May 2011 Whale Sightings

May 31, 2011

Sean Minor called Orca Network with two reports. On May 31 he saw 3 orcas about 2 miles south of the jetty at Newport OR, including one male.
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The Transients showed up again at the north end of Haro Strait. They were traveling south when we were with them at 2pm. We had T87 with his distinct notch out of the trailing edge of his dorsal fin and a sweet little baby T090C.
Marie 'Orca-Magic', Prince of Whales, Victoria B.C.
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Following up on a sighting of 1 whale in Active Pass, we located 5 transient orcas southbound in Swanson Channel at approximately 1230 . The group was ID'ed as T87, T124A1, and the 3 T90's. The group was traveling slowly, against the inbound tide, and were possibly resting. We left them at 1330, still traveling generally south.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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5:45 pm - A radio call from the ferry, Powell River Queen, to Aaron of Campbell River Whale Watching gave a heads up of a Humpback Whale mid-channel between April Point and Painter's Lodge. The whale was headed Northward.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC
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I had 2 harbour porpoise by Elk Bay at 415 pm. Other than that just the Lags (short for Lagenhorynchus obliquidens the Latin name for Pacific White Sided Dolphins - SM). And 150 sea lions at Mitlenatch and a few were Californians. Cheers. Garry (Aaron counted around a dozen California Sea Lions - when you have that many, it's a bunch - SM)
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC
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2:45 pm: During one of my scans I spotted 5 or 6 Dalls Porpoises looking like they were foraging just off Westview, Powell River heading towards the mill area. About an hour or two later saw what I believe were the same Dalls off the N. end of Texada slowly heading into Georgia Strait.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC
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2:15 pm: Call came in from Garry, Aboriginal Journeys about Approx. 20 or so Pacific White Sided Dolphins at the N. end of Mitlenatch Island. They were slowly zig zagging in a foraging / feeding pattern.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC
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11 am: First overheard on the radio from unknown sources that there were very playful Dalls Porpoises just by Hole in the Wall. A little later, heard Fog Horn Jeff, Painter's Lodge saying that there was a large group of Dalls that were there and putting on a lovely show.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC
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I was out of state until last evening, but received the below message regarding Orcas off of Salishan Spit at Siletz Bay, Oregon. Michael Mefford is a great observer so you can trust his observations. He lives on the spit. Roy W. Lowe, Project Leader, Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex
18:30-21:00: 15 Orcas. I located the focus: orcas. A mix of a at least one adult male, females, immatures, and pez-dispenser size youngsters. They appeared to have seals so rounded. Observed frenzy and seal tail, but no red. They drifted northeast towards me until they were right off shore just beyond the first wave. Any closer and they would have beached. Close enough to see the white over the eye and the black swirl into the white at the anus. Observed three seals in same field of view safely inside the first wave. Observed breaching to side and to back, arching out of water, and leaping. There seemed to be sub groups according to age and may have been a second pod that left when I originally estimated 30. Lot's of behavior that I did not understand. They filled the exact same field of view for an hour before drifting back SW towards where that pilot first picked them up. Two hour long front seat sunset show.
Michael Mefford
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Late report by text message from Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching that Aaron N. had Orca by Sonora Lodge around 8:25 pm. No direction - No numbers.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of B.C., Powell River, BC
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We saw two minkes at Salmon Bank. They were quite spread out and didn't seem to be heading in any particular direction.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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Off in the distance, we spotted five vessels off Saltspring Island, Canada. They appeared to be observing some transient killer whales. As our boat--the Sea Lion--got closer, we were able to identify a large male orca with a hooked or oddly notched dorsal fin. He was later identified as T87. Other vessels identified his companions as "the T90s," which would be T90 and a calf from 2005, T90B. We did notice a calf with the group of five and thought that because of its small size it may be a calf younger than T90B. The pod continued to zigzag around the boats and, at times, under the boats appearing on the other side of us after four to five minute down times.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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We stumbled on Transient orcas today to the south of Saltspring Island and then followed them into the Saanich Inlet, just off of Piers Island. They were somewhat elusive and kept all the boats guessing.
Bill Freedman

May 30, 2011

Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research encountered T20 and T21 off Discovery Island B.C. The whales were traveling slowly and heading south west. The encounter ended a mile east of Discovery Island.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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Transient orcas T20 and T21 spotted at Discovery Island at about 1:30pm. There were two groups of porpoises milling around within 300 yards of the two transients, but no interest in an afternoon snack was displayed.
Tasli Shaw
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We found our whales right where they were supposed to be: still off Discovery Island. These orcas were in a pod of two and with the help of another whale watching vessel, they were identified at the transients T20 and T21. T20 is a large male and T21 is a fairly large female, both estimated to be in their forties and known to travel together. After twenty minutes of watching them zigzag with long down times, we got word of another species of whale in the area: a gray whale.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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5:30 pm: The 5 Transient Orca had just made a Dalls Porpoise kill by Frederick Arm, by Raza Island, B.C.
Aaron, Eagle Master, out of Sonora Lodge
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11:15 am: 5 Orca spotted by Subtle Islands near Whaletown, Cortez Island heading North towards Channel Islands - back and forth changing directions. First reported by Jeff, Fog Horn, running a tour out of Painter's Lodge. It wasn't long after that Garry, Aboriginal Journeys picked the Transients up heading towards Coulter Bay. Garry was with them for quite a while with his tour as they tail slapped, breached and took a seal or Sea Lion. The Orca slowly worked their way up to Raza Island and were still heading in a Northerly direction at 4 pm when Garry left them. See the rest of the evening report above.
submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
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On Maya's Westside Charters at 2:00 p.m. we observed T20 and T21 less than a mile off Discovery Island. T20 and T21 had been in the same area since being spotted at about noon. I learned late in the day that a few visitors to Lime Kiln Pt. State Park had seen two whales passing by Lime Kiln at about 10:00 a.m. That could not be confirmed, however, the locations and the time would make it possible that they may have seen T20 and T21. After leaving T20 and T21 we traveled toward Zero Rock to see a gray whale that another boat had come across. The gray whale was heading south toward Discovery Island.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island, WA
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Glassy calm, south Haro Strait at 1400-1500hours, 1 mile SE of Seabird/Discovery Island, Transient orcas T87 and T88 meandering at 4knots. He has a new scar line on his right side near top of fin where the cut out is ; still pink and ragged.
Deb Martyn,naturalist for Orcas Eclipse Charter/Orcas Express
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About 6 PM this evening, with the tide way in, a single gray whale was feeding close along the Mabana shore (SW Camano Island), heading south.
Barbara Brock, Camano Island, WA
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After leaving T20 and T21 (see above report) we traveled toward Zero Rock to see a gray whale that another boat had come across. The gray whale was heading south toward Discovery Island.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island, WA
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Just north of the Transients (Discovery Island) 5 miles (see above report), a small juvie gray whale coming south at 3 knots 1550 hours/HaroStrait/ D'Arcy Island heading southward.
Deb Martyn,naturalist for Orcas Eclipse Charter/Orcas Express
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Five miles to the north (of Discovery Island), we saw a larger bushier blow (whale breath!) and eventually we saw the gray whale that belonged to that blow.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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6 pm received a call from Steve G., my eagle eye neighbour, that he spotted some Pacific White Sided Dolphins between Texada and Powell River. There were between 20 to 30 of them performing some of their noteworthy leaps as they zig zagged in a foraging / feeding pattern slowly working their way North-West. Around 7:30 pm I lost them as they changed direction, yet again, and blended into the shadows close to Harwood Island shoreline. I picked them up again, as noted above, slowly heading into Georgia Strait between Rebecca Rock and Harwood Island. It's now 8:30 pm and can no longer spot them.
Steve G, submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
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5 pm: A number of Dalls Porpoises were putting on quite a show at the top of Raza Island.
submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
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We were on the Edmonds/Kingston ferry around 5 p.m. and saw a large group of what I am assuming were Dalls Porpoises to the North (or possibly Harbor porpoise? - see last report below). Could only see their dorsal fins (short and dark in color). Seemed to be moving fairly quickly and like I said, there seemed to be quite a few of them. Yay!
Andrea Tellinghuisen
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10 am: Around 10 playful Dalls Porpoises were bow and wake riding with Jeff, Painter's Lodge by Chatham Point at the entrance to Johnstone Strait.
submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
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We saw Transient orcas T20 and T21 off Discovery Island on Monday. As noted by an earlier report, there were a lot of porpoises in the Ts' immediate vicinity, but they didn't show any interest the porpoises that we could see. They were moving at a much more leisurely pace than when we saw them in Swanson Channel on May 24.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III, Seattle, WA

May 29, 2011

Center for Whale Research staff Dave Ellifrit, Erin Heydenreich, Mercedes Powell, Kira Kranzler encountered L's heading south in northern Swanson Channel at 5:35 p.m. (48 43.710 N; 123 17.380 W). There were several groups fairly spread out and porpoising. We tried to keep up with them until we reached Henry Island, but they never slowed down. There appears to be a new calf traveling with L55 . This is a different calf from the one observed on Dec. 6th seen traveling with L5 (L117). We are tentatively calling the newest calf L118 and will confirm the number of new calves once we have had a more conclusive L pod encounter. The groups we encountered were the L4s, L26s, L43s, L47s, and L53. The encounter ended just off Henry Island at 6:56 p.m. (48 35.60 N; 123 12.23 W) with the whales still spread out and traveling fast south.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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Out into the shipping lane known as Haro Strait off the northwest side of San Juan Island, we discovered about eleven animals identified as part of the resident group L-pod! These animals were traveling south at a quick clip and as we watched them, we glanced several fins with one belonging to a small calf.
Serena, Naturalist , San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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Watched the Greater L37's speed by the Center for Whale Research (NW San Juan Island) this evening. The water (rough) and lighting (backlit) reminded me of glory passbys of yesteryear but it was kind of weird to think that L92 is the big bull of that group. I saw L47, L82, and presumably their associated juveniles from the CWR. All but positive ID's on L53 and L83 but the water was pretty lumpy and the whales were backlit.
Adam U, San Juan Island, WA
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~8:30 pm: L pod, traveling very fast in at least 3 groups, very spread out mostly in the shipping lanes (off west San Juan Island). Water rough due to winds, swells 2'+ making it impossible to spot and count. They were "porpoising, " at times quite high to keep above the waves, giving us only quick glimpses.
Cindy Wesch, San Juan Island, WA
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~7:30 pm: Calls on OrcaSound hydrophone! ~8:30 pm: Loud and clear echolocation and calls on Lime Kiln now.
Gayle Swigart, Olympia, WA
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Capt. Jim Maya called to report being with a large number of Ls today, ~20. At 7:30 pm they were off San Juan county park heading south toward Lime Kiln Pt. He said they porpoised fast all the way from Mouat Pt. to Open Bay, like they were rushing to meet someone, and being pretty frisky.
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Hearing calls now softly at 7:25 pm Pacific at Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo, FL
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~7:05 pm: L pod approaching Mitchell Bay on the west side of San Juan Island, quite some distance from shore. Rough seas out there - hard to spot them.
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island, WA
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L27, L47, and L53 were the only ones I could ID for sure from Lime Kiln.
Monika Wieland
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It was the first sighting of L Pod since November, and they were on fire. Fifteen miles of porpoising and breeching. From N. Pender Island to Open Bay.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island, WA
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From Dave Ellifrit by way of Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research, that Dave was with the L25 subgroup from the south end of Swanson Channel to Kellett Bluff late today as the whales raced down from the north.
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L Pod had been heard up at OrcaLab. As the day progressed, we heard very interesting reports of the whales going through Porlier Pass, and then down Trincomali Channel! Our wait was short as the whales decided to show an impressive burst of speed and were speed swimming for over an hour! They were making on average 7-9 knots, which is easily double what their normal traveling pace would be. But they weren't about to do the "normal" resident travel pattern. Captain's Passage became a cut through for the whales, and then just for fun they decided to cut between two small islands at the bottom of the Passage before entering Swanson Channel. And that's when the fireworks really began! Dozens of spyhops, breaches, single and double tail lobs, upside down swimming ...you name it, they probably did it! It was so exciting to see residents again, and they must have had full bellies to keep up such a blistering pace all while doing so much surface activity.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Explorer
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On Maya's Westside Charters at 1:30 we headed up to Trincomali Channel to meet the L pod whales who were heading our way. During this encounter I was able to get pictures of L26, L90, L92, L53, L72, L105, L95, L47, L83, L90, L110, L115, L27, L55, L82, L103, L109, L86, L106, L112 and a couple additional babies. We returned for a late afternoon trip and found the whales to be porpoising their way down Swanson Channel, past Turn Pt. and on. They passed by Lime Kiln lighthouse at 7:40 pm spread across and continued on down/out direction.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island, WA
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We spent a short time with Lpod in Porlier Pass between Galiano and Valdes Islands. There were at least a dozen in the group. The only one I could positively identify was L92 Crewser, but I'm pretty sure L82 Kasatka was among them as well. The light was behind them, so it was hard to see saddle patches even in passenger photos. They were traveling in a tight group when we first saw them, then spread out a little bit, and one of them spyhopped twice.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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Following a report of 5 orca on the east side of Valdez Island we were pleasantly surprised to locate approximately 15 members of L pod resting their way southeast. As they approached Porlier Pass, the group spread out and got very active, with numerous spyhops, some breaches, tail slaps and males swimming on their backs with their pectoral flippers in the air and flukes slapping on the water. The big surprise was observing this group swimming west-bound through Porlier pass against a flood tide. Many of the whales porpoised their way through the pass, which looked like running the rapids, and once in the calm waters of Trincomali Channel, they regrouped and appeared to resume resting. Positive ID's were made of L26 Baba, L92 Crewser, L72 Racer, L105 Fluke, L95 Nigel, and L47 Marina with a calf by her side!! We also observed a younger calf, but could not ID the female it was with. There were more L's present, but these where the only ones I was able to confirm ID's for. Perfect day on the water! Happy to see some residents back in town.
Joan Lopez,Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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Saw L pod members this afternoon just off Galiano island. They headed through Trincomali Channel. L92/Crewser and his grandma L26/Baba were there with at least 6 others, including two calves (L112/Sooke?). They did a bout of spyhopping and and breaching before heading off at a quick pace (porpoising) south down Trincomali.
Tasli Shaw, Galiano Island, B.C.
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4:30 pm overheard a report of Orca by Francisco Point, by Campbell River heading South. Both AJ and Jack found them shortly after the report. Jack identified T20, T21 pluse 3 others including a young calf for a total count of 5 Transient Orca. He left them crossing Whidbey Shoals headed North around 5:45 pm.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
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At 13:45 there was a single average sized Grey whale in Saanich Inlet BC traveling north. A more precise location would be about half way between Goldstream Park and Bushart Gardens. I observed about 8 surfacings.
Vincenz Eberl

May 28, 2011

A group of 5 transient orca were located at approximately noon on the east side of Galiano Island, heading northwest. The group was later ID'ed as the T124A group and T124C. There appeared to be a calf that was approximately 1- 2 years of age. They were in a steady travel mode during our encounter, with some social interaction observed between the two youngest as they travelled.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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Transient orcas the T19s yesterday near East Point, Santurna, Is. BC.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island, WA
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1:30 pm: 12 Orca including 2 very new looking calves were slowly working their way South by Elk Bay just around Seymour Narrows. Although they were quiet, with open saddle patches they were identified as Southern Resident Orca possibly from L Pod - but who? They stayed nicely grouped, with a lovely spy hop or two as they very slowly got down by Painters Lodge around 5 pm.
from both Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching and Garry, Aboriginal Journeys submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
(from photos forwarded by Susan, I was able to tentatively ID L26, L53, L86, L92, and L105 - sb)
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We wanted to let you know we had L-pod pass through here late last night! They went South in Blackney Pass BC around 0130 and vocalized as they headed into Johnstone Strait. They vocalized for a few hours in Robson Bight before they headed east in Johnstone Strait around 0345. Their vocals were very interesting to listen to! We sent a few clips to John Ford and he confirmed that it was L-pod. So they might be heading down your way!! (you can listen in to OrcaLab's hydrophones at Orca Live). Then at 5:13 pm: They were amazing to listen to this morning...what a wonderful way to wake-up!!! Sounds like they might be going past Campbell River right about now. Have a wonderful day!
Marie and Leah and the Orcalab Crew, Hanson Island, B.C.
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Aboard the Mystic Sea we viewed 5 Transients just Northwest of Patos Island in International waters, killing several Stellers. In a heavy tide rip they cartwheeled, tail-slapped and lunged over and over, to down two large Stellers. The action lasted over an hour and they were after yet another when we had to return to Anacortes. Powerfully exciting.
Caroline Spehar, SSAMIN Naturalist, Mystic Sea, Anacortes, WA
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Awesome day along the Galiano shoreline today! 5 Transients rolling and playing for the whole hour we were there. I wasn't able to ID them yet, I don't think I have seen that group before so if anyone knows who they are, let me know. The large female in the first picture has an interesting saddle patch for a T, seems to have a faint black stripe in it.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
Jeanne Hyde ID'd the Transient in Gary Sutton's photo, taken along the Galiano shoreline, as T124A.
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After an hour of solid travel, we edged up to East point off Saturna Island BC. And there they were: a pod of transient orcas! As we approached the area, we heard through the vessel radio grapevine that the pod may have made a recent Steller sea lion kill. When we got to the scene, the whales were zig-zagging and milling about; no obvious foraging activity was seen. While observing the pod, we noticed a very large adult male dorsal fin that had significant lean to the left and was very curved for a male. The other individuals in the pod appeared to be females and juveniles. Later, another vessel identified one of the orcas as T18. After ten minutes or so, the pod started traveling faster towards the south, moving more erratically and then thrashing about. The hunt was on! And it looked like another Steller sea lion was the target. We saw the pod of four orcas thrashing about, throwing their bloody red tasty morsel in the air. At one point, it looked like the sea lion had gotten away and it made some headway with about forty feet of distance from the whales. But then the transients caught up to their meal and continued thrashing and tossing it around. Eventually, the male and a second orca split off from the other two, leaving the latter to contend with the sea lion.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA

May 27, 2011

A good looking Minke whale was observed at Hein Bank. I forwarded it to the Minke guru in San Francisco, and apparently it has a name ' Nick Jagger ' according to Jonathan Stern. It appears to be a familiar whale for this area.
Marie, Orca-Magic. ' Prince of Whales ', Victoria, B.C.
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At 6 pm around 12 Orca were Northbound by Campbell River towards Seymour Narrows.
from Garry, Aboriginal Journeys from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC
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We started to see vessels off the east side of Saturna Island. Not far from those vessels were five black dorsal fins belonging to five transient orca whales! As we observed this pod, we noticed that all of the dorsal fins were crescent-moon shaped, each belonging either a female or a juvenile (male or female) and one of these dorsal fins belonged to a very small orca: a baby. Upon our first approach, we noticed several gulls circling overhead. Had the pod just taken a harbor seal or Steller sea lion with the gulls scavenging for scraps? We were still not certain. The transient group began heading south and then north and then random circles, moving rapidly at first and then slowly. The calf began acting up somewhat with fluke up dives, head stands and a semi-spy hop with its head clearing the water. As we ran out of time, the pod was still milling about and Bald Eagles were circling overhead. The pod was identified by another vessel as the T100s.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA

May 26, 2011

Dave Ellifrit, Erin Heydenreich, Mercedes Powell, and Kira Kranzler of the Center for Whale Research departed Snug Harbor at 3:30 p.m., with reports of transients heading north near Kelp Reef. We encountered the group of five transients traveling north at 3:44 pm, about 1.5 miles north of Kelp Reef (48 31.45 N; 123 13.33 W). The whales consisted of T26, T26A, T10, T10B and T10C. We followed the whales for several hours while they slowly traveled north up Haro Strait. During most of their travel they were very spread out. At 6:55 p.m. we ended our encounter and began our trip back to Snug Harbor, only to be called back to the scene a few minutes later because the transients were hunting a porpoise. We arrived back at the scene just as the hunt was concluded, with the whales appearing to have made a successful kill. We departed for a second time at 7:20 p.m., leaving the whales milling around their suspected kill, three quarters of a mile east of Morseby Island (48 42.80 N; 123 16.02 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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The T10's were first spotted a couple of miles south of Constance Bank in the morning and moved through Oak Bay and then up Haro Strait. During our evening trip we caught up.
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching, Victoria, B.C.
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We headed north with reports of Orca up near Pender Island. By the time we were on the water about 30 minutes the next report came in that the whales were moving steadily north towards active pass. We were committed to finding Orca for our passengers so we continued on. As we reached active pass we slowed and tucked on the side as the big BC ferry came through. While we waited for it to pass we were able to spot an eagle perched at the top of the highest tree. We came around the corner and entered the pass and were lucky enough to spot the whales. There were five transients cruising north. After a few good looks we recognized a calf in the mix along with the big male T87.
Mike - Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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T87 with 4 others (I think they were T88's but not sure) in Swanson Channel heading north. Mostly just traveling but we had one chasing something briefly.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver, Vancouver, BC
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With some very scenic backdrops the T10's were doing what Transients do best, celebrating after a kill. Although we didn't see the hapless prey animal dispatched below the surface , we certainly saw the clean up gulls fly in as well as the behaviour of the Transients changed. They started to celebrate with tail lobs as they slowly traversed the shoreline of Chatham and Discovery Islands. We had first encountered the four T's at Oak Bay Flats around 1pm.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic, 'Prince of Whales '.
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We spent a great day on the water with Island Adventures, and saw a group of Transients up near Chatham Island. We were told they were T26, T26A, T10, T10B and T10C. They appeared to be feeding close to shore for a bit...going in circles and splashing, with lots of tail flaps and a spy hop....fantastic! Then they headed up North toward Haro Strait.
Sue & Marty McDaniel, The Blue Goose Inn, Coupeville, WA
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This gray was feeding at Kayak Point last evening.
Gary Lingenfelter, Snohomish Co, WA
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Kymberlie Devlin reports seeing three gray whales in Saratoga Passage, close to shore near Kayak Point, between Everett and Port Susan, at 11:30.

May 25, 2011

During our May survey of OR/WA waters for juvenile salmon, I observed a pod of 6-10 killer whales near our trawling station 19 miles off the Queets River, WA (QR19). The location was N 47.532, W -124.806. There were definitely two adult males with very tall dorsals, a few large females/subadults and some smaller animals.
Beth Phillips, NOAA Fisheries, NWFSC, Pt. Adams Research Station, Hammond, OR
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As we left the dock, we had a report of 5-6 orcas up near Gabriola Island BC. We got another 2nd hand report of whales "somewhere between Active Pass and Pt. Roberts." Still a lot of area, but smaller than before. So we headed towards Eastpoint to view the Steller Sea Lions, and had just made the corner when we stumbled upon T18 and T19, T19B, and T19C. As they passed offshore of Boiling Reef, T19B went into overdrive and started rooster-tailing a huge spray off his dorsal fin. Hunting!!!! 5-6 high speed zig zags and it was over, and the group had a nice little snack on a small harbor porpoise. After lunch, the whales seemed to be a bit more sedate and continued around the point and headed for Skipjack. We heard on the VHF that a large group of approximately 20 Transients (I think the T100s and T102s were a part of that group) were quite aways behind us heading for Alden Bank. AND another group were up near the Bellchain Islands. At last count, this meant we had about 28 Transients in the Strait of Georgia!
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor, WA
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On Maya's Westside Charters in the afternoon we headed up Boundary Pass toward East Pt. where transients had been spotted. The 1st group we encountered were 4 whales, which included T19B (I could see three other whales with him & am assuming his constant companions T18, T19 and T19C, but I didn't get pictures of them for proof of presence.) We left them and headed toward Alden Bank. Just north of Sucia Island we encountered a 2nd group: T124C, T124A, T124A2, T124A3 and T124A4. We continued on and encountered a 3rd group: T100, T100B, T100B1, T100C, T100E, T101, T101A, T101B, T102, T124, T124D, T124E, T124A1, T36, T36B,and T36B1. They changed direction and the 2nd group and the 3rd group joined up heading back in the direction of Pt. Roberts. On our way home, traveling through Boundary Pass we encountered a 4th group: T137, T137A and T137B. A grand total of 28 killer whales.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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We saw 27 Transient Orcas, an amazing number, on our afternoon trip into Boundary Pass and the Strait of Georgia.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside charters, San Juan Island, WA
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We motored up President's channel and out into Boundary Pass. East Point came into view along with a giant dorsal fin. We waited in the mist and 3 more whales came into view. It was looking as though we had encountered a pod of Transient Orcas. They were heading south so we turned around and headed south as well. They were moving in a fairly straight line when suddenly they stopped, turned and started rolling and diving. It looked as though a hunt had begun. We couldn't see much from the surface but a minute later the gulls moved in and swept the surface in search of scraps.
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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On Maya's Westside Charters in the morning we encountered a gray whale north or Pollier Pass, close to shore along Gabriola Island, heading northwest.
Jeanne Hyde and Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's West Side Charters, San Juan Island, WA
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The Ocean Magic 12.15 trip settled for an elusive Minke off Hein Bank accompanied by a couple of harbour seals in tow. It was behaving just like a Minke with long dives and two to three breaths at the surface. Pic (see photo below) is heavily cropped to show the seals.
Marie 'Orca-Magic' Prince of Whales. Victoria BC.
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The Minke we saw at Hein Bank were very, very special. They are a Cow and calf (small enough to still appear to be dependent) on its mom. I understand the Adult has been a regular at Hein Bank formally called "Johnny Rotten. BUT She has been re-named Christy Hynde-Bank and her calf. First photographed on May 20th by Prince of Whales and renamed by Jon Stern of the NE Pacific Minke Whale Project. I'm sure we will be able to view this pair all season. They are hard to spot. The female is shy with the calf and has erratic feeding patterns. She is all over the place every time she dives. She dives long and deep and she blows light, hard to spot. The (blow) is almost invisible in a gray sea.
Caroline Spehar, Mystic Sea, SSAMIN Naturalist

May 24, 2011

Following up a rumour of orcas near Active Pass, we located T20 and T21 in the pass, near Miners Bay. The pair were traveling west through the pass, and then south in Swanson Channel. They were traveling slowly, with only about 3 breaths per surfacing, possibly resting. They passed by numerous harbour seals near Helen Point, and even one Steller sea lion without making any attempts at foraging. We left the T's southbound in Swanson Channel at the bottom of Mayne Island.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch, Vancouver, B.C.
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A scattered pod, observed from the 7pm ferry from Tsawwassen enroute to Swartz Bay, B.C. We were 10 mins southwest of the west entrance to Active Pass at about 8pm. It looks like they were headed into Active Pass. They were moving at a decent pace, with at least one adult female and a youngish (year) one. There were approx 7 visible at one point. I saw a couple tail lobs and one partial breach in the distance.
Paul C.

May 23, 2011

We were out with the transients heading west just south of Victoria. At one point we clocked them swimming at almost 9kts. I didn't have transient ID photos with me but heard one of the other boats say it was the T10s.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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10 am: The 8 to 10 Transient Orca were slowly working their way between Powell River and Texada Island BC - still on a slow roll Southward. So, headed out with neighbour Steve G. to locate them. They did a number of long dives and continued their slow travel Southward in a zig zag pattern. We stayed with them until we were almost across from Smuggler Cove, just above Secret Cove - a long way down from Powell River, and even longer for Jen from Campbell River Whale Watching who arrived on scene with a tour around 2:30 pm. Jen left them around 3:45 pm spread out and still working their way towards the Southern end of Texada.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC
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8:15 am: Around 10 Orca spotted by Harwood Island across from Powell River traveling in a Southerly, then Westerly direction.
From Steve G, submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC
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Around 10:00am, a single gray whale was heading north, leisurely feeding just off Tulalip Shores. Then about 5:00 pm the whale seemed to return, heading south, again leisurely feeding along the shore. Picnic at Spee-be-dah?
Jim and Vicki Mattson, Tulalip Shores, WA

May 22, 2011

We met up with 7 northbound transient orcas in Trincomali Channel, at the south end of Wallace Island. Every orca encounter is magical, but the beautiful natural setting made this one even more memorable. Positive ID's were determined for T101, T101A, T102, T23, T23C and T23D. A very spunky calf that appeared to be about 1 year of age was swimming mostly with T23C, however, was also seen with T23 and with T102. The calf was showing off it's breaching, spyhopping and rolling skills. We even saw some spyhops from T102 or T101A - can't tell them apart from their headshots. As the group approached Porlier Pass, they hunted and ate at least two seals that they trapped along the steep walls of Galiano Island. The entire group then moved through Porlier Pass into Georgia Strait, and were last seen northbound along Valdez Island at approximately 1:45 pm.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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I confirmed that it was T20 and T21 we saw in Swanson Channel between Village Bay and Navy Channel. We left them before we could see if they were continuing down Swanson or turning into Navy.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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Photo taken from more or less the same place as the grays were taken a couple of weeks or so ago (few miles south of Big Sur CA from Highway 1), one mother and calf humpback swam by - further out to sea, so not as good "into the water" shots, but forwarded on regardless.
Tim Huntington, California
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9 pm: 2 Orca were seen in the Surge Narrows area (Beazely Pass). No direction. Passed on from Jack, Campbell River BC Whale Watching, submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC
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A group of 4 Transients that were just moving past Eagle Point, San Juan Island! No one knew they were there. Soon though they were heading out southwest towards the ODAS buoy. We were moving up the Canadian side of Haro and were almost to Gooch Island when Captain Ivan (aka Whale Whisperer) saw a large dorsal fin about 3 miles ahead of us. A glance about 1/2 mile towards Moresby Island and another small dorsal fin. Soon it was joined by another and another and another--another group of Transients and before long we were able to positively ID the whales as the T10s , along with 2 additional Transients (again, my ID powers on Transients is a bit limited so I'll send it to CWR or Jeanne Hyde for confirmation on the "extra" whales). But this group, unlike the earlier group, was in no hurry to go anywhere...and we soon discovered why. This group kept making slow, lazy direction changes, and as the sun glare cleared the water for a moment, we saw a Harbor Seal amidst the orcas. Soon however, he was dragged underwater and we didn't see him for the rest of the encounter, so we assumed lunch had been had.
John Boyd (JB) , Marine Naturalist, Western Prince , Friday Harbor, WA
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At 12:52 pm Victoria Clipper III just left 4 transients, 2 mom and calf pairs, heading west-ish at Middle Bank, Haro Strait.
Stephanie Raymond, Victoria Clipper
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On the late afternoon trip on Maya's Westside Charters we encountered T10, T10B, T10C, T26 and T26A as they traveled south in Haro Strait. We left them west of Kelp Reef traveling southwest.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island, WA
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Heading south from Friday Harbor, we had word that a potential transient pod was seen off Middle Bank and was headed further out towards the Strait of Juan De Fuca. A pod of four to five unidentified transients were on the move, surfacing for several breaths and then diving as a group for two to three minutes at a time. A small calf was seen with the pod, with 1-2 males and 2-3 females and/or juveniles.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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Out with Aboriginal Journeys watching Transient orcas T-018s, plus others. 5 animals total. 4 miles west of Savary Island in the Straight of Georgia.
Nick Templeman
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All day long, the same group of Transient Orca which included T019B T018 and T023 were almost down to Powell River. The closest they got was around Grant's Reef, just South of Sentry Shoal. This morning the Whale Watching boats caught up with them just inside Discovery Channel by Cape Mudge. So they didn't go very far. They did take a couple of Sea Lions close to Mittlenatch Island.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC
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7 am: first report of around 10 Orca by Sentry Shoal thought to be headed Southward. 9 am: Discovery Channel by Duncan Bay 5 Orca were reported. 7 Orca reported Southbound close to Cape Mudge around the same time. These reports from Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching, Jeff "FogHorn" (I believe he's in one of the Oak Bay Hurricane boats), and Garry, Aboriginal Journeys. Jeff picked 5 of them up by the can buoy off Mudge at 9:30 am slowly heading towards Mittlenatch Island down the Strait. By the time Aaron got out, they were closer to Hernando Island at 11:30 am where they were splashing and being quite active. They continued their very slow movement Southward. 2:20 pm the count was 6 Transients between Mittlenatch and Sentry Shoal slowly aiming towards Rebecca Rocks, just off Powell River. They seemed to stay in that general area with tail lobs, breaches and general splashes after another kill. Garry's was the last whale watching boat to leave them there.
Susan MacKay, Powell River Whales and Dolphins BC
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Faint J pod calls heard on Lime Kiln hydrophones from 23:30 on 5/21 through 01:15 on 5/22.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach, Seattle, WA

May 21, 2011

9:50 pm: Echolocation clicks, on Lime Kiln, not sure from what, but active.
Camille Rock
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Loud calls on Lime Kiln now, 8:30 pm.
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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I saw a portion of J Pod whales heading S past Lime Kiln at sunset. J19, J16, and J36 were the first whales to pass by, followed by J8, J2, the J14s, and J26. Other whales were seen heading S farther offshore.
Adam U
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Orca calls and echo location clicks heard at 7:14 on the Orca Sound hydrophone.
Pamela Smith, Florida
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones at 8:11 pm. Nice calls at Lime Kiln at 8:33 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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I hear some soft calls and echolocations on Lime Kiln hydrophones 8:06 PDT.
Suzy Roebling Key Largo FL
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J-pod on OrcaSound hydrophone at 7 pm. At 8:09 lots of echolocation on Lime Kiln hydrophone now, but only a couple calls so far.
Gayle Swigart, Olympia, WA
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Once again, J Pod blessed our island. Between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM, the Js circumnavigated San Juan Island. Only once before have I ever seen them do this.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island, WA
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J-Pod families came down Haro Strait into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, with the end of an ebbing tide, heading to Salmon Bank. We had a few glances of a Minke Whale, then we saw the Orcas at about 1pm, who seemed relaxed in the calm, slack water. A few females logging-resting at the surface, then some of the Orcas started tail- fluke slapping the water, spy hopping, breaching, and rolling around on their backs and each other! J-Pod decided to swim through Cattle Pass into San Juan Channel! We don't often see whales going through this narrow pass into this smaller channel, very exciting! Many of the whales joined up and it was great to see a group of calves, females, or the males together. Able to identify J-2 Granny with L-87 Onyx! L-87's dorsal fin is wavy like J-1 Ruffles, his dad? And Granny's grandson?! Also ID'd J-8 Spieden and the 'boys' J-26, J-27, J-30.
Caroline Armon, Naturalist, San Juan Excursions
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Beam Reach was with J pod just off Friday Harbor, moving NW up San Juan Channel at 4:14pm.
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Marie at Washington State Ferries called at 3:36 to say a ferry captain reported he was surrounded by orcas about a mile east of Turn Island, San Juan Channel.
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After cruising south, we spotted some dorsal fins off of Cattle Point, and then more dorsal fins and then even more. We had discovered a very spread out J-pod! The pod was split up into several different groups, some of which were diving for extended periods of time (several minutes), others were tail slapping and others were breaching full out of the water. We had sightings of Mike and Blackberry as well as the calf Looker and a possible sighting of Granny. We returned to watching J-pod as they continued traveling north towards and then past Friday Harbor. Returning to the harbor, we passed... J-pod again!
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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Just heard very faint calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone again (~11:15 am), j's? Also reporting calls on the OrcaSound hydrophones around the same time were Meg McDonald, Andrew Lees, and others.
Camille Rock
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Who am I hearing at Lime Kiln hydrophones now 10:38 am PDT? (J pod)
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo FL

May 20, 2011

We observed 15 killer whales feeding on a gray whale killed earlier in the day off Carmel Bay/Monterey Bay CA, whales included the CA51, 49s, CA28, N25. This was in about 1,200' of water and it appeared the carcass may have been on the bottom as the whales pulled pieces of blubber up from one particular spot the whole time; part of the intestines were incised out and were floating. In the other attack we had over a week or so ago, the carcass was floating and the whales pulled it under to feed and then it would occasionally pop back up again but the guts were intact on this one. The day before (5/19) we also saw the CA51s travelling south along canyon edge.
Nancy Black/Monterey Bay Whale Watch, Monterey, CA
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J-Pod has been in the Salish Sea for over a week! They headed north out of Puget Sound on Friday (5/20) with a strong flooding tide, into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, spread out on long dives, seeming intent on hunting salmon. About 5 miles north of Port Townsend, we watched them from about 2 to 2:45pm.
Caroline Armon, Naturalist, San Juan Excursions
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I would like to report a pod of orcas that was moving south this evening at about 7pm along the west side of San Juan Island. They were rather far out in Haro Strait but I managed to take some pictures from West Side Road, about a mile south of Lime Kiln Point State Park. Maybe you can figure out who these guys were. It seems like the whales had fun, we saw some breaches and a little bit of spyhopping (this looks like J pod).
Thomas Kleinteich
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I saw J pod at Cattle Point on the west side of San Juan Island heading north, at around 6, confirmed Ids of Blackberry, Doublestuf, Polaris and Princess Angeline.
Melisa Pinnos
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Departed at low tide and headed south through Cattle Pass. There was word of Minke's (see Minke report below) and J-pod out towards Port Townsend. On the drive out we saw lots of Gulls feeding in bait, which is a good sign for whales. J-pod was well spread out and seemed to be feeding. Gulls and Auklets swarmed the bait that was being pushed to the surface by the feeding orca. After about 20 minutes or so of feeding the birds seemed to disappear and J-pod began to move in a more steady direction towards the west side of San Juan Island. On the trip home we used some passengers photos to positively ID Riptide out of the group. As we slowly approached the area where the Orca had last been spotted a Minke whale took a breath straight off our bow! It surprised everyone. While we were still catching our breaths from the Minke encounter the passengers began seeing smaller blows all around us.
Mike - Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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The Victoria Clipper called Orca Network to report 6 - 7 orcas outbound in Admiralty Inlet at 12:52 pm, 1.5 miles west of the Sierra Alpha buoy N. of Pt. Townsend. Then we received another call from Stephanie Raymond, Clipper naturalist, saying J21 & "the cookies" were ID'd by the naturalist onboard.
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At 11 am I received a call from John and Joan T. that we had around 5 Orca out in front of Powell River, B.C. 11:30 am: Found the approximately 10 Transient (meat eating) Orca between Powell River and Harwood Island. They were doing long dives, anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes, heading Northward in a somewhat zig zag pattern. Dropped the hydrophone, but there were no vocals. Suddenly it appeared that there were between 12 to 16 whales in a couple of groups between Harwood and just south of Atrevida Reef. 3 pm: The Orca had made their way to Lund and stayed split up into 3 or 4 groups. Some were by the Savary Island dock area, some by Keefer Rock just off Hernando Island, and the main group of 8 to 10 Transient Orca were by Lund aiming towards Major Rock and Baker Pass.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, B.C.
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Got a call around 1:30pm that there was a "group" of killer whales just West of Seal and Sail Rocks, which are East of Neah Bay. There were 5 individuals seen, one with a large dorsal fin, two smaller and two medium sized whales, and they were headed West.
Adrianne Akmajian, Marine Mammal Technician, Makah Fisheries Management
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Grey whale sighting between clinton and mukilteo at 11:09 am. Closer to mukilteo moving towards hat island direction
Lauren Donnelson
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Listening to the Pt. Townsend hydrophones we began hearing some very faint whistles at about 9:30 pm or so. At first they were very distant and faint, and not very frequent. Then by 10 pm they became much louder and we were hearing more calls. They sounded more like dolphin than orca whistles or calls, but we have not yet been able to confirm what it was we were listening to. The calls continued until 10:30 or 11 pm. Thankfully Jeanne Hyde was able to record some of the calls. We thought it may have been Pacific White Sided dolphins, which we have heard once before on the PT hydrophone (and they were later sighted off Everett to confirm that hearing!), but some researchers think the calls sound more like Bottlenose dolphins. We will let you know what we hear back from other researchers - but if anyone sees any dolphins in Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound, or the San Juan Islands, or hears un-Orca-like whistles on the hydrophones, let us know!
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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1:33 pm Received a call from another regular contributor and neighbour, Steve G. of approximately 12 Pacific White Sided Dolphins at Westview, Powell River, also heading Northward. A short time later, I received another call from Steve that actually the numbers were more in the neighborhood of 60 Dolphins! This is the first time, in a long time that we've had these numbers around...wonderful, but what about the Transients who eat them? 320 pm Found the Pacific White Sided Dolphins just arriving at Dinner Rock still heading Northward to Lund. There were closer to 80 of them, slightly spread out, but leaping and wake riding. Since they were heading Northward, I did too. They wake rode all the way back to the line between the Iron Mines and Savary Island when they suddenly broke off. Did they hear the Transients, who by this time were somewhere up closer to Baker Pass and Twin Islands? Jen and Garry both came back to see the Dolphins and I again headed back towards Powell River leaving the animals with them around 4 pm. What a great day...must remember more sunscreen.
Submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC
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The Ocean Magic out of Victoria was able to locate two elusive Minke Whales at Hein Bank (Haro Strait) around 1.30pm. Certainly they were taking long dives and surfacing in different directions all the time. Quite the challenge, but it was nice to see possibly a mother and a youngster.
Marie, Orca-Magic. 'Prince of Whales'. Victoria BC
Jon Stern of the NE Pacific Minke Whale Project replied: Thanks for forwarding the minke sighting and photo...it does appear to be a mom/calf pair...it is impossible to be 100% sure as sometimes the size of the minke "changes" depending on surfacing characteristics at the time...but given the other whale as references...it sure looks smaller. and this is the time that calves are about to be weaned from their moms. Then a bit later, this announcement: We have changed Johnney Rotten's name to Chrissy Hynde-Bank...we see this whale a lot at Hein Bank off San Juan Island...I mean, since there seems to be a calf...
Jonathan Stern, Ph.D., Department of Biology, San Francisco State University


May 19, 2011

Just saw a grey whale and seal feeding in a shallow area at high tide, east of the end of Arrowhead Beach Road, Camano, from 7:45 to 8:30pm - lots of dives and blows.
Karen Boyd, Camano Island, WA
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At 6:20 pm I was flying across Everett Bay and spotted a gray whale feeding north of Hat Island and West of Everett. I could just see the whale rolled over on it's side feeding through the murky water. There were three seals (that I saw) feeding on the scraps in the mud plume that the whale left behind.
Veronica von Allworden, Langley, Whidbey Island, WA
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Saw a gray in front of my house at Polnell Point (near Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island) this morning, foraging about 50 from shore.
Bill Walker, Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, WA
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At 13:10 we ran into this group of killer whales outside the Neah Bay jetty heading West in the strait. There were at least 7 different individuals traveling, saw a few taillobs and quick turns as well!
Adrianne Akmajian, Marine Mammal Technician, Makah Fisheries Management
From the photos we sent on to our list of researchers, we received this reply with IDs from Graeme Ellis of Canada's Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans: Hi Susan, I see T099, T099A, T099B, T065A and T065A4.
Cheers, Graeme

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Once we got around the corner off of South Beach, San Juan Island we saw a small Minke Whale lift his head to the surface and then slowly roll back under. He surfaced 3 more times and then took a longer dive. We waited about 10 minutes before he surfaced again about a quarter mile away from us. We idled forward in the direction of his last surfacing and saw him come up once more about 250 yards from our boat. It was a great Minke sighting. The smooth, calm water made it easy to see the elusive cetacean.
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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J Pod in the St. of Georgia, just outside of Active Pass, with Mt. Baker.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island, WA
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[Orcas] in Active Pass today! They were seen from our Orca Rock on Galiano Island around 11:45, quickly swimming east against a fairly strong tide (see photo of the day, above). Many tail lobs.
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island. B.C.

May 18, 2011

Dave Ellifrit, Erin Heydenreich, Mercedes Powell, Kira Kranzler of the Center for Whale Research departed Snug Harbor on a clear and sunny afternoon at 3.59 pm with news of Transients. At 4.29pm we found the eight [orcas] loosely spread about a mile east of Beaumont Shoal (SE of Victoria BC) buoy (48 26.44 N; 123 08.89 W).The individual whales were T99, T99A, T99B, T99C, T65A, T65A2, T65A3 and T65A4. The Females and calves mainly stayed in one group whilst two young males T99A and T65A2 played together constantly throughout the encounter. We stayed with the whales until 6.25pm when we left them about one mile South East of Seabird Point (48 24.86 N; 123 12.92 W) in tight medium travel, heading South West.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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Around 2:15 pm 8 Pacific White Sided Dolphins were spotted Southbound from Cape Mudge, Quadra Island BC.
From Gary, Aboriginal Journeys submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC
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One Gray whale, west of the break water in Everett, just swimming around.
D. Paterson
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At 10:10 this morning I was witness to a pod of orcas heading south on the west side of Whidbey. There were at least 5 or 6 maybe more). I even saw a spy hop. Only after my excitement settled down, did I realize the boat off shore was a Whale Watching Excursion. The orcas were between it & our beach, about 100 to 200 yds. out, 1/2 mile south of Hastie Lake Rd. WOW!
Shirley Taft, West Beach Rd., Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, WA
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As we cleared the pass and entered Haro straight Captain Craig pointed our bow south towards Partridge Bank. But half way there we took a sharp right and headed up the straight as we spotted some Orca closer to our position. We came on scene with just a couple other boats and found maybe 8 or so charismatic animals. None of the boats had been able to get positive IDs on any of them. But there was plenty of surface activity including some porpoising behavior and a few spectacular breaches. We stayed with the whales for about 25 minutes before turning back towards home.
Mike - Naturalist, San Juan Safaris

May 17, 2011

Steve McGee called Orca Network to report seeing 20+ orcas 7 miles south of Klamath River, northern California, in 21 fathoms deep water, 5 miles offshore, heading north. Hmm - possibly some of L or K pods heading north?!
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5 pm: The Orca had spread out a bit withing a triangle from Savary Island, Hernando and Mittlenatch Islands. 4 pm the Whales had made it about two miles South of Sentry Shoal where they let a lone Dalls porpoise get out of their way. They had been zig zagging towards Powell River then towards Miracle Beach on Vancouver Island. The Orca then grouped up with lots of vocalization. Ahh, calm weather, sunshine, whales and listening to them talking too! They slowly started to work their way back towards Mittlenatch.
The above three reports from Jack - Campbell River Whale Watching via Susan MacKay, Whales & Dolphins of BC
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12:30 pm the Orca were spread out in smaller groups from the South end of Quadra Island to Vancouver Island slowly working their way South. By 2:45 pm they had made their way to Mittlenatch Island. The count was back up to the 30 + whales.
from Gary - Aboriginal Journeys, via Susan MacKay, Whales & Dolphins of BC
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Orca network received a report of several pods of orcas off sunlight beach, useless bay heading NW in Admiralty inlet @ 8:45 am.
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10 Orca heading south at Seymour narrows at 7:30 am this morning.
Jack, Campbell River Whale Watching, via Susan MacKay, Whales & Dolphins of BC
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We got to go out on Maya's charters with Spencer and Jeanne Hyde, and found J pod up north by the coal docks spread out over a wide area at around 2:40 pm. They had been going north, then turned west, then east, then south. We saw several breaches (Jeanne said one of the breaching whales was Granny!), tail lobs, and spread out traveling and foraging behaviors.
Susan & Howard, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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It's been a long drought for whale sightings for us which finally ended today. From our deck in Tsawwassen around 12:45 we saw a small pod of orcas slowly heading north. They were very spread out.
Karoline Cullen, Tsawwassen, B.C.
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We ended up slightly north of the Coal Docks and found ourselves amid Orcas. There were two whales cruising west, then three, then a whole bunch more. They were spread out to the east and west of us and we realized they weren't transients. One male with a huge dorsal cruised by and I suspect it was Mike of J pod. At one point there was a large direction change and suddenly the whales were headed east. The best part about the encounter was three moms with calves, cruising close together. The females would surface and then the little guys would pop up for a quick, mini breath.
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Ann Casey reported several pods of orcas in admiralty inlet off useless bay heading NW @ 8:45 am.

May 16, 2011

Sammye Kempbell of Whidbey Island called to report 5 or 6 orcas off Rosario Beach, Deception Pass State Park at 12:43 pm (J pod).
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We were blessed with a visit of 8-9 resident orcas at school (Anacortes Home Education Partnership at Rosario Beach). They came around Northwest Island from the north, really spread out, and headed south and west into the Strait. Possibly more members way out in Rosario.
Mira Lutz, Anacortes, WA
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Faint calls still on Lime Kiln hydrophones at 11:17pm PST.
John Boyd, San Juan Island, WA
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Hearing a few calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone, 10:48PM. 10:58: Very faint, but hearing some S1 calls I believe, still on LimeKiln.
Nicole Brandt
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9:30 pm: Calls on lime kyln hydrophones right now!
Jenn Morad
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GREAT ORCA SOUNDS AT ORCASOUND 2104. Orcas being heard at Lime Kiln 2111.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Kelsey of Beam Reach called to say there were orcas south of Cypress Island about 11 am.
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We received this report: J pod reached the south end of Rosario Strait at about 13:00 today, making many clicks but no audible calls as they foraged from 13:55-15:00. The pod was spread out across the Strait from the SE corner of Lopez Island to near Whidbey Island Naval Base (2 miles offshore was mentioned on the VHF). When the Beam Reach research vessel last observed the small group closest to Lopez at 16:00, they were headed west near Iceberg Point.
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Orcas (perhaps as many as three) sighted 2:00 PM between NAS Whidbey and Smith Island with 3 whale boats in vicinity. There was one larger covered boat (names unknown) and one "torpedo style" boat and a smaller perhaps pleasure vessel ranging back what seemed to be the appropriate distance. They appeared to be following the Orcas back to San Juan Island, probably out of Friday Harbor.
Charles Niedzialkowski, Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, WA
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We headed out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, toward the south end of Lopez Island, many Harbor Seals and male Steller Sea Lions were hauled on Whale Rocks. There were reports of Orcas heading south down Rosario Channel, against a strong, 10+ foot, flooding tide. J-Pod families were very spread out and many turned back north. At about 1:45pm, we saw whales swimming hundreds of feet from each other, on long dives, coming up to breathe. Was it energy saving to stay under the surface while they were swimming against that strong current? As fellow Naturalist Heather said; were they staying under longer to communicate about the hunt for salmon, over that long distance the pod was spread apart? We were happy to watch J-26, J-31, and J-39, until about 2:30pm (Didn't see a calf with them, so my guess on J-31 being a new mom is withdrawn)!
Caroline Armon, Naturalist, San Juan Excursions
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Monday found us out in Rosario Strait. The wind was picking up and there was a little bit of swell and chop, but it didn't deter us from spotting a very spread out group of Transient Orcas (possibly J pod?). They were headed south at what seemed like a pretty good speed. There was one big male about 500 yards from us and two smaller whales another 600 or so yards from him. They had consistent, 4 minute down times and would surface even farther from us every time. The wind made it a challenge to keep up and we realized that the whales were hardly moving, just keeping up with the opposing current. We were the ones drifting and getting blown farther away. The big male continued to surface every 4 minutes or so. Even at 500 yards it was impressive every time. The very top of his towering dorsal would surface first and cut through the water like a shark for a few seconds. Then, slowly, he would rise until the rest of his enormous body was at the surface.
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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All 30+ Transient Orca were up at Robson Bight around 9 am. They continued in a Westerly direction then around 3 pm they turned East again heading towards Alert Bay, but still up at the top end of Johnstone Strait. These Orca were doing around 15 knots (close to 30 km per hour!) what Aaron had reported the other day. These reports were noted by Leah and Marie on Orca Live and from Donna of MacKay Whale Watching in Port McNeill. Orca Live had distant calls which could mean they're headed either out the top end of Vancouver Island or, based on their previous movements, probably in a big circle and maybe as far down the Strait as our area.
Susan MacKay - Whales and Dolphins BC Whales and Dolphins Home
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My neighbour across Sansum Narrows on Vancouver Island phoned me at 8PM to say he'd been following 2 Humpback Whales out of Maple Bay and into Burgoyne Bay. They were heading south in Sansum Narrows. Very exciting. This is the first report of the big whales here, although they probably were here before the whaling wiped them out of these waters.
Tamar Griggs, Bold Bluff, Saltspring Island, BC
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We followed 2 Humpback Whales from Maple Bay on Vancouver Island to Burgoyne Bay on Saltspring Island, and down Sansum Narrows past Burial Island. They were diving and spouting close together and it looked like there was a smaller one with a bigger one - Mum and baby? They were moving pretty fast and went all the way into Burgoyne Bay where the Government wharf is and all the "live-aboards" in boats. This is the first sighting of these baleen whales EVER in Sansum Narrows - anyway since I have been here. (Whales may be sneaking by all the time when my neighbours and I are not watching). Are these whales exploring old territory? Are they lost? I believe Sansum Narrows had lots of Humpback Whales long ago before we hunted them to extinction in these waters. I'd love to hear if anyone has any ideas about these magnificent whales. We followed them for about 2 hours - from noon to 2 PM.
Tamar Griggs, Bold Bluff, Saltspring Island, B.C.

May 15, 2011

Dave Ellifrit, Debbie Sharpe, Kira Kranzler, Mercedes Powell of the Center for Whale Research observed J pod passing the Center (NW San Juan Island) around 2:00 p.m. heading north. At 4:25 p.m. we encountered J pod approximately a half mile east of the eastern tip of Mandarte Island (48 38.17 N; 123 16.10 W). The whales were very spread out, traveling in small groups of threes and fours. The first whales we encountered were a small group containing J2, J8, L87, J19 and J41 heading north west toward Salt Spring Island, B.C. As we moved north west with the whales we encountered other members traveling slowly, foraging and socializing. There were several moments in which we were given fantastic displays, including spyhops, breaches, tail-lobs, and inverted swimming. We left the whales at 6:47 p.m. about a half mile north of Coal Island (48 41.35 N; 123 21.13 W), and returned to Snug Harbor at 7:20 p.m.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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Cory Johnson called at 2:20 to say he just saw 2 orcas, a female and a calf, on Swiftsure Bank. He said the female's dorsal fin had a bend in it near the top. He said they were headed north in the freighter lane. He also said his partner saw 8 orcas on Swiftsure Bank this morning, milling.
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I was driving the Pile Buck northbound up the coast and happened upon a group of possible 4-6 Transient Orcas. I was bucking the flood tide in Current Passage making 7kts when a fair sized Orca fin sliced through the water off my starboard bow!, several more to follow. It was an amazing experience as they zipped by with the flood. I believe there was 3 or 4 females; a young calf or year old orca. Also I think there was a young male in the mix that, amongst handling the boat and my camera i didnt get a good look at for sure. Current Passage is in Johnstone strait, near Kelsey Bay. Current passage (northbound traffic) sits on the north side of Helmcken island, and on the south side of helmcken island is Race Passage (southbound traffic). On the north side of Current Passage is Hardwicke island. I encountered the T`s at 1112 and I was with them for only minutes.n
Reid Philip, prince of whales, alert bay towing
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3:15pm hearing calls on OrcaSound hydrophone.
Alisa Lemire Brooks
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12:41: J-pod at Salmon Bank. 3:29 pm: J pod came past the center for whale research over the past hour in dribs and drabs, was awesome! There was a bit of playing, including pec slapping, fluking and general rolling around :) they're still headed north.
Mercedes Powell
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Orcas northbound near Mitchell Bay on the west side of San Juan Island, 2 pm.
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island
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1:30 pm: Hearing lots of echolocation on lime kiln right now!
Gary Sutton
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When we got closer to Lime Kiln we saw blows way in by the rocks. Then we saw a few more farther north. Then a couple surfaced about half way between us and shore. We soon realized that just about all of J Pod was spread out over a distance of close to 5 miles. It was hard to focus on just one group of whales. I think at that point every passenger was watching a different whale. We picked Blackberry and Mike out of the lineup as well as Looker, the 2010 calf. There wasn't a lot of surface behavior. The whales in close to shore were cruising north at a steady pace and the few different groups farther out looked like they were just slowly milling. We shut down the engine and sat for a long time, observing the whales about their business. None of them were particularly close to us, but Capt Mike dropped the hydrophone and I couldn't believe what I heard. They were, hands down, the best vocalizations I have heard this season. There was even a point when we could hear the whales at the surface, without the hydrophone. A couple of other boats in the area said the same thing. We sat still and silent while we watched and listened in the rain. There wasn't a single noise aside from the whales. It was the type of day that makes you appreciate just how incredible these animals are and how lucky we are to share these islands with them.
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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11:22 am: 3 Grays (patch and 2 others) SE of hat island spotted by Victoria Clipper III. 90 tons of fun.
Don Heminger

May 14, 2011

Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research encountered J pod a few miles north of Pile Point on the west side of San Juan Island at 4:52 p.m. The whales were spread out in groups heading north. Ken followed the whales just past Lime Kiln State Park and then turned back south. The encounter ended just north of where it started.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones 5:36 pm.
Lon Brocklehurst, Olympia
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I saw Granny and Spieden off of Lime Kiln at 5 pm today along with Samish, Princess Angeline, Tsuchi and the rest of J pod! They were mostly just heading north, a little bit of direction change and milling but off Hannah Heights there was breaching, tail slaps and cartwheeling.
Melisa Pinnow
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Just south of Discovery Island. We were with J Pod today near Victoria this afternoon. This evening they were near Lime Kiln. That's a US Navy ship in the background. No sonar problem today.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Charters, San Juan Island
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J Pod slow travel east toward San Juans. We followed along across the Victoria waterfront 2:30 - 4 pm, four or five groups swimming east 4-5 knots , kids rolling over each other, a few breaches and spyhops, J2, and J8 together.
Deb Martyn, naturalist; Eclipse Charters, Orcas Island
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Left Friday Harbor around 1:30 with reports of Southern Residents in the Strait of Juan De Fuca heading our way. J-pod was cruising steadily east. Our passengers were very excited to see multiple breaches, spyhops, tail slaps and some swimming on their backs. We were able to positively identify 'Mike' and 'Blackberry' out of the group. We had a lot of first time whale watchers on board so they got very spoiled with a great first encounter! On our way home we even encountered a Minke Whale!
Mike, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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11 am a tug boat Captain spotted some Orca off in the distance when one breached and made a large splash. By 11:15 am the call was out one the radio that there were around 20 Whales by Marina Island, just off Cortez Island. It didn't take too long and then, by 2pm the reports were that the Orca, including T10 T10B and T20 (based on reports from farther South it's doubtful that T20 is in two places at once - wonder who's right or did they move that far so quickly?) were zig zagging in three to four distinct groups within a triangle from Marina, Quadra and Read Islands. There were some on a kill by Viner point at the tip of Read Island. They stayed, spread out in that area until around 4 pm when they headed towards Whale Channel. At this point there was a count of around 25 Orca! By the end of the day, the Campbell River Whale Watching crew left them at 5 pm entering Calm Channel by Rendezvous Islands. What a day - breaching, tail slapping and just lots of whale activity!.
Susan MacKay - Whales and Dolphins BC, Powell River, B.C.
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We saw several nice pods of Orca with calfs(3+) off Monterey Bay on a whale watching tour. One group came within 5 feet of the boat.
Les Dreher
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We sighted the (Transient orcas) CA51s again in Monterey Bay today.
Nancy Black, Monterey Bay Whale Watch
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I've got these two (re: photos from Peggy, below) in my notes as CA51C and the large male as CA51B. Looks like the same whales that got the gray whale calf on mother's day.
Kate Cummings, Blue Ocean Whale Watch, Monterey Bay, CA
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There were Orcas in Monterey Bay today. There were 6 or 7 total animals. Don't have a lot of information other than Kate Cummings said one of the whale watch boats saw the penis of one of the Orca.
Peggy Stapp, Marine Life Studies, Monterey Bay, CA
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I would like to report 2 Beautiful Humpbacks my son and I witnessed at 0945. They were in Stuart Channel (near Crofton, BC) Chart 3442. We joined them at Erskine Point (Salt Spring Island) and watched them cross to Grave pt and follow the shore to Sherard pt. They continued towards the direction of Porlier Pass. They were calm and serene each time taking 2 -3 breaths then a deep dive with tail fluke rising gracefully before descending. They appeared to be approximately the same size (adult). There is no mistake these were Humpback whales. I've seen thousands of different whales including whale watching guide. I didn't take pictures as I was video taping them.
Sandy Shaw
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A Gray whale seen at 7:00 pm, north end of Mutiny Bay Whidbey Island headed south. Only 75 yards offshore. 1st sighting in 20 years of living there!
Bradley, Whidbey Island, WA
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Orca Network received a call about whales off Bush Pt @ 6:30 pm - must have been the gray whale reported below?
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Spotted a single gray whale heading south in Admiralty Inlet between Lagoon Point & Bush Point at about 6:10 this evening.
Vicki Claude
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~10 am: Grey spotted 1.5 miles south of possession head by Victoria Clipper III.
Don Heminger
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8:45 pm one gray moving south past Kayak Point, feeding.
Gary Lingenfelter

May 13, 2011

Dave Ellifrit, Debbie Sharpe, Kira Kranzler, and Mercedes Powell of the Center for Whale Research departed Snug Harbor at 10:50 a.m. with a report of transients just off of Discovery Island, B.C. Approximately seven miles east of Seabird Point (48 20.83 N,123 05.77 W) at 11:35 a.m. we found the group of seven transients traveling slowly in a tight group, heading south west. The group included T75, T75A, T73B and the T77s. We were with the group for several hours as they zigzagged their way south west into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Our encounter ended at 2:01 p.m. with the whales still headed south (48 16.93 N, 123 08.21 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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2-3pm, Seven Transients in tight line travel SW, Hein Bank toward Olympic Peninsula. 2 male, 3 female and 2 juvies. Some other whale watch will probably note Identities of these whales.
Deb Martyn, naturalist; Eclipse Charters, Orcas Island
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Marie Waterman of Washington State Ferries called to report 6+ orcas near Pt. Hudson, by Port Townsend, WA heading north at 8:45 pm.
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8:39 pm: I hear J pod calls right now at Port Townsend (on OrcaSound hydrophones)!
Meg McDonald, Vashon Island, WA
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J pod calls at 1937 on Port Townsend Hydrophones.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Tonight around 7 p.m. as we watched cruise ships head to Alaska we spotted a pod of Orcas. It looked like a male, two females and two calfs. As they headed nouth toward Marrowstone Point, we thought that was it but then spotted a lone Orca possible transient and then to our surprise another pod of 4 or 5 although my husband thought maybe 6. They were swimming north coming up out of the water quickly and at one point there was some play going on but mostly moving north at a pretty good clip. Not sure if they were eating because they didn't seem to dive long. They were about a mile out from our shore line on Marrowstone Island just south of East Beach. The cruise ships were also in the shipping lanes so they were closer to Marrowstone then Whidbey.
Patti Ivers, Marrowstone Island, WA
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Orca pod at Pt. No Point lighthouse right now (~5 pm)! It seemed like a large group, but difficult to tell how many exactly - maybe about 12 or so, a couple large males in the group and a couple calves as well. They were about 100 yards off shore from the lighthouse and put on a great show for about 15-20 minutes before moving north towards Port Townsend. Lot's of breaching!!!
Joel Petree
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1 pm: Orcas milling and breaching between Point no Point and Eglon Beach. Apporimately 6-7 unsure of how many but at least 6. Headed South towards the Kingston Ferry Terminal.
Marion Mckenzie Fuller
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Janice at Point No Point in Admiralty Inlet reported 4-5 orcas headed south at 8:04 this morning.
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The Ocean Magic vessel out of Victoria met up with a number of Transients (looked like 7-8) who appeared to be in a traveling group much of the time, Friday afternoon. We located them south west of Hein Bank close to 1:15pm. They did zigzag in different directions at times but didn't appear to be hunting. The research vessel out of the Centre for Whale Research kept company with these magnificent Orca. A pair of Tufted Puffins floating on the calm water helped make this a very special day.
Marie, 'Orca-Magic ', Prince of Whales, Victoria BC.
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Noon: Heard there were whales at Oak Bay eastbound this morning -Transients.
John Boyd, San Juan Island, WA
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Leaving Friday harbor we had reports of transients around Hein Bank moving southwest. We cruised in to the area of Hein Bank about an hour and a half later and realized that the whales had made some distance towards Port Angeles. We got a few good looks at the group of about 6 whales. There was a very identifiable male with a tall dorsal that kind of curved at the top. There was also a very recognizable calf in the mix.
Mike - Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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Between 12 and 1 pm around 3 Orca by Savary Island, B.C..
Al Wood - Lund Water Taxi
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I just received a text from Lund that states that a pod of orcas is heading south from there towards Powell River BC. 09:30 a.m. Friday.
William D.
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9 am - 3 to 5 Orca just off of Lund, B.C..
Lund Water Taxi Office
Above three reports from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River BC
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Mary Pacher called at 8:30 pm reporting a BIG Gray whale feeding about 400 - 500' offshore in Saratoga Passage off North Bluff, north of Greenbank, Whidbey Island.
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~10 am: Grey spotted 1.5 miles south of Possession head by Victoria Clipper III.
Don Heminger

May 12, 2011

20+ Transient Orcas right off Tumbo Island, BC. Left them at 6:30 headed West back up the island. Many breeches and above the surface vocalizations.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Westside Charters, San Juan Island, WA
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On Maya's Westside Charters in the afternoon, after receiving a call, we headed north and west to the north side of Galiano Island, B.C. where we encountered T20 and T21 heading east at 3:00. Farther east another boat came across T137, T137A and T137B. T137C was not present. Another boat was about 3 miles northwest of our location, returning to Vancouver, and came across several other whales. We did not see those whales and left the scene at 3:40. We made a return trip and at 5:35 encountered the same whales. However, this time many more whales approached from the west and joined the others. There was quite a lot of above water vocalizing and extraordinary surface action. The whales present included some of the same whales that were photographed at Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday. The whales ID'd on the late encounter were: T20, T21, T137, T137A, T137B, T100, T100B, T100B1, T100C, T100E, T101, T101A, T101B, T102, T18, T19, T19B, T19C, T23, T23D, T26 and T26A. There was a total of 22 whales identified and possibly one or two more.
Jeanne Hyde , San Juan Island
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We soon got word of a humpback near Porlier Pass, and located it in Trincomali Channel, just south of the pass. This humpback was not exhibiting usual behaviour though. It was surfacing fast, and milling erratically, with just 1 breath per surface sequence and no long, lazy blow. Perhaps it knew what we were about to find out - transient orcas were in the Georgia Strait, and some were near. We headed out of the pass, and slightly south in Georgia Strait for an encounter with T20 and T21. These two individuals are sighted frequently in the area, and just continued on their way south, in typical transient fashion, during our encounter with them. Heading home across the strait, we encountered another 4 individuals - the T101's and T102. This group was also headed south in Georgia Strait. Watching them, we noted how tall T101A's fin is becoming, although still juvenile compared to T102. As we left them to head for dock at approximately 15:20, we heard that there were yet more transients in Active Pass. Seals, watch out! In answer to an individuals' question about seals and transients in Active Pass (asked in a previous report), I have seen them taking seals in the pass, and I've seen some very nervous seals when they pass through, so I doubt there is any agreement in place. Probably has more to do with whether the whales had already eaten, or perhaps this person is more often watching resident orcas pass through. The seals know the difference and don't budge when the residents pass by.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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Brad Hanson of NOAA Fisheries reports they were able to get out with the orcas as they came out of Admiralty Inlet heading around Point No. Point this afternoon. They confirmed the pod as members of J pod, very spread out, doing a slow loop first toward Meadowdale, then they headed north, then west, then southwest and finally were heading south as they left them in the early evening. At one point they found J26 about three miles in front of the rest of the whales! The orcas were doing a lot of foraging, which is encouraging, and Brad was able to collect 6+ fecal samples, which will provide important information on what the whales were foraging on, among other things.
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~4:30 pm: Spotted an orca or two off in the distance through binoculars. Its definitely them -- just saw the first confirmed spout and a small breach. They are somewhere just north of the Kingston-Edmonds ferry now. Still making their way south - Looking like they are slightly favoring the Kingston / President's Point side so far. Also, doesn't seem like a very large pod - maybe 5-6 from what I can see here in Richmond Beach. If it is J, most of them haven't shown up yet.
~5:45 pm: Here comes another group, further north, again up towards Kingston-Edmonds ferry lane, heading south. Looks like they might be J after all! I was able to make out a breach near the "SF" mid-channel buoy about 5 minutes ago.
~6:45 pm: I think they are milling a bit north of mid-channel now. I keep seeing shiny whale bodies in the water, but no evident direction. ~6:50 pm: Still milling about 0.5-1 mile north of mid-channel. And suddenly back on the move, heading south! Making their way
slowly south again.
Dave Haas
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~5:45 pm: I am above Shilshole and spotted a few orcas mid channel. One looked to be in northward movement.
~6:45 pm: I saw a few breaches, blows and the one dorsal when I was up above the marina.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Shoreline, WA
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2:45 pm saw mom and baby just south of point no point lighthouse. My first time seeing an orca!
Cindie Lang
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Patty Michak called at 1 pm to report the orcas were passing Pt. No Point, heading south close in to the Lighthouse.
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After receiving the report below, we headed over to the west side of Whidbey Island and found the orcas in Admiralty Inlet off Lagoon Pt at 10:05 am, heading south - looks like J pod but too far off to confirm. We watched the orcas pass Bush Pt heading south from 10:50-11:10 am, traveling spread out closer to the other side - no IDs yet.
Susan Berta
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John Rogstad at WA State Ferries called with a report of 3 groups of orcas, at least 12, heading south in Admiralty Inlet from the Pt. Townsend/Keystone Ferry lanes at 9:06 am this morning.
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We got a call about [orcas] north west of Active Pass. A few minutes later we saw two whales surface a quarter mile behind us. It looked like a mom and calf. They were cruising. We turned around and tried to catch up parallel to the whales but they were moving fast. We noticed a single whale in closer to shore and then saw it turn toward the two whales we were watching. The duo did a 180 and became very surface active. Lots of twisting and turning with tails in the air. Eventually the single caught up and then we noticed blood in the water. Not sure what exactly it was but it looked to have been something large and delicious. Once again the whales continued on their eastern course. We watched for a while and then headed home, happy and slightly sunburned.
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safari
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7:45 am: Gray whale heading south in Holmes Harbor. Just at Saratoga Beach right now.
Lori christian

May 11, 2011

We saw a single gray whale from shore near the West Cliff lighthouse (Monterey Bay, CA), traveling north, around 11am.
Deb McArthur, Santa Cruz, CA
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We spotted 10 orca off of Cape George at 6 am. They were moving rapidly to the east along the shoreline of the Quimper Peninsula (near Pt. Townsend, WA) and were traveling in a tight group. We were some distance away on Protection Island, but we could see 3 males in the pod and one smaller orca coming up close by an adult female each time it surfaced.
Sue Thomas, Wildlife Biologist, Washington Maritime NWRC, Sequim, WA
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A rare pod of transients turned up in Vancouver Harbour. Lots of news coverage, including the cover of the Vancouver Province newspaper today, along with a photo gallery here.
Perry Edwards, North Vancouver, BC

May 10, 2011

On the return trip from Victoria, B.C. Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research encountered J pod and L87 off Eagle Point at 3:15 p.m. (48 27.059 N; 123 03.76 W). The whales were very spread out and apparently foraging. The encounter ended north of Hein Bank at 4:58 p.m. (48 24.363 N; 123 59.489 W) with the whales still spread out and heading south east.
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Ivan had spotted Orcas and we should head to Beaumont Shoal, Haro Strait. As we continued to search we started to see lots of fins in the distance, lots of fins; it must be J-Pod! As we slowly approach we came across J-34 Double Stuff and family. We were treated to 3 great breaches then as the whales approached false bay they slowed down and spent the next hour + in small groups hanging out on the surface, logging, rolling, spy hopping, tail slapping, pec slapping with many small chin ups (see photos here, and John Boyd's photo of the day, above). All in all there must have been 30-40 Spy Hops/chin ups. JB and Hobbes commented that the one time they had seen this type of behavior a new calf was sighted the next day!!! We will see. On top of all of this we had great vocals on the hydrophone, surface vocals and raspberries. Seemed like a September day in May. Nice to see the whales seemingly content and relaxed, not moving in search of food as they commonly are this time of year.
Alison Engle, Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor, WA
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20 to 25 Orca coming out of Frederick Arm (just above Desolation Sound, north end of the Strait of Georgia) at 7:30 am, moving very rapidly Westward. Aaron with Campbell River Whale Watching was out on the water and said he was running at 15 knots to try to keep up with them. Full porpoising out of the water - spectacular sight. By 9:30 am the Orca were into Nodales Channel still in a Westerly direction. I received further updates from Jack during the day, heard bits from Lady Hawk (Jen) and others on the marine radio, as well as AJ later in the day. The Orca split up and spread out. Some zig zagging, some heading Southward toward Seymour Narrows and some staying above the Narrows. By 11 am some had entered the Narrows and although the debate was "Who are these whales?" the most likely is that they were Transient Orca. By 5:15 pm there were 8 to 10 Orca by Maude - basically they stayed in a small area for a long period of time.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC
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1740: Race Pt (Seymour Narrows), South bound, 10ish animals.
Andrew Jennings, Powell River, BC submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC
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1536: J pod traveling south at Eagle Point (W San Juan Island); from False Bay at 1446 . Whales are very spread out, making lots of calls over low boat noise. Thus far J1 has not been sighted.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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Starting out north on a nice, calm, sunny afternoon, no whale reports. Then, then! a rumor of Orcas in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, heading in east! So we turned around, headed south and west, and started seeing killer whale fins off of False Bay and San Juan Island, swimming against an ebbing tide. Closer at about 1:15pm, we noticed a female staying in the same place at the surface for about a half hour, and the 5 family groups spread out. They started to move and gather closer together, actively spy hopping, turning on their backs, tail fluke and pectoral fin slapping the water surface, and a juvenile breached! They slowed down their swimming, made circles and direction changes. We put a hydrophone in the water and heard non stop vocalizations! As we watched all the active behavior, we noticed a very small calf and wonder if a birth had taken place recently? My guess for the mom is J-31 Tsuchi. We also ID'd J-2 Granny, the big boys- J-27 Blackberry, J-26 Mike, J-30 Riptide, and J-28 Polaris and their families. J-Pod seemed relaxed and hopefully found salmon! At 2:45pm they had turned northwest, still off of False Bay.
Caroline Armon, Naturalist, San Juan Excursions
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Andrew Beckett called at 9:10 pm while he was watching 2 orcas that had been just a few yards from shore off Skiff Pt, Bainbridge Island, WA and were then headed east toward Seattle. It was too dark to tell if either was a male.

May 9, 2011

Dave Ellifrit, Erin Heydenreich, Mercedes Powell, and Kira Kranzler from the Center for Whale Research observed a group of transients heading north from Bellevue point, San Juan Island. We departed Snug Harbor at 12:17pm and encountered the group of transients, containing T87, T90, T90B and T90C, just outside of Mitchell Bay at 12:27 p.m. (48 32.60 N, 123 10.53 W), still moving slowly north. At 1:21pm we observed a harbor seal in the whales path. Shortly thereafter the whales were milling where the seal had been, presumably having made a kill, although we were unable to see any physical evidence. The transients continued to move slowly north until 2:19pm, when they turned and headed south west. At 2:50pm our encounter ended approximately three quarters of a mile south east of Kelp Reef, with the whales moving south west down the middle of the Straight (48 31.85 N, 123 12.81 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
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As you may know from the Hydrophone recordings last night we ran into about 6-10 killer whales around 17:10 just off the Neah Bay jetty and around Wa'adah Island! They were traveling East and appeared to be feeding, lots of surface activity and slow movements and dives. At least two males with large dorsals with the group.
Adrianne Akmajian, Marine Mammal Technician, Makah Fisheries Management
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1215: Seymour Narrows, South Bound, 5-7 animals (orcas). May 9 - 1530(ish): Francisco Pt (South end of Quadra Is), milling around 500m from the point, 10-12 animals.
Andrew Jennings, Powell River, BC submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC
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J pod calls on Neah Bay hydrophones at 1722! A first for the Network -- thanks to the Makah Tribe and Jon Scordino who got some photos.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound, Seattle, WA
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7 Transient (meat eating) Orca were spotted by AJ at Francisco Point by Cape Mudge the South end of Quadra Island BC at 2:45 pm. He took photos of them "partying" that I hope to be able to post in tomorrow's update.
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Transient Orca, unconfirmed numbers, spotted in Seymour Narrows around 12 pm. No direction given.
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I am at Bliss Landing. We have been watching a pod of five Orcas for the last few weeks. They showed up the Saturday before Easter and have been around every few days since then. The seals in the area are very afraid and come into our docks when they are near. We shot some video of the pod a few days ago which I will try to send today.
Mac
The above 3 reports were submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC, Powell River.
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Heard about 8 faint calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones at 11:03 am -- over a minute or so. Wasn't quick enough on record button to get them all, but WhoListener recorded two calls - listen here.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound, Seattle, WA
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11:00 a.m. Lime Kiln Pt. State Park, whales apx 1/4 mile from shore, 4 transient orcas were traveling up island. They made a kill in front of the lighthouse. They continued to move very slowly north. T87, T90, T90B and a calf - I'm assuming T90C (but I'm not sure). In the afternoon on Maya's Westside Charters we encountered the same whales continuing their slow travel up island. They made a 90 degree turn offshore along Henry Island and then changed direction several times. We last saw them on the west side of Haro Strait heading down. I'll post pictures on my blog.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island, WA
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For the second day in a row we found ourselves in Haro Strait. It was another beautiful, glassy day on the water and as we rounded the northwestern corner of San Juan Island we could see blows to the south. There were 4 Orca whales. There was one big male with a huge, notched dorsal that was bent over slightly to the left at the very top. There were also two smaller whales (one presumably a female/mother) and a calf in the pod. We watched them dive and maneuvered out alongside of what seemed to be the direction the whales were taking. About 5 minutes later we found out we were wrong. The whales popped up almost a mile southwest of where they dove. A few surface breaths and they dove again. We sat in the same spot; reluctant to advance because of the previous direction change. The next time the whales surfaced to the east, back toward San Juan. We sat for about 15 minutes and watched them mill. Through the binoculars we could see Dall's Porpoise right next to the whales! We waited in anticipation for what would surely be lunch. The whales did a 180 and headed back toward Canada. Apparently they were not interested. Lucky Dall's. With the lighting at a better angle we got a good look at the adult dorsal fins and at the little calf.
Laura, naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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A nice quiet morning. We had a handful of orcas, including at least one adult male and one calf slowly traveling east-to-west off Flint Beach, headed toward Iceberg Point, ~6:30 am. Thanks for including the picture of T87's dorsal in this mornings email. That was definitely the male that I saw.
Tom Reeve, Lopez Island, WA
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Risso's and Pacific White-sided dolphins mating, Monterey Bay, CA
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Veronica von Allworden saw a gray whale near Langley, Whidbey Island, this morning between 7:15 and 7:30, feeding near the drop-off at the edge of the mudflat, heading SSE toward Langley.

May 8, 2011

Orca Network received a report about five orcas entering Active Pass from the north about 5 pm. They did three breaches, then went south into the pass, as seen from the BC Ferries.
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We had hiked up Young Hill on San Juan and were looking out over Haro when we saw an enormous Orca breaching repeatedly. There were no other whales nearby and no boats in the immediate area. The size was what was most impressive because even from that distance with no binoculars, this whale seemed very big. Sorry I don't have better details for you. I think it was around 10 am, we didn't see what direction he headed, just breached a bunch then kind of disappeared. Have a great night!
Gretchen Bailey
I asked Gretchen if it may have been the humpback that was photographed breaching in Haro Strait about the same time, but she replied: It wasn't a humpback, definitely an orca but I couldn't see his dorsal fin.
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Around 10:30 we found Patch (Gray whale #49) just SE of Sandy Point (SE Whidbey Isl). He was heading generally eastward. We saw his dorsal patch several times and his flukes twice, so it was easy to tell who we were looking at. We also saw six sea lions hauled out on the Possession Point buoy, 2 Californian and 4 Steller's.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III
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My family and I saw some orcas this evening off Point Robinson. I haven't seen any reports of it on West Seattle Blog or your sites, so maybe it's worth mentioning. All we saw were fins and backs, coming up and going under lots of times over about 15-20 minutes, around 6:00 p.m. today. We were at the beach near Point Robinson lighthouse. The orcas started out northeast of the point, moved south a bit, then moved off northeast again before disappearing. From the number of fins surfacing at more or less the same time, I'd guess there were at least four or five whales. They were mainly close together, with a couple of outliers. Since they were nearly in the middle of the channel and we were on land, we couldn't see any particular markings or other individual distinctions. We live in West Seattle--this was just a day excursion to Vashon--and we hardly ever see orcas or other whales, so we're not really expert observers. We had no camera with us, unfortunately, and therefore also didn't get any photos. But it was a treat to see those lovely whales, nonetheless! Hope someone else also saw them today and has better info for you. Best,
Molly Winter, West Seattle
We didn't get any other reports of orcas in the Vashon area, however it's not impossible for Transient orcas to sneak by! however, upon further information from the reporter and some of her descriptions, it is our guess that they MAY have been watching porpoise rather than orcas.
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4:54 pm: At least 4 Orcas seen off the BC Ferry Queen of New Westminster, Georgia Straight side of Active Pass.
Tim Green
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Emily from Beam Reach called Orca Network to report watching two humpbacks west of Kellett Bluff, Haro Strait, from 10:30 - 11:30 am, pec-slapping and breaching! Then Mandy Bailey posted this report and photos. A photo of one of the humpbacks that we (Beam Reach) saw breaching this morning! Photo by Carlos Javier Sanchez. This fella started with a breach, did a series of these chin slaps, and ended with another breach. It was amazing!
Mandy Bailey, Beam Reach Science and Sustainability School
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We headed north and around toward Battleship Island, Haro Strait in search of giants. The calm seas and lack of wind afforded us a quick and comfortable ride out into Haro Strait. As soon as we got past Battleship one of our smaller, younger passengers started yelling and jumping up and down. Whales! The enormous exhalation and tiny dorsal fin were definitely not those of an Orca. What we had encountered was a much less frequent visitor to the islands. The two Humpback whales took 3 small breaths and then rounded out their backs, curling down until their massive flukes lifted toward the sky. A cheer broke out from every boat within 2 miles. We waited. Ten minutes later the duo surfaced again. Again, 3 surface breaths and then a dive. We prepared to wait another 10 minutes but the pattern changed. The whales surfaced after only a few minutes had passed. They dove quickly but surfaced again a short time later. Each time we were clued in to their surfacing by the sound of their exhalations. Magical. Once more the whales came to the surface, lifted their flukes and dove. A moment later we began to notice footprints in a neat little line off our starboard side. We knew the whales were swimming just below the surface. We shut down the boat and waited in anticipation. The footprints continued for maybe a quarter of a mile before the whales finally surfaced again. We watched as the dove and headed off toward Canada. With plenty of time remaining in our trip we turned north toward Stuart Island. We pulled in close to shore to take a peek at a pair of bald eagles and were surprised by a Steller Seal Lion that popped up behind us. Then a Harbor Seal Surfaced as well. Suddenly we noticed a tiny animal scurry out of a little cave and slide down into the water. We watched as a River Otter swam along the rocks, looking for a snack. More eagles (including 2 juveniles) and seals on the way back in. What a day for charismatic megafauna!
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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We spotted some killer whales today and as we got close we could see they had killed a gray whale calf earlier in the morning. It's front half was floating in the water and there were 6-7 killer whales present. They'd pull the carcass under the surface for about 8 minutes or so and then it would float back up. They'd break up into mini pods and rejoin several times. There were gulls, shearwaters, and black-footed albatross there as well. Two very young calves in the group, one male, and a few females & juveniles. A boat coming out of Santa Cruz north of us says he came across a lone gray whale on his way over to the action and said it looked like it had a bite wound behind it's blowhole-- possibly the mother of the calf. Killer whales must hate mothers day.
Kate Cummings,Blue Ocean Whale Watch, Inc , Moss Landing, Monterey Bay, CA
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More Orcas off Moss Landing, CA, this time feeding on a fresh Gray Whale Calf Kill. We were with a pod Orcas on Sunday that had recently killed a Gray Whale calf and were feeding on the carcass. They would bring the carcass up to the surface and take turns nudging it and taking bites out of it. Then they would take the carcass under the water and the carcass would vanish for about twenty minutes. We observed the females cruising the surface back and forth over the area where we would last see the carcass. There was also a very young Orca calf that still had it's yellowish "white patches". When some Orcas are born, their "white patches" are yellowish in color. They usually will turn white by the end of their first year. This was facinating behavior to observe. We were with the Orcas for over two hours! There were approximately two males, one very large and the other large, three females and two babies. WOO HOO!
Dorris Welch/Sanctuary Cruises' Marine Biologist, Moss Landing, Monterey Bay, CA
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Nancy Black (Monterey Bay Whale Watch) reports that she saw the (Transient orcas) CA51s feeding on the freshly killed carcass of a gray whale calf this morning in Monterey Bay.
Alisa-Schulman Janiger, California Killer Whale Project, ACS/LA Gray Whale Cenusus and Behavior Project

May 7, 2011

No killer whales today, but we did see Risso's dolphins and Pacific white-sided dolphins mating a few miles west of Moss Landing. There was a pod of around 75 Risso's with just a few lags (Pacific white-sideds). The pairs swam right next to the boat many times and I believed I snapped a shot of the deed in photo 0248 (see photo below). I know there's been lots of accounts of Risso/bottlenose hybrids, anything on Risso's and lags? They sure were having fun!
Kate Cummings, Blue Ocean Whale Watch, Inc, Moss Landing, Monterey Bay, CA
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At 6:15 pm I received a call from John and Joan T. asking if I could see the Orca. There were around 8 or more Orca - assumed to be Transients doing their longer dives heading Southward relatively quickly in front of Westview, Powell River. Some split off towards Texada, but continuing Southward. The other group were closer to the Mainland side and appeared to be on a kill when I lost them behind some trees just before 7 pm that are in my vantage point view.
Susan MacKay - Whales and Dolphins BC
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At around 3:45 PM, a lone male transient came through Active Pass. He milled about Georgeson Bay at the southwest entrance of the pass for about 10 minutes, before heading north up Trincomali channel. What is so interesting about this event, and others like it, is that this occurred at low tide, and there is almost always a large colony of seals sunning themselves on Colinson reef in Georgeson Bay, and yet the transients that come through never seem to be interested. In fact, the seals regularly ignore transients in this area, as if somehow everyone has agreed that this is a no-dinner zone. A neighbour of mine, who has lived on the Bay for most of his 60 plus years has only seen one incident in which transients fed upon seals. Any ideas as to why this might be?
Peter B. Reiner, Georgeson Bay, Galiano Island
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We headed west this afternoon on the 12.15pm Ocean Magic vessel and found a Transient Orca that appeared to be all alone near Sooke. It was slowly heading west with erratic turns that would head it east then west. Despite the cold wind, the rain and chop on the seas it was good to watch this rather illusive animal. Looked like a sprouter male initially, but some of those sharp, tall fins can be deceiving. It had a nice nick out of its fin, roughly a little more than a third down on its trailing edge. Hopefully someone knows who it was. Closest image in the catalogue to mine looks like T124C, a female, but why, if a she, was she alone.
Marie, Orca-Magic. Prince of Whales. Victoria BC.
Wonder if this orca is the same one reported in Active Pass, above?
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Veronica von Allworden saw a gray whale near Langley, Whidbey Island, at 5 pm, heading east toward Camano Island.

May 6, 2011

While on the Phillip's 26 Glacier cruise in the Prince William Sound, the attached photos were taken of a pod of three orcas. I hope the photos provide adequate info/detail to identify them.
Mark Tanga
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The reports below are from Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC, Powell River, BC:
Orca (no numbers I'm afraid) by Sonora Lodge, Stuart Island, B.C. around 10 am. They were heading North-West.
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Around 12 pm there were 2-4 Orca Southbound by Campbell River.
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Orca Nework received a call from Don Taylor, reporting 3 orcas ~15 miles off Gold Beach, OR, heading W/SW, working the canyon there at approx. 6 pm.
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We picked up 2 killer whales at 54/57 at 11:30 am milling about at around 3 knots. They surfaced together and separated several times, often staying down for over 8 minutes. There were several little pods of harbor porpoise in the area. At 12:30, the killer whales picked up speed and darted after some porpoise and definitely killed at least one-- there was blood in the water and we could see the harbor porpoise in both the male & female's mouths at different times. I believe the female is CA50, not sure about the male-- his eye patch is a perfect oval. The kill was made at 53/54. In picture 0135 you can see part of the harbor porpoise. So cool!
Kate Cummings, Blue Ocean Whale Watch, Inc , Moss Landing/Monterey Bay, CA
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Between 10 and 11 this morning, we spent some time with a gray whale SE from Gedney Island. It seemed to be feeding, but also spent some time logging on the surface, breathing frequently and a couple times rolling to show a little pectoral fin.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III

May 5, 2011

Radio call came in from a commercial boat at 9 am about 10 or more Killer Whales by Copper Bluffs near Campbell River BC. The whales were moving quite quickly heading for Seymour Narrows in a north-west direction.
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One of the Campbell River Whale Watching boats was out and managed to find the 12 Orca by Chatham Point, just at the lower start of Johnstone Strait around 12 pm, where they stayed and foraged for about an hour. These orcas were later confirmed as Transients from Aaron ofCampbell River Whale Watching. Aaron was with these 12 Transients which he believed included T21 and T22 for around 2 1/2 hours as they played with a seal.
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Thanks to Elizabeth, who gave me a call around 2:30 pm about a pod of Orca by Beach Gardens, just below Grief Point, Powell River heading North. I quickly managed to get out in the skiff with my daughter and found the Transient (meat eating) Orca close by the mill. This is a favorite spot for Transients to find Sea Lions and Seals. There were between 9 and 12 Whales split into two groups. A group of four headed towards Harwood Island while the rest had a late lunch closer to the mill. They stayed in the area till around 5:00 pm and we left them by Atrevida Reef, heading towards Savary Island and Lund.
Susan MacKay Whales and Dolphins BC, Powell River, B.C.
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At 7:49 pm: Just saw 4 or 5 Orcas right in front of our house at Bliss. Looked like there was a small one.
John H B
Bliss Landing is across from the Copeland Island, just North of Lund and just before Sarah Point and the entrance to Desolation Sound BC on the northeast end of Georgia Strait.
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Saw a Gray Whale at San de Fuca (Penn Cove, Coupeville, Whidbey Island, WA) Thursday about 1:30, only blew once and didn't see it again.
Clarence Hein, Coupeville

May 4, 2011

Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research encountered J pod and L87 off Kellett Bluff. The whales were spread out traveling south in Haro Strait. The encounter ended just north of the Center (NW San Juan Island) with the whales still moving steadily south.
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After picking up a friend at sea/tac we caught the 8:30 p.m. ferry from Mukilteo. As the ferry was pulling out of the Mukilteo terminal (heading to Clinton) - we spied - approx. 100 yds from the ferry - on the west (left) side ( in some 'turbulent' water ) and watched for several minutes - what appeared to be - either a gray whale (which was diving and feeding) - or - an orca (or more than one orca). We could not figure out if it was the tail of a gray whale - or the fin on top of an orca - that would appear above the surface - then disappear. Any thoughts or other reports that would confirm either?
Wayne Flaaten, downtown Greenbank, Whidbey Island, WA
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Orca calls heard at Lime Kiln Hydrophones at 9:16 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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J-Pod on Lime Kiln hydrophones at 6:29 pm WA time. Getting slowly louder! ~7:30 pm: I can't hear them anymore, and there is too much boat noise on OrcaSound hydros to hear anything.
Candice Smith
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~6:30 pm: Calls at Lime Kiln right now!
Corri Heiss
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Just heard a couple of vocalizations 12:22 Pacific on Lime Kiln hydrophones. I heard a call at approximately 12:30 PDT that I have never heard before after four years of monitoring - what was that?! (Super high frequency several seconds long squeal, as I would describe it). I am again hearing faint calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone at 14:35 Pacific time. Wow, those screeches earlier were exceptional.
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo, FL
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J pod, heading south fast - S2 and other calls auto-detected at Orcasound hydrophone from 12:00-12:27. Click here for an example of a screech w/117dB receive level. Here is a blog post with links to all of today's auto-detections on OrcaSound hydrophones, west San Juan Island, WA, 12:45 pm: S1, S10, and some great screeches along with lots of clicks auto-detected at Lime Kiln hydrophone from 12:10-13:06.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/BeamReach, Seattle, WA
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At 12:51 pm we heard calls on the Lime Kiln Hydrophones. They must have passed the phones. It's just ship noise now (1:22).
Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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11:37 am: Orcas southbound near Kellett Bluff on the west side of San Juan Island.
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island, WA
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In the middle of Haro Strait we saw two orca cruising at the surface. They were heading west at a pretty steady pace. After scanning the horizon we realized that some other boats in the area were watching their own groupings of J-pod. There were whales spread over a couple mile radius around us. While we couldn't get a good positive ID on the first two whales we saw, as we moved towards a second group we recognized the distinguishing saddle patch of Blackberry!
Mike - Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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There were 11+ Orcas today, with a total of 4 males, in Monterey Bay, CA.
Peggy Stap, Marine Life Studies, Monterey Bay, CA
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Pat Harper called to say a gray whale was in Holmes Harbor in Freeland, Whidbey Island, at 9 pm, 100 feet from shore, rolling sideways (likely feeding), at the park at Freeland Park.
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I just saw a Grey Whale near Whidbey Island within Holmes Harbor about 2 miles north of Freeland on the east shore (this location is a bit south of the above report - the whales must have gone down toward Freeland, then circled back north to be seen about two hours later by Pat Harper). Google maps approximate location is: 48.040701,-122.509987. There were probably two whales: an adult and an infant. There is a sand bar there with ghost shrimp, so the whales were probably feeding. They swam around in circles for about half an hour before heading south toward Freeland. Time: 7:15-7:45 PM local time. We have only seen whales a couple other times at that location in the 30 years we've lived there.
David Kleparek, Freeland, Whidbey Island, WA
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I was flying over near Everett at 6:30 PM and saw two gray whales feeding north of the big marine marker that is north of Hat/Gedney Island and west of Everett. I circled them for about ten minutes. They were feeding heavily with huge plumes of mud billowing out from their mouths as they would come up to surface for a breath before feeding again. I did take some pictures and will get them to you in the next couple of days.
Veronica von Allworden, Langley, Whidbey Island, WA
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~1:30 pm: Gray on SW side of Gedney/Hat Island (near Everett, WA) working on identification.
Robin Araniva

May 3, 2011

Dave Ellifrit and Erin Heydenreich of the Center for Whale Research encountered J pod and L 87 spread out about a half a mile west of Otter Bay, Pender Island B.C. (48 46.64 N; 123 19.87 W) at 3:10 p.m. The whales were traveling slowly and appeared to be foraging. They grouped up as the went through Active Pass. The encounter ended at the north end of Active Pass with the whales heading into the Strait of Georgia (48 54.90 N;123 18.439 W) at 4:52 p.m.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Tuesday brought sunny skies and calm water. Reports of J-Pod off Moresby Island. The pod was spread out into smaller groups. Some were in way close to shore, while another group of younger animals were porpoising a little farther out. Other boats confirmed sightings of 'Doublestuf', and we were able to confirm sightings of 'Blackberry', who had a very consistent pattern of slow breaths and very slow descents, leaving his dorsal skimming along the surface. We also saw double spy hops, lots of rolling, some upside down swimming, pec slapping, and even some whales playing with the kelp.
Mike- Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, San Juan Island, WA
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A group of orcas had been spotted coming out of Active Pass heading East. So off we went with hopes of finding them somewhere out in the Strait of Georgia. We headed down to Eastpoint, and began scanning towards Alden Bank. And that's when we got word that Transient calls were being heard on the Orca Sound hydrophones. So off we went, and after a long trip, we were passing through John's Pass when we got yet another call--Transients in Active Pass. As we were passing Danger Shoal, we got yet another call--this time on the radio that one of the boats had found whales near Moresby Island. J Pod had mysteriously shown up, and we were glad to see them! We first encountered J26 Mike, and also saw J27 Blackberry and J30 Riptide (who seems to be growing larger all the time!) Then the fun began as we viewed what I call the "nursery group" of four juvenile whales. They were so content to hang out together, rolling around on each other, and occasionally displaying a "sea snake". Lots of upside-down swimming, pushing each other sideways. We saw L87 show us how the whales hunt fish with lots of lunging, direction changes, and a couple of high lunges!
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Explorer

May 2, 2011

We saw 6 Orcas today. One male, calf, juvenile and 3 female types. Kate Cummings of Blue Ocean Whale Watch was able to ID the Mom in the photo below as CA 49.
Peggy Stap, Marine Life Studies, Monterey Bay, CA
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Adam U called Orca Network at 6:13 pm from the R/V Centennial to report a juvenile humpback in Admiralty Inlet, moving north in mid-channel, a bit on the Port Townsend side. Then again at 7:19 pm Adam called to say the humpback had moved a bit over to the Whidbey side and was a couple of miles off Ebey's Landing, still headed north.

May 1, 2011

I was kayaking with my wife near Saltery Bay just off the east end of Hardy Island in Hotham Sound, B.C. (south of Powell River). A pod of 5 [orcas] came north from Scotch Fir Point heading east toward Jervis Inlet. There appeared to be a large male swimming beside a large female and off to one side there were three younger orcas. I took some photos of the larger one which breached a few times (see photo below, and above photo of the day) . The orca that I am assuming is the big male was playing with what I am assuming was a larger female, swimming very close to her, rubbing against her and then breaching every so often. They continued this pattern as far as the eye could see.
John Spick
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Kayaking with some friends around Jetty Island we spotted a grey whale cruising the west side of Jetty Island through Possession Sound. To make the experience even more amazing, the whale paused to spy-hop a couple of times before proceeding on its journey. Additionally to the northwest between Whidbey and Camano islands we could see several spouts that we assumed were additional grey whales.
Edwin, Lake Stevens, WA
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We left Friday Harbor with reports of a Minke Whale in Canadian waters. Under sunny skies and over glassy water we headed west. As we approached the area of the last sighting we slowed to a stop and shut down the engines. After fifteen minutes of scanning we saw the small whale surface about a quarter of a mile from the boat. We watched it surface and saw that it was moving east. We idled parallel at about 300 yards and saw a half dozen good surfacings. After fifteen minutes it changed direction again, we said goodbye to the Minke.
Mike Oster, San Juan Safaris
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I was birding in Florence, OR along North Jetty Road about 11:40 when three Killer Whales swam by heading upriver. I watched them go past the crab docks and out of sight.
Roger Robb
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Adele Freepons called Orca Network to report seeing 3 tall black fins off Florence, OR at 11 am this morning, near the Coast Guard post, headed into the bay.
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Fireman Martinez with the US Coast Guard called at 11:15 am, reporting 3 orcas - 2 adults, 1 juvenile, in the Siuslaw River, Florence, OR - he said they came up to the Coast Guard station, then headed back out.
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I noticed two Orca. A male and female slowly traveling NW near Haddington Island, which is just West of Alert Bay, B.C.
Reid Philip
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Orca off Destruction Island, WA, - Our sanctuary research team were working off the coast this weekend deploying oceanographic moorings aboard our R/V Tatoosh. They observed at least 2 orcas, one definitely a large male and the other presumably smaller with less erect dorsal. Attached are 2 photos, which are not very good res nor close. The location was about 0.5 km southeast of Destruction Island about 15:00.
Ed Bowlby,Research Coordinator,NOAA, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
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We have spotted a family of Orcas about 1 km away from Savary directly between Savary and WestView (BC). There are 6 or more. They were swimming in the same spot for 20 mins since we first saw them. They seemed to be moving slowly west. One had a large dorsal fin and looked large in the body. There were two medium sized orcas and 3 small ones that we could see. There were 6 that we could count but there could have been a couple more than that.
Ron J, submitted by Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC , Powell River, B.C.
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On outer coast survey late in the day (15:09) ran into a group of killer whales offshore of Carroll Island N 47 59.02 W 124 46.82. We saw probably 10-20 individuals (best guest 13) but there were many more in the area. We followed several smaller groups, and saw at least 2 calves! All were headed North, the last group we left offshore Sand Point area.
Adrianne Akmajian, Marine Mammal Technician, Makah Fisheries Management
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Northern Resident Orcas, G pod - After sending on the photos we received from the Makah Tribe of orcas off the NW Washington Coast to our list of researchers, we received the following responses which identified the pod as G pod, from the Northern Residents:
Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA: I'm reasonably sure the bull with the bunged up fin is G39 so it is safe to say they are northern residents. I'll defer to Graeme for any more ids.
Graeme Ellis, Dept. of Fisheries & Oceans Pacific Biological Field Station, Nanaimo, BC: These are Northern residents (Gs) and the male with the damaged fin is G39.
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Transient orca T051 was with T068C and T068C1 west of Sheringham Pt. Lighthouse. They were originally spotted by Gotcha Fishing Charters and were tracking east off Jordan River (south Vancouver Island). When I found them they were south bound on a line for the U.S./Canada border. I left them west bound mid strait south of Point no Point at 1615hrs.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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Heard of some Transient Orca west bound at the top end of Johnstone Strait.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins of BC ,Powell River, B.C.




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