November 2010 Whale Sightings

November 30, 2010



November 29, 2010



November 28, 2010

The same Transients off Victoria (T49A and friends).
Ron Bates, MMRG, Victoria, B.C.

November 27, 2010

Approx. 4 Orcas came through Plumper Sound between Pender Island and Saturna Island, B.C. First time I have seen whales here. I heard later on that they were seen off South Pender and had taken a Harbor Seal off some rocks there.
Derek Holzapfel
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Transient orcas T020 and T021 were headed west in the morning east of Race Rocks. The T049A's and T049B's were south of Victoria harbour at the same time and foraged throughout the area all day. I left the T049A group at 1545 near William Head pointed east.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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Just in case you have not been told T20 and T21 Race Rocks area going West at 1115. T49A and friends off Victoria all Day.
Ron Bates, MMRG, Victoria, B.C.

November 26, 2010

Ron Bates of MMRG in Victoria, BC relayed this report from Mark Malleson: T49A's (Transient orcas) off Victoria going S.W. 1615. Mallard says there is a new calf.
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Thanks to Jeff (LaMarche) for spotting the Transients while at Ogden Point breakwater. Saw the T049A's and T049B's south of the Victoria Harbour entrance feeding on a probable seal. Left them @ 1615 headed west for Albert Head.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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Jeff LaMarche (Eagle Wing Tours) was walking along the downtown Victoria breakwater with his kids at about 3:15 pm, and just off the end of the breakwater five Transient orcas appear - totally cool!

November 25, 2010

Nov. 25 - 28 - First sighted this whale on November 25 (Thanksgiving) about 0830 in Eld Inlet across from Sunset Beach (Evergreen State College Beach).
Sighted again in morning of November 27 and 28 traveling south towards Mud Bay and north towards Flap Jack Point. May have an injury on back near tail. This whale appears to be alone.
Phil Wozniak, Olympia, WA

November 24, 2010

I wanted to let you know we saw a whale sighting in Budd Bay at 8:48 a.m. (11/24) viewing from the west shore of the bay. A surfacing marine mammal rose up 4 times heading north. The interval of surfacing was about 2-3 minutes. Three adults saw the mammals. I did not see any dorsal fins but my daughter did report seeing a dorsal fin on the third surfacing. We are located at 27th Avenue NW Olympia. I also learned that a friend, Kyle Lintz who lives on Eld Inlet saw a whale the following day and reported it on his Facebook page.
Mark Kenny & Mary Looker

November 23, 2010

Sandy Buckley and I just saw three transients at Hannah Heights - SW San Juan Island - one female, one male and a calf - slow travel / resting. Heading east (down island).
Giles
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Orca Network received a call from Mary Butler, reporting a sighting of an unknown whale species (but not an orca) from Mendocino, CA. They saw the whale from a bluff at Headlands State Park. She said it was about 20' long, in a small cove below them, just below the surface. It didn't dive or surface enough to see any pec fins or flukes, so they weren't able to tell what kind of whale it was. As they watched it appeared to be heading out of the cove toward the open ocean.

November 22, 2010

Amy Carey of Vashon Island, WA called around 9:20 this morning after she got a call from someone who may have seen some tall black dorsal fins off Pt. Robinson, Vashon Island.

November 21, 2010

Heard from Jeff Lamarche via Facebook: We had J's & K's plus one Humpback off Constance Bank yesterday afternoon (11/21).
Jim Maya, Maya's Charters, San Juan Island, WA
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I spotted what turned out to be J's, K's, and L87 south of Victoria in the morning. They were foraging throughout the area all day. There was also one humpback seen in the area of Constance Bank, south of Victoria, B.C. (BCX1057).
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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A humpback was sighted outside Telegraph Cove, B.C. Thanks to this community's remarkable volunteer efforts, we were able to ID the whale as "Arial" (BCY0767 and in fact know that Arial is Houdini's (BCX0022) 5th known calf, born in 2007. Note that the ID could be determined from the following flank shot. We are fortunate that, with the work of the past 7 years, we know the humpbacks that well.
Jackie Hildering, Biologist / Marine Educator, Earthling Enterprises

November 20, 2010

Approximately 5 Orca sighted 3/4 mile off Roads End, near Lincoln City, OR (45 deg 00.6N / 124 deg 01' W) traveling south at 0930, just transiting south bound. Too far out to tell if there were any males.
Ken Swaggart, Lincoln City, OR
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1820 - a few K pod calls on Pt. Townsend hydrophone. 2141 - very faint Resident calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone. 2319 - faint J pod calls just now on Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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I am hearing very faint calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone at 9:42pm.
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo, FL
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We just (12:40 pm) saw (from our house/overlook on shore at Pilot Point (47 52 23.19N - 122 30 55.85W) a pod of 5-6 orcas (some breaching; at least one youngster) heading north towards Point No Point. We have seen whales previously from this location.
Dave and Sherri Fuller
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Orca Network received a call this morning from Tony Wilke, WA State Ferries - the Ferry Puyallup on the Edmonds/Kingston run saw three orcas (1 male, 1 female, 1 calf) between Apple Cove Pt. & Pt. Edwards, heading NE slowly at 7:20 am.
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Sighted a pod of orcas: several females with a baby, about 7:20 am about 100 feet from the Edmond Kingston Ferry, 10-15 minutes after leaving Edmonds. Orcas were traveling east, opposite direction to ferry. We saw them swimming at a steady speed, the top fins of several females, and the full body of a baby with a white section on the lower back body; no male fins sighted.
Bruce Semple

November 19, 2010

Brad Hanson and Candice Emmons of NOAA Fisheries NWFSC updated us with their whale encounter in Admiralty Inlet: The orcas were still heading up Admiralty, they left them at 3:50 pm off Double Bluff, but they were not going anywhere fast. They IDd many Js and Ks, but they were spread out all over the place making it difficult to find and ID them all. They were able to collect five samples during the day: 3 prey samples, 1 fecal sample, and 1 possible regurgitation sample.
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The orcas were off the Eglon beach by my house about 1215 pm. There were about 8 or 9 that I could count. There are a ton of salmon out there. I saw an Eagle grab a huge one out of the water yesterday around the Orcas.
Marion Mckenzie Fuller, Eglon, WA
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I'm in Hansville on Skunk Bay, just wanted to report and pod of Orcas feeding off the west end of Double Bluff north of the shipping lanes at 3:30 pm. We're watching through binoculars. One large male and it looks like 3 or 4 females. Going back and forth, some tail slaps. Looks like maybe a research vessel that may be scooping whale poop -- just a guess , it's staying well away from the pod.
Kate Higgins, Hansville, WA
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I went out to the SW side of Whidbey in an attempt to find the rest of the spread out groups of Southern Residents to assist NOAA Fisheries in their attempts to collect samples. I first saw a few fins in the far distance, between Double Bluff and Pt. No Point, mid-channel at 2 pm, and Brad was with this group. I only saw 1 - 2 additional orcas from my vantage point at Mutiny Bay, they were closer to the Double Bluff side of the channel. I also saw 1 Steller sea lion in N. Mutiny Bay at 2 pm and another in S. Mutiny Bay at 2:30 pm. I headed further south, and finally saw a few more fins and spouts at 2:50 pm from Double Bluff - they were just coming up to Point No Point from the south. There were ~4 orcas in this group, including 1 very large male with a J1 shaped fin but were way too far for positive IDs or photos. I watched as they passed Pt. No Point, and saw a breach over by Hansville. I looked for more whales further north and south, but the rain and darkness prevented me from seeing any other fins out there today.
Susan Berta, Orca Network
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Brad Hanson of NOAA Fisheries called and said they found a small group of ~6 So. Residents spread out and traveling east off Point No Point at 12:38 pm. By 1 pm he determined they were heading NW into Admiralty Inlet. They followed them and were successful collecting several fish scale samples and a possible regurgitation sample. They found a few more scattered groups - mainly around the Pt. No Point area over the course of the next few hours, with some milling but main direction of travel seemed to be NW up Admiralty Inlet.
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At 12:45 pm Alisa Brooks called again, and said after losing sight of the [orcas] for a few hours, she finally saw the big splash of a breach over by Point No Point, and was able to see a few spouts as well.
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South of the Eglon (mid-way between Pt. No Point & Kingston, Kitsap Peninsula) boat ramp we sighted at least 10 orcas going north at 12:00 PM. They were about 500 yards off shore and some were out in the south bound shipping lanes. There is at least one male and looks like a small one.
Tom Banks, Eglon , WA
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We just moved to a house on Picnic Point in Edmonds and had our first Orca sighting this morning about 10:30.
Kelly Graves, Edmonds, WA
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Alisa Brooks called at 10:05 am, with a report of orcas south of the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry lanes, and moving west, closer to the Whidbey side.
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Tom Dennis, 1st officer on the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry called us again this morning at 8:44 am with a report of a large display of orcas, spread out and milling in the vicinity of the ferry lane.
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Veronica von Allworden of Langley called to relay a report from her husband Eric, who at was on the Mukilteo/Clinton Ferry this morning and said at 8:30 am the ferry had to stop while in the midst of lots of orcas, including 4 or 5 males, breaching and lob-tailing around the halted ferry. They were moving slowly south, toward Possession Point.
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When I came across the water (Mukilteo/Clinton ferry run) this morning on the 7 am crossing, I saw something in the water off in the distance toward the south end of Whidbey that I suspected were orcas but I wasn't sure. Now I know it wasn't just wishful thinking.
Sharon Harper-Peck (via Facebook)
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1:34pm - 3 orca in Sidney Ch. going North.
Ron Bates, MMRG, Victoria, B.C.

November 18, 2010

About 12:15 pm, on the Clinton to Mukilteo ferry run just after noon (Saratoga Passage, S of Gedney Island), several Orcas were seen on both sides of the ferry. I personally saw about 4 to 6 from the south side of the ferry; and I got the impression there were more than just a couple on the north side. One swam directly across from my car window (on the lower deck) about 20 feet from the side of the boat. They appeared to be just playing around. The dark dorsal fins seemed to stay in the same area. Appreciate getting your whale report.
Bobbi Cantwell, Freeland, Whidbey Island, WA
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I picked up the T185's in the afternoon south-east of Race Rocks. I left them at 1540 pointing west after snacking on a probable seal.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria B.C.
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Transient orcas T185, T185A, T186 and T187 off Victoria going West 1530.
Ron Bates, MMRG, Victoria, B.C.
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Thanks to Ed's report, we grabbed our gear and headed out to find the orcas from the east side of Whidbey Island. We drove to East Pt and saw orcas immediately, just reaching East Pt/Fox Spit (just SE of the entrance to Holmes Harbor), heading NW up Saratoga Passage at 3:35 pm. They were VERY spread out, foraging between the south end of Camano Island/Langley, up to North Bluff/Camano Island State Park - they were all going different directions, traveling in small groups, but main travel was to the NW. We saw 5 - 6 adult males, at least 1 juvenile, and a total of about 20 - 30 orcas. We left at about 4:45 pm, as most the whales were reaching the Greenbank/Elger Bay area, however some were still bouncing around further south down Saratoga Passage, so difficult to get an accurate count. A few of the IDs of the orcas we photographed in Saratoga Passage last Wednesday have been confirmed by the Center for Whale Research as K26, K16, K21, and J26. It's been several years since we've had the Southern Residents head up Saratoga Passage. Ray Fryberg of Tulalip Dept. of Fish and Wildlife said they had a strong chum salmon run this year, so maybe that's what they were after.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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At least a half-dozen or so black-fish cavorting just off East-Point (Whidbey Island - Saratoga Passage) just now - 3:30 pm - mid-channel. Some going West - most going East. Looks like they're grazing for some tasty Chinook --or Harbor Seals (depending on their familial persuasion---).
David Day, Fox Spit Road, Whidbey Island
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Orca Network received a call from Ed Young of Whidbey Island Kayaks, reporting 4 orcas, including 1 male, off Langley, SE Whidbey Island, heading NW up Saratoga Passage.
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11:30 am ferry. Orcas (3 or 4) were off to the left of the ferry dock and then out in the middle as ferry traveled toward Mukilteo. They were surfacing or showing tails most of the trip.
Karen Eaton, Greenbank
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Tom Dennis, 1st officer on the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry called at 11:30 am with a report of 4-5 orcas, spread out and milling just south of the ferry lane.
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I saw two orcas just off Edmonds heading north (NE?) towards the Edmonds ferry terminal. They were just off the marina. One was possibly a male as it had a very large fin on it's back. The time was about 10:30 am.
Julia Wiese

November 17, 2010

I heard Southern Resident orca calls on the Port Townsend hydrophones between 8 and 8:35 pm.
Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Joe Bya (sp?) called in a report of 6 - 8 orcas, including 1 male, sighted from the Edmonds/Kingston Ferry at 2:45 pm, milling on the Edmonds side.

November 16, 2010

Approx 4:10 PM: On the Southworth to Fauntleroy (West Seattle) Ferry, just past Vashon Island. Many [orcas], males, females, and juveniles, by the look of it. I'm assuming this is J-Pod as I saw a whale that looked like photos I've seen of J1 (Ruffles). There were 2 or 3 whales on the surface at any given time and I even saw one breech fully out of the water off towards the Alki Lighthouse. (feeding on salmon?) The pod looked to be moving basically south westward, towards the break between Blake Island and Vashon.
Scott Kirvan, Seattle
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Catherine Rice called Orca Network to report 5 - 6 orcas heading SW into Colvos Passage (west side of Vashon Island) 100 yards from the Southworth Ferry landing at 4:58 pm.
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~4:30 pm: Just spotted some blows just south of the Fauntleroy-Vashon ferry, close to Vashon.
Stephanie Raymond (via Facebook)
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Brad Hanson of NOAA Fisheries called to report that he and other NOAA researchers met up with the So. Resident orcas in the Seattle area today around 11 am, following them south until they got to Three Tree Pt, where they did a 180 degree turn and headed north. They identified J and K pods, plus L87. They left them late afternoon, still traveling north, just south of Dolphin Pt, NE Vashon Island, and wondering if they might go around the north tip of Vashon and down into Colvos Passage - which they apparently did (see above report).
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Amy Carey called Orca Network with the following reports and updates of the So. Resident orcas in Puget Sound today:
At 10:25 am she had the orcas off the north end of Vashon Island, heading south.
11:45 am: the orcas were approaching Dilworth (NE side of Vashon Island), heading south. She is sure they are Southern Residents, may have seen J1 but still too distant to ID.
12:25 pm - they were south of Dilworth, half way to Three Tree Pt. heading south. Members of J, K and L pods present.
A little before 2:45 this afternoon the whales turned back north toward the north end of Vashon Island.
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Staci Hosum called Orca Network to report the orcas half way across from Vashon Island heading south at 1 pm.
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~10:30 am: Can see at least 2 Orca off Blake Island from our deck in Fauntlee Hills.
~11:30 am: 7 or 8. You can hear them splashing and see them breaching!
Rusty Metty (via Facebook)
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Donna Sandstrom of the Whale Trail called to report watching 12 - 15 orcas at 10:20 am heading south between West Seattle and Vashon Island.
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Chris Kennedy of the WA State Ferries called Orca Network at 9 am to report a sighting from the Bainbridge ferry of a pod of 3 - 12 orcas heading south, 1.4 miles west of Alki Pt.
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Jen at the Seattle Aquarium called Orca Network to relay a report from a visitor who saw "lots of orcas" at 8:45 am from the Bainbridge/Seattle Ferry.
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We spotted many dozen Orcas in Outer Elliott Bay this morning starting around 8:30 am. Many large males, some babies. 47 35.7n, 122 25.8w. Traveling mostly south, but also fishing and swimming in multiple directions.
Bob Kruger, Seattle

November 15, 2010

Karl and Kim Bruder spotted the Transients near Speiden Island. Debbie Sharpe (Center for Whale Research) called to report seeing transients T72, T99, T99A, T99B, AND T99C and then we had T36, T36A, T36B, and her calf, T36B1 off Speiden Island, from 2:45pm to just before 4 pm. T36A does have a calf, but when Dave was in Alaska he found that it seemed to be swimming with a different pod now! She was with Jim Maya, Jeanne Hyde, and Dave Ellifrit.
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Jim Maya called at 3:28 pm to say they were with a pod of Transients just south of Sentinel Island, in Speiden Channel (48 38 245N; 123 08 929W). They were feeding on a Steller sea lion kill, and slowly drifting west.
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Whales (orcas) westbound, Spieden Channel 1410. My guess is Transient's Maya and Jeanne on the way.
Ron Bates, MMRG, Victoria, B.C.
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Orca Network received a call from Mike Waitt, just south of Lagoon Pt, Whidbey Island, reporting a pod of orcas (at least 6) heading slowly north in Admiralty Inlet, quite a ways out, and about 1/4 mile north of the south tip of Marrowstone Island at 2:50 pm.

November 14, 2010

We were disappointed no orcas showed up to celebrate the inaugural run of the new Chetzemoka ferry (Pt Townsend/Keystone-Coupeville run) yesterday, but on the return trip at about 2:30 pm, we did get to see 2 - 4 porpoise - possibly Dall's, but they were too far to confirm species, mid-channel in Admiralty Inlet, a bit closer to the Whidbey side, heading SE.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island

November 13, 2010

Thanks to the BC Cetacean Sighting Network for passing this one along to us:
Time: 16:00
General Location: Just north of Blakely Rock, east of Bainbridge Island
Latitude: 47 degrees 36.016 minutes
Longitude: 122 degrees 28.916 minutes
Sea State: Wind felt on face;wave crests have glassy appearance
Wind Speed: 7 - 10 kts (Gentle Breeze)
Species: Minke Whale
ID Confidence: Certain
Number of individuals seen: 1 (exact)
Animal behaviour: Fast Moving
Sighting Distance: 25-100m
Sighting Platform: Sailboat
Comments: The whale was moving at fairly high speed heading directly south. It breached three times, could not see tail fin, then continued to dive and not resurface.
Chad Weldy, Bainbridge Island, onboard the Kiwi
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Between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. I receive a call from Ivan of the Western Prince that whales were spotted in San Juan Channel heading south. I was able to find them when they approached Cattle Pass. T-63, known as Chainsaw, and two others, one with a notch at the base of the tailing edge. They made a kill just past Goose Island and then continued on out of the pass. Photos and more of the story on my blog. Thanks!
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island

November 12, 2010

I found 12-15 porpoises (undetermined species) in Admiralty Inlet between 4 and 5 pm, in four groups with about a mile between each group, between the north end of Admiralty Inlet, mid-channel, and about a mile off Lagoon Point.
Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Orca Network received a call from John Boyd, who heard a report relayed by another boat captain to Ivan Reiff of Western Prince, of 20+ orcas off Bird Rocks in Rosario Strait, heading north up the Strait at 2:45 pm today.

November 11, 2010



November 10, 2010

Jim Maya called to report seeing at least 3 Humpback whales from Land Bank on west San Juan Island at 3:05 pm Wednesday. They were 4 - 5 miles out, but he could see the blows with his naked eye - the lighting on the blows was amazing!
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I encountered 4 Minke Whales at Eastern Bank on the way back from Port Townsend today. Two of them were cruising side by side, often coming up in unison. Pretty cool! We encountered the whales at about 4:15 PM right at the south end of Eastern Bank. We also observed quite a bit of bait fish jumping out of the water in the area.
Ivan Reiff, Western Prince (via Facebook)
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Resident calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone - faint - heard for only a minute so far.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Vocalizations at Lime Kiln: What am I hearing 4:30pm PST - dolphins? Lasted approx 1 minute, now gone.
Suzy Roebling, Florida
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At 1:15 p.m. due east of Lilliwaup, WA on Hood Canal: A series of large whale blows, looking much those of a gray whale. The whale did not show much of itself, so I cannot confirm the I.D.
-Joe Dlugo, Lacey, WA.
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I read the report (in the Nov. 12 Orca Network Whale Report) about the gray whale sighting in Hood Canal. I also saw something like a blow in front of the Glen Ayre Resort on 101, just north of Hoodsport on Wed. the 10th about 11:45a.m. I almost turned back, but noticed a lot of fish and seal activity in the water, so thought maybe it was just a seal eating a salmon, as they often kick up the water. But this sighting confirms my suspicions!!
Jeni Gray, Hood Canal

November 9, 2010



November 8, 2010

I was at Bush Point today hoping that I might see Orca Whales, as it was such a beautiful day to watch for them. At 2:05 I saw a Minke whale traveling south.
Sherry Joyner, Whidbey Island

November 7, 2010

Found T087 and T088 near Race Rocks in the afternoon heading west.
Mark Malleson, Victoria, B.C.
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I watched a small group of harbor porpoise from the ferry while it was at the Lopez Island ferry landing afternoon ~3pm. The group was a fair distance maybe 400m or so and I was not able to get a good handle on the number though I did pick up at least one mother-calf pair. They appeared to be foraging, until splitting into 2 groups and moving away. One traveled northward toward Shaw Island.
Frances C. Robertson, Researcher and Marine Mammal Observer

November 6, 2010

My last scheduled trip 1100-1400 today, (as far as I know) no Orca off Victoria. Humpbacks, sea lions, seals, and Eagles.
Ron L Bates, MMRG, Victoria, B.C.

November 5, 2010

2229 - hearing faint calls now on Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Brad Hanson picked me up in the NOAA research zodiac at Lagoon Point (west Whidbey Island) at 1:20 pm, and in about 15 minutes we saw two breaches a few miles to the south toward Foulweather Bluff, which aptly describes the drizzly skies. Soon we could see occasional blows, fins and splashes miles away to the east and south. We first found L82 with her distinctive crooked dorsal and her new baby L116. For the next 3.5 hours we traveled only a few miles, finding members of all three pods, including L47 and L115, K13, J42, J30, L91, K16, J8, L88, L72 and L105 and J14, in that order. These IDs are preliminary and not all inclusive, awaiting confirmation of IDs by the Center for Whale Research. We saw a few more breaches and spyhops, and lots of foraging and socializing, probably mostly socializing, because other than a single salmon scale we didn't find any remains or fecal matter to determine prey. The whales were moving slowly and very spread out in groups of one to four, all across Admiralty Inlet for several miles north to south, no doubt calling constantly as they moved gradually north. We left them back we started at Lagoon Point at 4:45 pm.
Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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After receiving reports of Southern Resident orcas heading north in Admiralty Inlet, Howard headed out to meet up with Brad Hanson & the NOAA boat, while I went to the west side of Whidbey Island to try to locate the whales in the fog and drizzle from the shoreline. After looking for quite some time, at 1:35 pm I finally located a fin or two from the north end of Mutiny Bay, SW Whidbey island. They were mid-channel, heading north - but VERY spread out, few and far between, with a lot of fog rolling in and out making sighting them from land difficult. I went further north and again saw a fin or two heading north at 2:10 off Bush Pt, where I could also just barely make out the NOAA boat in the fog. I gave up at that point, but apparently missed getting to see some come closer to shore later (see report below)! When I got back I tuned into the Pt. Townsend OrcaSound hydrophone, and heard the first calls at about 4:50 pm, and listened until around 6 pm when ship noise drowned them out and the calls got fainter as the whales continued north.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Saw [orcas] from Bush Pt. around 3:30 or so. I'm guessing they numbered somewhere in the vicinity of 12 to 15 (hard to tell with the fog and they were pretty spread out). Just beautiful!
Dawn Ritter, Freeland, Whidbey Island
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4:30 pm - watching from Lagoon Point on Whidbey, [orcas] are heading north today.
Betsy Bayley, Lagoon Pt, Whidbey Island
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Patty Michak called Orca Network to report seeing the orcas at 11:30 am from Hansville/Pt. No Point, N. Kitsap Peninsula, heading north closer to the Whidbey Island side.
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Orca Network received a call from someone on the Edmonds/Kingston Ferry at 8:55 am, reporting "orcas all over the place" in the ferry lanes, heading north.

November 4, 2010

At 5:50pm Marian Fuller called from Kingston to report at least six orcas headed south past Eglon Beach, headed to Apple Tree Cove. Four were close to the beach and two more were out in the shipping lane.
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I was still hearing calls on the hydrophones at 6:45a.m. As soon as it got light I went looking but could not find the whales. At 8:45 a.m. I was still hearing calls, faint. I went out on the Western Explorer zodiac and we located the whales at the southern end of Eastern Bank at 11:20. They were spread for miles and slowly heading south toward Puget Sound. Here is who I identified: J-8, J-16, J-22, J-26, J-27, J-28, J-31, J-32, J-34, J-37, J-38, J-39, J-42, J-46, K-13, K-20, K-33, K-25, K22, L-27, L-78, L-83, L-86, L-95, L-105, L-106, L-110, L-112. We left the whales at 12:49 with Ft. Flagler lighthouse in one direction and a submarine in the other. See my blog for more about the trip. Thanks!
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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After receiving word from the Center for Whale Research that the Southern Residents were heading into Admiralty Inlet at 1 pm, we got the word out and gathered our gear and headed for the boat. We departed Lagoon Pt. at 1355, and within 5 or 10 minutes found the orcas spread out in small groups scattered across Admiralty Inlet. We initially saw some J pod whales, and noted other small groups in the distance in front of Admiralty Head, Port Townsend, and south of Lagoon Pt. We began the ordeal of trying to get ID photos of each group, difficult when they are spread out so far! By 1440 the leaders were off Bush Pt. At 1500 we noticed increased Coast Guard activity on the water and spied a sub coming in. At 1507 we could see the leaders spouting near Hansville, heading south toward Pt. No Point, while others were north of Double Bluff on the Whidbey side. At 1611 we had J1 off Double Bluff - he had been foraging and as he passed by we both picked up a distinct poop odor, and were hoping to score a scat sample but unfortunately couldn't find it while it was still afloat (time to get Sweet Pea trained to be our poop sniffing dog!). At 1635 we left the whales as the trailers approached Point No Point (NE Kitsap Peninsula), hdg SE in small groups spread out over several miles. We are still going over our photographs, but so far have IDd whales from all three pods, including: J1, J8, J16, J19, J22, J26, J30, J34, J42, K14, K22, K26, K36, K42, and L88 and L92.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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4:41 P.M. A small group of Orcas are just passing Point No Point.
Judy Anderson Roupe (via Facebook & phone call)
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Following the 'Orca call' at 1.20 pm that whales were off Port Townsend Marine Science Center, I watched numerous well spread out Southern Residents pass by Bush Point between 2.30 pm and 3.30 pm. Most were traveling steadily south although I saw occasional foraging, a couple of breaches, a lobtail or two and a nursing Mum waiting patiently for the little one to feed. The whales were too far out for good photos, but some may help ON to ID some of the trailers while they (Susan and Howard) were trying to cover those 'up front'.
Sandra Pollard, SSAMN, Freeland, Whidbey Island
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I was out kayaking today at Bush Point and ran into Sandra Pollard who said there were reports of Orcas from Port Townsend and that she thought she saw your boat go past, but at that moment we didn't see any so I decided to pull over at the other public access on the other side of the restaurant and started to see some out pretty far and then everywhere!! Some quite close to Bush Point - I was over the moon as this was my first sighting in the wild - I have only lived here for ten years! They just kept coming by and I could see you guys out there getting such a show! Then I drove down to Wahl Rd and saw you (I think) and the show went on - they were a bit further out but there were times when I couldn't see your boat because they were all around you! What a day you must have had just extraordinary! You must have amazing shots if your lens wasn't covered in mist from them blowing all over you. I saw a great breach right near your boat from Bush Point.
Jeanne Brennan, Whidbey Island
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I live in Lagoon Point on Whidbey Island west side and today there were multitudes of whales heading south. The parade lasted for over half an hour and there were at least 25 (probably many more) of different sizes. Incredible sight! I am not knowledgeable about pods etc but there certainly seemed to be a lot of them stretched out across the water for as far as the eye could see.
Betsy Bayley, Whidbey Island
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The Scotts at Bush Pt. called Orca Network at 2:57 pm to report 8 - 10 orcas off Bush Pt, mid-channel heading south.
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Posted at ~2:50 pm: Steilacoom ferry spotted several [orcas] headed south down puget sound at Marrowstone Island.
Lori Clark (via Facebook)
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Mike Waitt of Greenbank (S. of Lagoon Pt) called at 2:25 pm to report sighting 3 orcas so far, 1 closer to the Whidbey side and a few more closer to Marrowstone Island, heading slowly south. As he was leaving the message he saw a few more surface into view.
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Karen at Lagoon Pt. called to report 2 large orcas and 1 smaller one mid-channel, heading south past Ft. Flagler at 2:04 pm.
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John Rogstad from WA State Ferries called Orca Network to relay a report from the Ferry Steilacoom II on the Pt. Townsend/Keystone run, which reported having to slow the ferry as they crossed Admiralty Inlet at 1:43 pm as they found themselves in the middle of a large pod of at least 10 and definitely more, working the rip tide and heading south slowly.
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~1:45 pm: Orcas on Port Townsend hydrophone!
Gayle Swigart (via Facebook)
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Chrissy McClean of the Pt. Townsend Marine Science Center called at 1:35 pm, reporting a small group of J pod orcas between Pt. Townsend & Keystone, heading south.
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small group - maybe ~10 orcas heading south near Ebey's landing about 1-2 miles out at 1:25pm.
Al Luneman, Coupeville
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1:24 pm: Orcas are chattering on the Port Townsend hydrophone.
Jane Cogan, San Juan Island
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Orca Network received a call from Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research relaying a report that the So. Residents were heading into Admiralty Inlet at 1 pm.
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~12:45 pm: They are coming your way - They are at Eastern Bank headed for Admiralty!!
Simon Pidcock (via Facebook)
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7:05 am: still hearing intermittent faint calls on Lime Kiln hydrophones, even over the ship noise.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Very faint calls coming from Lime Kiln - Hearing calls increasing 5:43 am PDT.
Suzy Key Largo, Florida
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K pod - slow, moving south - Lots of S16 calls recorded automatically during a brief period: 00:33:08-00:35:27. It's not clear which direction they were traveling, but there was a (inadvertent) detection of a couple S16s at Lime Kiln just after 2 a.m..
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/BeamReach

November 3, 2010

It is always so nice to capture a pic of one of my favourite species of whale with Mt. Baker as a backdrop. That is exactly what occurred around 1pm while on the Ocean Magic trip out of Victoria, BC. We had 7 Humpback whales sighted in a three hour trip just east of Race Rocks. Now that is something to smile about. The 7 seemed to be mostly whales we had observed over the past 6 weeks or so. Split- Fin, Split -Fluke were there as well as Heather, and what appears to be her 2010 calf since it is always at her side. Sunny days are a welcome bonus in the month of November along with the whales.
Marie ,' Orca-Magic,' Prince of Whales. Victoria BC.

November 2, 2010

After having left the area for over a week, the Center staff received word that the Southern Residents were once again inbound from the Strait of Juan de Fuca today. Excited to see them again, Dave Ellifrit and Debbie Sharpe took Shachi out and encountered the leaders just off Lime Kiln State Park at 1343. There was lots of milling and some obvious signs of successful fishing. As the day progressed, the residents eventually started converging into larger, tighter groups and we finally departed the whales at 1751 off Kellett, just after a beautiful sunset. It was nice to see so many whales present and to see that our Southern Resident calves seem to all be doing well.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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The waters were flat calm, and then I get a message from my buddy Ron (thanks!) that Residents were seen around Pile Point. I began hearing very clear calls on Lime Kiln so I knew they were coming this way! So it took very little coaxing to get my wife to abandon the paint brushes and ladders and we jumped into our boat and were going to head south. BUT --- whales were already approaching Open Bay, so we were more than content to just shut down the boat and enjoy the peace and quiet, listening to the chuffing sounds of orcas milling about. First we were able to ID J34 Doublestuff, and he is getting big! Then the distinctive sound of J8 Speiden. We saw Ruffles off in the distance heading towards the western side of Haro Strait. Then J26 Mike gave us a start as he surfaced after a 9 minute dive. Shortly afterwards while we were distracted by another whale, Mike decided to show off an breached about 100 yards behind us--we saw the tail end and a humongous splash! We were so relaxed as small groups of whales continued heading towards Kellet Bluff, only to turn and mill back south, and then continue on northward. The sun was waning and we were thinking it was time to make the very short run from Kellet back to Snug Harbor when we heard many blows coming towards us. We looked, and were treated to a rollicking group of about 10-12 L Pod whales (and J30 Riptide too) passing about 130 yards from us. We were so excited-- this group was definitely in socializing mode!!! As they approached, they began rolling on the surface and began to vocalize quite loudly for about 20 seconds. Lots of squeals and even a few razberries! This group was so tactile, rubbing on each other and we saw several "sea snakes"! The cherry on the top of the experiences was to see not one, not two, but THREE orcas spyhopping simultaneously!!! We left the whales about 1730 hours at Kellet Bluff, with most of the whales continuing north.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist aboard Wave Walker (our boat, not the whale!)
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Listening to So. Resident orca calls on the OrcaSound hydrophone at 5:15 pm - have been listening to both Lime Kiln & OS since 1:54 pm - sounds like they are having a superpod party!
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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From 2:30-4:00 PM I watched members of all three Southern Resident pods slowly head north from Land Bank on the west side of San Juan Island. They were doing lots of milling and socializing along the way.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island
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No word when we left the dock on Orcas, then we heard about a few Transients, then they turned into Residents. Calm seas, sunny, lots and lots of Orcas - What a day! We left them at 2:00 near Lime Kiln Lighthouse, heading north. The last ones went by the lighthouse about an hour ago (~4:15 pm).
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Charters, San Juan Island
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3:33 pm: ORCA AT ORCASOUND 3:50 pm: ORCA AT LIME KILN 4:09 pm: GREAT CALLS AT BOTH ORCASOUND AND LIME KILN
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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3:45 pm: Awesome calls on the hydrophone - right now!!
Phyllis Crumrine (via Facebook)
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~3:45 pm: Nice to hear them, I've been missing their voices. They are at OrcaSound now too, more audibly.
Alisa Lemire Brooks (via Facebook)
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1511: Slow clicks and distant calls at Orcasound. Perhaps pods are moving north, or more are southbound with some members as far north as Orcasound?
Scott Viers, BeamReach/OrcaSound
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~2:45 pm: Orcas on Lime Kiln hydrophones!
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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L82 with L116 off of False Bay, San Juan Island in the afternoon..
Mark Malleson, Victoria, B.C.
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1:49pm: J's and L's ID'd so far (off W. San Juan Island).
Ron Bates (via Facebook)
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Transient killer whale calls were automatically detected this morning at the OrcaSound (NW San Juan Island) hydrophones between 5:00 and 5:12.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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Howard observed four Dall's Porpoise swimming north about 1 mile off Lagoon Pt., west Whidbey Island, between 12:30 - 1 pm.
Orca Network, Whidbey Island

November 1, 2010

Six transient orca whales were off the west side of Orcas Island late this afternoon traveling south down San Juan Channel. They were all alone, not a sound to be heard except for the powerful exhales from the whales.
Deer Harbor Charters (via Facebook)




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