from the wild wind storm that hit the BC Coast Sunday night and blew all day Monday. Of course, the whales could dive below the rough water. It looked like there were about 5-6. One huge male with a fat dorsal fin at the base and looking like it was chopped off at the top (I was in my boat to the left of the whales). Several females? Maybe a baby? I snapped a few digital with my dinky LUMIX, just for ID, and in one photo I see 4 whales up at once. I imagine these are Transients. Do you have any idea who they are?
Tamar Griggs, Bold Bluff, SaltSpring Island, BC
(possibly T40 and friends who've been in the area - his fin is hooked over so could look chopped off - see photo above - sb)
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Ed Bowlby of the Olympic Coast Natl. Marine Sanctuary called to report two orcas (not adult males) inside the breakwater off Pt. Angeles, at the western end, 200 meters from the commercial pier, heading north at 10:10 am.
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Had a single large adult grey feeding all over Elger Bay (SW Camano Island) this morning in both deep and shallow areas. I noticed it about 8:00 AM, and it moved on about 9:00. Looked to be 30-40 feet in length.
Peter DeLuca, Camano Island

May 2, 2010

I heard from Ivan of the Western Prince that Island Commuter said they saw J Pod in Rosario Strait, at Tide Pt. (Cypress Island) heading south at about 5:30 pm.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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We watched four to five transient orcas traveling slowly and surfacing regularly every few minutes in Chancellor Channel of D'Arcy Point in BC (Haro Strait) from 11-11:30am. One male, the others females or juvenile males.
Shannon Bailey, MV Catalyst, Pacific Catalyst II Inc
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Spotted one gray whale across from Bells Beach on the Camano Island side of Saratoga Passage about 11:30am.
Rick & Kathy Lessley

May 1, 2010

Western Prince joined up with J Pod at approximately 1:20 p.m. They were headed south in Rosario Strait. We were able to parallel J-14, and J-30 and the rest of the sub pod for about an hour! It was absolutely spectacular to be back on the water with the Southern Residents today! They were mostly traveling, but there was an occasional stop for foraging and a few tail slaps. I did see a few breaches in the distance, likely from other J Pod whales. We left them about 2:45 p.m. as they were headed around the south tip of Lopez Island.
Nan Simpson - Western Prince Cruises Friday Harbor
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Deception Pass Tour saw J Pod about 1 mile off Deception Island heading west at 2:23pm. They are spread out all the way across Rosario Strait.
Terica Taylor,Deception Pass Tours
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We were with J pod off of Iceberg Point, moving west very slowly fighting the flood (incoming) tide. I felt great to be watching a group of whales I have been with for 23 year. I could almost read their thoughts and motives for what they were doing. There was a three to four foot chop. The whales would break through the crest of a wave and plow through the next.
Tom Averna, Deer Harbor Charters, Orcas Island (via Facebook)
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Five Transient Killer Whales were spotted off of Sooke Harbour this morning! By the time Brett and I got out on our 2:30 trip, the five Transients were well into Haro Strait headed for San Juan Island. Our encounter with Captain Hook (T-40) and four other females started at 4:15 pm, just over half a mile to the Northeast of Kelp Reef. The five Transients were grouped together doing long dives as they swam to the North. For approximately 20 minutes, we paralleled these animals from quite a distance when all of a sudden, T-40 and company did a 180 degree turn and increased their speed! Within minutes, we noticed a large Steller Sea Lion was thrashing around in between the five whales. For the next hour we watched the five Transients batter and ram the Steller Sea Lion into oblivion. During the course of our stay, we saw many high speed lunges, breaches, dolphin leaps and tail lobs. Captain Hook seemed to stay on the outskirts while the four females did most of the work on the Sea Lion. (Very similar to how a pride of Lions work !!) Our encounter with the whales ended just after 5:20 pm at which point the Steller Sea Lion was still alive but badly beaten up.
Jeff Lamarche, Eagle Wing Tours
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I went out with Maya's Westside Charters toward the south end of San Juan Island to hopefully meet J Pod, who was traveling down Rosario Strait. On our way we got word that 5 transients were closer to our location, so we changed course and headed for them. T40 and who appeared to be 3 females and an juvenile, (just confirmed by Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research as T071, T071A, T071B and T071C) were beginning to head north up Haro Strait, zigzagging their way back and forth across the strait as they continued north. Their dives were approximately 5+ minutes in length. Then they changed direction back to the south and with the next surfacing we could tell they had found some prey, a Steller sea lion- blog post from that encounter: 'Capt Hook is in Town!'
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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We heard a report this morning that 5 Orcas had been seen near Sooke heading East at around 8.30am. Despite a thorough search of the area in cooperation with another boat, we were unable to find the Orcas. However, as we headed out in the afternoon we reminded all the boats heading out to be on the lookout for these Transients and sure enough they were spotted near Discovery Island, just off Seabird Point! As we arrived on scene we immediately identified Cpt. Hook (T40), along with four females. We followed the Orcas as they crisscrossed up Haro Strait, obviously in hunting mode. In fact near the end of our trip we did see them make a kill! The Orcas were a little South East of Kelp Reef when we left them.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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As we head south I find out that there are Transient Orcas over near Victoria headed our way. Much closer than the Js so we head over there. We find T40, "Capt. Hook" and family heading lazily north, zigzagging back and forth, looking for prey. As they get close to Kelp Reef, the water explodes and we know that they are after a sea lion. This continues for over an hour and a half. Right after we left, they killed it and ate it.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Charters, San Juan Island (via Facebook)
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I saw whale spouts in the water off of Pt. No Point WA--between the Point and Hansville this afternoon. I saw at least 3 or 4 spouts and the back of one whale (probably a gray) between 4:40 and 6 P.M. We have seen almost daily evidence of whales in this same area off and on since earlier this week.
Judy Roupe, Hansville
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April 27 - May 1 - Thought I'd better follow up on the sightings around Point No Point and Hansville WA. Last Tuesday, April 27th, then yesterday, April 30th and today, May 1st a lone gray whale has been feeding up and down Skunk Bay about 2 miles north of the Hansville store (N. Kitsap Peninsula). It's been showing up around 8:30 and working the sandy part of the shore beyond the rocks while the tide is going out. I'd say at times it's no more than 30 or 40 feet offshore. The whale looks to be about 30 feet in length. It seems to be very slowly feeding his way north to the end of skunk bay, then turns and heads back south along the shoreline. It'll spout once or twice then turn on its side and do circles exposing its fins and tail(?). This all occurs over about 4 to 5 hours. I'll attach some shots I took from our place about midway low bank in Skunk Bay.
Peggy Dow, Hansville, WA

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