November 2005 Whale Sightings

November 28, 2005

At about 1pm while motoring north 3/4 mile south of Point No Point I suddenly found my boat surrounded by Orcas. I shut down the engine and depth sounder and drifted as there was only a slight breeze from the southeast. I counted 8-ten on the surface at a time. They were very active so it was hard to say how many were really there but I would guess many more than that. They were spread across about a half square mile and seemed to be playing and feeding. I saw two babies one very small 6-8 ft and one 10ft or so and many 12ft or so and probably 4 that were very large one with a dorsal that leaned over while on the surface. Some whales had a gray marking just aft of the dorsal.
BJ Benson s/
v NelleBly

November 27, 2005

One of our helicopter flights out of Astoria sighted a pod of seven Orcas heading southbound in position: 46-24.57n 124-13.28w (mouth of the Columbia River).
Brian Corrigan
USCG
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales reported finding J pod off S. Vashon/Maury Islands in the early afternoon, & again around 6 pm as they headed north up Colvos Passage. He was able to listen to & record some S1 calls & echolocation clicks while the whales were in Colvos Passage.
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Just enjoyed the sounds of pod heading north in Colvos passage at 6PM. Spread out couple miles, lots of tail lobs! Pod unidentified up to about Blake Island now at 6:15PM.
Tim Ferris :-)
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We would like to report sighting a group of at least five orcas between 2:00 and 3:00 pm. We first saw them as we were heading west out of Commencement Bay toward Point Defiance. We saw at least one female being shadowed very closely by her calf, and many more surfacing in a playful manner. They seemed to be heading toward Quartermaster harbor or up the Sound to Dash Point.
Steve and Lucretia Shafer
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My parents are currently observing a pod of Orcas just off the Point Robinson (Maury Island) lighthouse at 11:30 AM. Approximately nine animals with at least two males. Pod was seen approx 100 yds off shore heading south towards Pt. Defiance/Tacoma direction at a quick pace. They were observed breaching, lobtailing and chasing at least one fish (although not necessarily feeding - just playing with it!) Unable to identify pod.
Theresa Mitchell
Des Moines, WA

November 26, 2005

We drove down to Scatchet Head, S. Whidbey Island, & found J pod about half way between Apple Cove Pt. & Point No Point (N. Kitsap Peninsula) at 3:15 pm, heading NW toward Point No Point. We watched until 3:45, but they were too far away to see much but spouts & little tiny black dots.
Susan We have just spotted the Orcas about 1 mile south of Point No Point, ~3:20 pm. They are very close to the Kitsap side. Lots of splashing and spouts, fairly spread out. There must be at least 8-10 of them out there.
Paul & Laurie in Edmonds
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Tom McMillen of Salish Sea Charters & Island Adventures called with an update on the orcas - at 2 pm they were in the Edmonds/Kingston ferry lanes, most on the Edmonds side, looking like they were going to continue northward. He confirmed it was J pod, no other pods were seen. Nov. 24/25 On Thanksgiving day, 11/24, at about 11:45 a.m. my daughter and I saw a whale spout and splashing in Case Inlet, off the north pointe of Harstine Island in the south Puget Sound. Furthermore, we saw what appeared to be a seal getting pulled under and a large flock of sea birds flying overhead, indicating possible feeding activity of an orca. The individual appeared to be traveling south. The next day some kayakers said they had seen a whale spout and splashing near the same location. Residents of Hartstine Island have reported gray whale sightings in the spring in the past. Is it possible that we saw an orca? Jill Roberts Portland, OR This is an area where transient orcas tend to feed, & from the description above it sounds like this could be the case - sb 1:15 pm J's have now turned and are Northbound, center of the Sound approaching Edmonds.
Sam
Island Adventures, Inc.
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Tom McMillen called with an update on his first report - at 1 pm the orcas were headed NE toward Edmonds - he had identified J pod for sure, had seen more whales further south & said there could possibly be another pod present.
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At 12:40 PM off Bainbridge Island heading South with J-pod.
Sam Cole
Island Adventures, Inc.
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Tom McMillen of Salish Sea Charters/Island Adventures called at 12:30 pm to report orcas south of Kingston, near Pt. Monroe (this is the next point north of the below sighting), heading south.
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We've just spotted a pod of Orcas moving north past Skiff Point on Bainbridge Island; it is noon. They are out in the center of the shipping lanes so it's too hard to determine precise numbers or markings. Several boats are in fairly close looking at them. They seem to be swimming steadily north and are spread out for at least a half-mile or so.
Rod & Sandy

November 25, 2005

The Gray whale sightings continue at Chito Beach (7 miles west of Sekiu). On 11/22, 23, 24 & 25 one - three gray whales were seen daily. All were heading east down the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Pat Ness
Chito Beach Resort

November 24, 2005

Ken Balcomb called at 9:38 am to report a pod of orcas in Haro Strait, near Beaumont Shoals. First they were headed north, then turned & were headed south. From the size of the pod it looked like it was J's - they'll confirm ID's when they are able to get closer to them.

November 23, 2005

A report of a humpback 5 miles S.E. of Race Rocks. (Mark Malleson 1545hrs. "Mallard").
Ron Bates
MMRG, Victoria BC

November 22, 2005

Jim from the Victoria Clipper called at 8:35 am to report sighting a male & female orca in the fog in the Edmonds/Kingston ferry lanes, slowly heading south. The whales were closer to the east side of the passage. Could be J pod headed back down south....

November 20, 2005

We discovered a Minke off Point no Point feeding in the tide lines. There was also a juvenile male Elephant seal bobbing in the same area.
Jami Rouse
Naturalist, Island Adventures
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Tom McMillen of Salish Sea Charters called to report sighting a Minke whale & an Elephant Seal off Point No Point (Kitsap Peninsula, WA) this afternoon.
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The gray whales have continued to feed between Shipwreck Point and the mouth of the Sekiu River. We are close to seven miles west of Sekiu. Over the last several days, anywhere from two - six gray whales have been sighted during daylight. One of the sprays is quite small, and one is very large and powerful.
Pat Ness
Chito Beach Resort
Sekiu, WA

November 19, 2005

Number: 7 orcas (best guess) Location: Monterey Bay, about 8 miles off of Santa Cruz. Direction: Loitering. No significant movement over 2 hours. Time: 11:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. Activity: Some playing. A dead sea lion was floating in the area, but had not been preyed upon. A friend saw this pod killing a sea lion the day before.
Harry Carver
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JPod just west of Race Rocks going west at 1500.
Ron Bates
MMRG, Victoria BC

November 18, 2005

J-pod was off Edmonds spread out feeding. We were able to identify Shachi J19, baby J41, Blossom J11 and Princess Angeline J17.
Jami Rouse
Naturalist, Island Adventures
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Tom McMillen of Salish Sea Charters called with updates on the orcas in Puget Sound. They were sighted by the Edmonds/Kingston Ferry at 11:45 am heading south, & Tom found them at 2:45 pm off Elliott Bay heading toward Bainbridge Island. He confirmed it was J pod.
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We received calls from Tom McMillen of Salish Sea Charters & Jim from the Victoria Clipper reporting a pod of orcas just north of the Edmonds/Kingston ferry at approx. 8:30 am. The whales were spread out, moving slowly south.
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Two gray whales are feeding in the Straits (Juan de Fuca) deep off the mouth of the Sekiu River, beyond the kelp bed. They are remaining in the same area, with long dives between sprays.
Pat Ness
Seiku, WA

November 17, 2005

Three gray whales came by Chito Beach around 3:00pm, heading East.
Pat Ness
Seiku, WA

November 16, 2005

Jpod going east off Victoria at 1520. A humpback off Victoria slowly going south at the same time.
Ron Bates
MMRG, Victoria BC
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Jim from the Victoria Clipper called to report a large pod of orcas 2 miles south of Trial Island near Victoria at 10 am, spread out & milling, probably heading toward Race Rocks.
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Jpod off Victoria going from Trial Is. to Race Rocks most of the morning. Last seen S.W. of Race in the afternoon.
Ron Bates
MMRG, Victoria BC

November 15, 2005

A single humpback just west of Race Rocks in the afternoon, just milling.
Ron Bates
MMRG, Victoria BC
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The Center for Whale Research caught up with the [orcas] in the glare of the afternoon sun, & identified J pod as they headed north at 4:30 pm between Double Bluff (west Whidbey) & Point No Point (Kitsap Peninsula).
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John Herman called to report that 4 orcas came into view near Useless Bay, west Whidbey Island at 4:20 pm, heading north.
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Jack Rawls of Maple Pt, Clinton (SW Whidbey) called to report a pod of orcas heading west at 3:20 pm. He saw at least 8 orcas, including 1 adult male & 1 calf. They were swimming rapidly, with some playing & feeding behaviors observed.
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I was finally able to get out to the SW side of Whidbey to look for the orcas that were reported heading north. I found them just NE of Apple Cove Pt. & Kintston, heading NW at 2:15 pm. They were very spread out (more details from Kurt who saw them earlier in the day included they were spread out over several miles while heading north past Bainbridge Island as well), closer to the Kitsap Peninsula side. I observed one male that looked like J1, & was able to take a few photos when the whales weren't directly in the glare of the afternoon sun. I watched until 3:30 pm as they continued NW toward Point No Point & Admiralty Inlet.
Susan Berta, Orca Network
Greenbank, Whidbey Island
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I got a call around 10am from Kurt Heikkila of DNR who was on the water this morning. He said he had [orcas] between Bainbridge and Shilshole, heading north at 3-6 kts.
Erin, Cascadia Research
Olympia, WA

November 14, 2005

We spotted about 10 Orcas on the 2:30 pm Edmonds to Kingston Ferry closer to the Edmonds side. There looked like at least 2 males with the group and they were all heading north.
Chris & Karen Spagnuolo
Seabeck, WA
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One humpback off Victoria this afternoon.
Ron Bates, MMRG
Victoria BC
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I saw blows just NW of Point No Point (Kitsap Peninsula) at 11:40 am. The [orcas] were spread out between the peninsula & mid-channel, heading SE. I went further south on Whidbey to Scatchet Head, & finally at 12:40 pm they came into view, still heading SE toward Apple Cove Pt.
Susan, Orca Network
Whidbey Island
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8:15am, approximately 12 orcas, about mid-strait, heading east-southeast. During the 5-8 minutes we had them in sight they were mostly just heading in a straight line, obviously going somewhere. At least four males in the group, two traveling with the main group and two bringing up the rear. After we had passed, the two stragglers caused a large splash.
Art Burke, Director
South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District
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Capt. Mark called from the Clipper: They saw J pod at Marrowstone Point, entrance to Admiralty Inlet, heading South at 9 AM.
James (Jim) Dale,
Five Star Whale Watching

November 9, 2005

Members of J pod 15 - 20 Orcas very spread out, just south of the Victoria Waterfront, 1.20 pm. No particular direction of travel as the Orcas were foraging. J1 (Ruffles) was identified by the Naturalist aboard Orca Spirit.
Andrew Lees,
Orca Spirit Adventures/Seacoast Expeditions
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On the 11:30 ferry from Edmonds to Kingston we saw orcas in the choppy water, west of midchannel and just north of the ferry's westbound route at about 11:45 or so. I think I saw one adult male at quite a distance & the whales were spread out quite far and seemed to be foraging, not traveling in any direction. When we got off the ferry we drove up onto the bluff and had some time to watch from there, and they soon passed by heading south. I estimated somewhere in the neighborhood of ten whales, give or take.
Jamie Austad
Seattle
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Mark of the Victoria Clipper called to report 4 or 5 orcas a few miles due south of Clover Pt, Victoria BC at ~10 am. No ID's, but they thought they were possibly Transients. They also reported a dead Calif. Sea Lion floating 2 miles due east of the very tip of Dungeness Spit.
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A large pod, I think about 15 or so orcas are going south from Clinton ferry on the Whidbey side. 8:30 AM.
Bill Couch
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A woman I met on S. Whidbey this morning had heard that ~9 orcas had been sighted off the Clinton/Mukilteo ferry at 8 am.
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Just watched a pod of about eight orcas moving south past my home here on the bluff between Langley and Clinton (Saratoga Passage, E. Whidbey Isl). Thought I saw a young one as well. They passed here at 7:20 am.
Frances Wood
Langley, WA

November 8, 2005

11:00 a.m there were 10 or more [orcas] 400 yards off the ferry dock on the North end of Vashon Island. One large male with distinctive white at the base of his fin. It looked as if they were moving south slowly and perhaps surrounding a large school of silvers. The captain slowed the ferry almost to a standstill and waited until the whales were well away from the ferry before resuming half speed.
Bart Queary
Vashon Island
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A friend who had been on the 8:45 am boat out of Bainbridge saw 3 groups of Orcas during that crossing, south of the ferry heading south. A large male in one of the groups.
Doug H
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1 humpback off Race Rocks area and a 2nd near Albert head.
Ron Bates
MMRG, Victoria BC
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Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research found the orcas at 1:45 pm 3 miles south of the north end of Bainbridge Island, heading north. At 4 pm they were 2 miles north of the Kingston ferry lanes, on the Kingston/Peninsula side, heading north, ~ 1 mile south of Point No Point.
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Jerry Feinstein reported 15 - 20 orcas heading south from the Vashon/Fauntleroy ferry at 11 am.
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Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research relayed a report of orcas off Bainbridge Island at 9:30 am.
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We spotted 3 Orcas (one female and two young ones) on the 9:00 AM Bremerton-Seattle ferry near the entrance to Rich Passage and Bainbridge Island heading south fast.
Chris & Karen Spagnuolo

November 7, 2005

Only two boats out both had humpbacks off Victoria, one each. "Mallard" had T103 and T104 off Beechey Head, after the humpbacks. "Natural Salty" on his way to the T's got a humpback further off shore and a second in Race Passage. While all this is going on at sea I had 4 humpbacks off the Victoria waterfront from shore. So assuming 2 of my four were seen by the boats on their way out and 2 more by the boats west of Race as well as two transients, my other two were east of Race. Total 6 humpbacks and 2 transients this afternoon.
Ron Bates
MMRG, Victoria BC
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Bush Pt. at 10:45 am from the hilltop I spotted the tip of what looked like J1's big fin really close to the Whidbey side, heading north (though the other whales had been seen going south - I think J1 was just chasing a fish in close to shore). I found one group of whales nearing Point No Point at 11:10 am, with another group following them, including at least 2 males. The whales were closer to the peninsula side, very spread out, traveling south-east. I went further south & found the whales again from Scatchet Head at 12:15 pm, south Whidbey as they traveled between Pt. No Point & Apple Cove Pt. By 1:30 pm, the leaders were heading south, between Apple Cove Pt. & Edmonds, with more coming in, traveling close to the Peninsula side. At around 2 pm, Fred Felleman & Center for Whale Research Staff who were out with the whales, reported they had sighted some of the whales heading over toward Possession Bank & Possession Sound. They also confirmed seeing whales from all three pods - J, K & L. I went over to the SE tip of the island to see if I could find them, but found no whales in Possession Sound, so went back over to Scatchet Head, to find the whales in the same place I had seen them an hour before! At 2:45 pm the whales were just north of the Edmonds/Kingston ferry lanes, between Apple Cove Pt. & Edmonds, heading east, some coming from the south headed north. By 3:30 pm when I left them, they were between Possession Pt. & Edmonds, milling & fishing, no real direction of travel.
Susan Berta, Orca Network
Greenbank
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Awoke this morning to a grey whale spouting and feeding at 7:15 AM very close to the green buoy at the entrance to Penn Cove, visible from my bedroom on Snakelum Point. He spent a good 15 minutes there but then submerged with no further sighings.
Sally Slotterback
Coupeville, Whidbey Island
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Tom McMillen of Salish Sea Charters called at 9:30 am to report watching a pod of orcas heading south from the Port Townsend/Keystone ferry. He wasn't sure yet which pod it is - I'm heading out to see if I can find them & get some photos & ID's.
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Spotted a dozen or so orcas heading south (8:40am) out from Lagoon Pt. in front of Marrowstone Island.
Jane
Lagoon Pt, Whidbey Island

November 6, 2005

At 0830 I heard lots of southern resident orca calls on Val's hydrophone system, and soon after a large group of whales with many adult males came porpoising south in mid-Haro Strait. Dave and Kelley went out to identify them, and as of 1300 they have seen members of J, K, and L12-s spread out in mid Strait of Juan de Fuca south of Trial Island, heading west. We do not know yet if all individuals of all three pods are present.
Ken Balcomb
Senior Scientist
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island

November 5, 2005

2:45 pm: Close to a dozen Orcas off of the E side of Blake Island. They are very active, tail slaps and jumping completely out of the water. Saw one large male and a couple of juveniles in the mix. The whales were heading north towards Bainbridge.
Paul Ruppert
Park Ranger, Blake Island State Park
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Tom McMillen of Salish Sea Charters called to report orcas off Blake Island, north bound at noon. At 12:30 pm they were 1 mile east of Blake, still heading north, & ID'd as J pod. At 2:30 pm, they had gone around Blake Island, & were headed south down the west side of Blake toward Colvos Passage & the west side of Vashon Island
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales reported J pod off Blake Island, milling this morning, but lost them in the weather by 11:30 am. It is 8:30 am, Saturday, and about 10 L's are porpoising south off D'arcy Island and east of Kelp Reef. I got a pretty good view of L79, I think. Our hydrophone is picking up buzz trains and some vocals.
Val Veirs
OrcaSound, San Juan Island
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Tom McMillen of Salish Sea Charters called to relay a report from Bob Nye of orcas off Bainbridge Island at 7 am, & then off Blake Island (N. of Vashon Isl) at 9 am, heading south.

November 4, 2005

Debbie of Mutiny Bay, west Whidbey Island called to report sighting orcas at 3:15 pm heading south, closer to the Peninsula/Hansville side. She could see at least 6 blows at a time, but they were too far away to get a good count.
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Between 7:15 and 7:40 am, saw fins (orcas) and activity close to the western shore of Blake Island (just north of Vashon Isl) but too far away to identify sex or identity. Thought I spotted a male fin but could not be sure. It seemed like it was only a couple of animals. Feeding very close to the shore, near the southwestern end of the island opposite Point Southworth. Seemed to be feeding on salmon. Were not clearly traveling in any direction, up and down the shore.
Jane Bedinger

November 3, 2005

It looked like all of L pod off Hannah Heights just after 8:00 a.m., including the L12's and L57. They were heading south into huge rollers, expending lots of energy at times just to stay in place, in the face of gale force winds. Initially they were tightly grouped on the surface, with calves sandwiched in between adults. Later as the water calmed slightly, they spread out horizontally, still making fairly slow progress south. Lost them in the surf at about 9:30 a.m.
Sharon Grace
San Juan Island
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales reported J pod chasing fish off Vashon Island. At 1 pm J pod was at Pt. Robinson (SE Maury/Vashon Isl) & now heading north, very spread out.
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Amy Carey relayed a report from someone on the Vashon/Fauntleroy ferry sighting orcas at 10:20 am heading south from the ferry. At 10:50 am, Amy spotted the whales close to shore at Dilworth (NE Vashon Island).
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The Center for Whale Research had a report of L pod traveling south off the west side of San Juan Island at 8:30 am.

November 2, 2005

J pod & at least some L's (L57 ID'd) were reported by Chris Sly to Shane Aggergaard of Island Adventures, at 8:15 am heading south off Bainbridge Island. When sighted earlier in the morning they were headed north, but then turned south.
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12-15 Orcas were spotted around 730am to the south/port side of a westward traveling Seattle/Bainbridge ferry about 2/3 of the way to Bainbridge. Orcas were quite spread out from each other with 1-2 juveniles spotted each swimming alongside an adult. The group appeared to be traveling North.
Jennifer Clark
Bainbridge Island

November 1, 2005

Chris Sly sighted orcas off Kingston.

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