October 2008 Whale Sightings

October 31, 2008

I am on the Seaspan Champion returning from a trip to Kitimat. On the way up we had a several Humpback sightings. The first was in Blackfish Sound near Alert Bay. A little further on (while I was asleep unfortunately, we had a number of them breaching and sounding a little ways off the tug.
Mike Randall, Seaspan Champion
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I was taking the port townsend to keystone ferry Halloween at 2:15 p.m. A large group of orcas were spotted by the captain-I couldn't keep track of how many animals, but my fellow boat-mates and I estimate 20-30. They were heading west out the straits and there were several adults who were jumping and clearing the water and doing twists and flips. I also saw at least 2 babies.
Hilary Culverwell
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Thought you might enjoy this quick blog entry that presents a 5 minute clip from the midnight recording made as killer whales passed Port Townsend (very early morning Halloween day). If any of you have heard this sort of call repetition (~40 S19s).
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach, Seattle
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Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research reported hearing L pod calls on the Pt. Townsend hydrophone at 12:20 am, likely heading south.
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Lots and lots of clear S19 calls on Port Townsend hydrophone just after midnight on Halloween morning. Don't think I've ever heard S19 repeated so often and steadily. Still hearing calls now 12:27.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach, Seattle
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12:45 PM Halloween: 12-15 Orcas went by the end of Adams road (S. Bush Pt, W.Whidbey Island), spread out, cruising, lob-tailing and heading north in the current line. 3-4 young males, lots of females, 1 or 2 juveniles--hanging to the Whidbey side of the Sound.
Christina Baldwin, Freeland, Whidbey Island
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Was talking to my brother on the phone around 1PM today when suddenly; I heard him say, WHALES! When I said how many, his reply was, LOTS! He called me back and described Orcas very close near shore; heading north along the Bush Point boathouse spread out towards lighthouse and restaurant. Huge dorsal fins and sizes of all kind. Many smaller orcas also. Whales not breaching but surface (periscoping) activity.
Robert Stonefelt, Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island
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Orca Network received a call from Christina Baldwin at 1 pm (see above report); a call from Bev Wenthin of Bush Pt. reporting a pod of whales heading north past Bush Pt. at 1:12 pm; a call from Dan Fouts at 1:18 pm, reporting a group of 4 and another group of 3 orcas heading north, just north of Bush Pt (Spyglass Ln), and two anonymous callers reporting dozens of whales, spread out heading north past Lagoon Pt. at 1:45 & 1:49 pm. Amy Traxler of the Whale Museum passed along a sighting they had received of a huge group of whales off Bush Pt. at 1 pm. At 2:43 pm Chrissy McLean of the Pt. Townsend Marine Science Center called to report they were hearing faint calls on OrcaSound's PTMSC hydrophone.
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Hearing faint calls, S16s on Port Townsend Hydrophone at 1438.
Marla Holt
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After receiving the first few calls, we took off to try to find the whales. Howard went by sea with Jill and Clarence Hein (his report below), and I went by land, finding the [orcas] at Lagoon Pt. just as I drove up at 1:40 pm - a breach signalling me I was in the right place at the right time! They were spread out from the Whidbey side to mid-channel, MANY whales, some smaller tight groups, a little splashing and breaching but mostly just fast travel north through choppy waters. By 2:25 pm they were off Admiral's Cove, still heading north. At ~3 they were off Ft. Casey, very spread out. By 3:15 they were half way to Pt. Partridge, some of the pods were lined up abreast, but still spread out, as they continued north.
Susan Berta, Orca Network
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After getting calls reporting orcas at Bush Point, we launched at Keystone at 1:50 and headed south into heavy seas. After moving south about a mile, at 2:20 we saw two male dorsal fins just southeast of us, throwing up huge rooster tails in the whitecaps. Then another dozen or so appeared in the next ten minutes, all heading in a line between Lagoon Point and Keystone. They were mostly just traveling north, with some foraging and a few breaches. We got photos of J1, J34, L73 and J27. The riptide north of Keystone in 20 knot winds prevented us from going any further so we ended the encounter at about 3:00 PM. Due to weather/sea conditions and the whales being very spread out we can only guestimate the number of whales as somewhere between 25 and 50, with J and L pod members confirmed.
Howard Garrett (with many thanks to Jill and Clarence Hein), Orca Network

October 30, 2008

At 1700 hrs., as we were traveling West to Race Rocks we found two Humpback whales 2.2 nm due East of Race Rocks Lighthouse. The pair of HB's were swimming in large concentric circles and were deep diving (8 min. dives). They were feeding on a large herring ball because all around at the surface were hundreds of Auklets, Murres and Gulls. We had flat calm water today with little to no boats anywhere out in the Strait.
Jeff Lamarche, Seafun Safaris
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At 1500 hrs. we came across a very spread out L-pod about 8.5 nm Southwest of Hein Bank. The whales were spread over 5-8 nm East to West as there were boats with the whales just South of Hein Bank at this time. The direction of travel was Southeast bound towards Port Townsend. Great vocalizations with the western group which consisted mostly of L-pod. After about 20 minutes of viewing L-pod, we continued to the East. 1.8 nm South of the Romeo Buoy, we encountered most of J-pod with some of the K's mixed in. Lots of surface activity and vocals with this Eastern group as well. We did not see the L-12's anywhere today? We left scene at 1615 hrs. approximately 2 nm Northeast of Dungeness Spit, whales were still traveling Southeast.
Jeff Lamarche, Seafun Safaris
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Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research called to confirm that yes, J, K and L pods were all present today. They saw whales headed south off the west side of the island this morning (J's & L's), very spread out. They went out to do a survey, and K pod joined J & L pods in the afternoon. They left them around 3 pm, west of Hein Bank, heading south.
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales called to report J pod off San Juan Island at 10:30 am, heading south from Lime Kiln State Park. He called with an update at 3:45 pm to report it was J's & L's heading down San Juan Island this morning, then J, K & L pod this afternoon heading south toward Dungeness.
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I am hearing what sounds to be J pod on Orcasound hydrophone, now, at 9:50am, some faint calls and clicks. 11:40 am - I am again hearing faint calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone - cannot quite make out who is there, likely J's since they passed by there an hour and a half or so ago?
Barbara Ellingsen
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Was listening for last 20 mins (9:50-10:20) on Orcasound. Now hearing the same calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Chrissy McLean, PTMSC
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Hearing faint calls on LK phone now (10:25), moving south?
Marla Holt
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I recorded them at Orcasound (uploading now), missed first pass at Lime Kiln, but have been recording fainter calls more recently at Lime Kiln (noon and later).
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach, Seattle

October 29, 2008

The 1pm POW Zodiac out of Victoria found two Humpback whales today in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. They were south west of Race Rocks. One was 'kelping' which was fun to watch. These two animals were quite curious about us. After their 3-5 mins deep dives we found them on a couple of occasions, all too close.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic
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Mike Waitt called Orca Network at 11:10 am to report a pod of 6-7 orcas heading north past Bush Pt, west Whidbey Island.
Howard & Susan, Orca Network

October 28, 2008

While out on the 10am POW Zodiac, skippered by Mark, we observed three Humpbacks south of Race Rocks off Constance Bank through the binoculars. The three 'Humpies' were amazing, doing what they do best 'Fluking' just before a long dive. We encountered K pod. Suddenly we were surrounded by Orca. It became apparent that there were several members of K pod foraging and some heading toward Race Rocks. They did however change directions on several occasions and finally headed south east. Guess who else was with the K's. Onyx, L 87. 15 year old, Lobo, K 26 made two close passes.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Prince of Whales
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2 orcas (including 1 adult male), sighted at 46 11 49 N/12413 10 (off mouth of Columbia River) at ~0900. Adult male had distinct bent tip of dorsal fin (visible in photo). I did not have a camera upon initial sighting. Photo was taken at greater distance but dorsal is still clear as well as a portion of the saddle patch.
Paula von Weller
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Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research relayed a report from Mark Malleson of Victoria, of K pod off Constance Bank at around 11 am.

October 27, 2008

My co-worker, Brenden, saw many Orcas about 2 nm to the Southeast of our location (2.5 nm Southeast of Constance Bank). Upon investigation, we identified them as K-pod. The animals were very spread out milling about 4 nm South of Constance Bank. We left K-pod at 1820 hrs. still spread out headed slowly Southeast as we watched an amazing multi-colored sunset to the West. At the same time we were viewing the Humpbacks (1645), Simon (Ocean Ecoventures) picked up two male Transients 3 nm Northwest of our location (Constance Bank). Simon believes the I.D.'s were U38 and U39, which are California Transients. At 1645 hrs. we picked up 3 Humpbacks 2.5 nm Southeast of Constance Bank. Among the group included BCY 0160 (Heather) and two others which we did not identify, however, they were X Humpbacks (solid black flukes). The three animals were very active at the surface often bringing their heads right out of the water. Full profile on the tail as they went on their deep dives which lasted approx. 7.5 minutes. At 1750 hrs., on his way home to Cowichan Bay, Simon (Ocean Ecoventures) picked up a large Minke Whale 2 nm South of Trial Island headed West.
Jeff Lamarche & Brenden Onorato, Seafun Safaris

October 26, 2008

3 greys were seen in Crescent Bay west of Port Angeles. Also, friends who were paddling from Neah Bay to Port Angeles spotted several greys and humpbacks near Sail Rock just east of the Makah Reservation.
Rob Casey
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The 12.15 pm Ocean Magic out of Victoria, found K pod off San Juan. Many members were present but still we noticed an absence of K 21 and his sister K 40. The whales that were present were busy heading north for a while and then south.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Prince of Whales.
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Calls started at 20:25 (12:25 over there - Pacific time) at lime kiln hydrophone, about 45 minutes later at OrcaSound . Now, at 21:25, not hearing them anymore. My guess is K-pod, since they are around the most these days.
Jette Hope, the Netherlands
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We thought we'd missed out on the calls, but when we tuned into OrcaSound at 2 pm we heard many loud calls and a little boat noise. We looked at OrcaCam at 2:25 pm and saw whales and boats in front of the Center for Whale Research, looked like they were heading south. At 2:35 pm they were off Bellevue Pt. but we never heard any further calls off Lime Kiln or OrcaSound.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network
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We were so thrilled to hear that K-Pod was on the west side of San Juan yet again (making this 6 days out of the last 7). They were spotted by Captain Ivan near Eagle Point in the morning, and like they've done the previous 3 days, they headed up island towards Kellett Bluff, only to turn back around and speed swim back down towards Lime Kiln. A beautiful spyhop by new matriarch K11 as we first came on scene had all aboard "oohing" and "aahhing". It is such a treat to see the whales still hanging around---must be a late run of chum salmon passing through?
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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We picked up K-pod just South of the Beaumont Shoal cardinal marker (mid-Haro) at approx. 1630 hrs. The whales were spread into their respective family groups with K-11 leading the way, while K-14 and little K-42 were well South of the main group, with big brother Lobo (K-26) following close behind. No playing or vocals today. They were on a mission as they headed West at speeds between 8-11 kts. I was the last boat to be with them and we departed the scene at 1730 hrs. 2.5nm South of Trial Island. They continued to the Southwest at a very high rate of speed although they had 3.3 kts. of current in their favour.
Jeff Lamarche, Seafun Safaris

October 25, 2008

Once up by Spieden we heard of humpbacks at Hein Bank, so we headed south to see them. We had a wonderful experience watching two humpbacks around Hein Bank from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. They were slowly surfacing and then doing long dives of about 8 minutes each dive.
Nan Simpson, Western Prince
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The afternoon departure took us East of Victoria into the San Juan's. Two Humpback Whales were spotted by Island Explorer III just West of Hein Bank traveling Westwards. After spending 3-4 surfacings with the pair of HB's we left them at 1710 hrs. 2.7 nm SE of Seabird Pt. (Discovery Island) still headed West.
Jeff Lamarche, Seafun Safaris
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The morning departure took us 46 nm West of Victoria to Sombrio Beach (just across from Neah Bay - on the Canadian Side of the Strait). Upon arrival to Sombrio Pt. we encountered 13-15 ft. swells crashing into the shoreline. Absolutely stunning scenery here with massive Sitka Spruce trees and beautiful sand beaches coupled with huge waves crashing into the rocks at Sombrio Pt. Just to the West of Sombrio Pt., at the Western approaches to Sombrio Beach, we encountered 10-12 Gray whales feeding right in the shallows in the kelp forests. Our encounter lasted from 1200 til 1230 hrs. Along with the Gray's there were lots of surfers enjoying the huge swells coming in from the West.
Jeff Lamarche, Seafun Safaris
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I was a stow away on Western Prince today as I just couldn't bear to see the season drawing to an end - so with no sightings we left Friday Harbor and headed north. We knew there were some T's headed north yesterday (10/24), and then heard a sighting at 9:30 a.m. today near Bedwell Harbour (Pender Island). When we headed home (from Hein Bank - humpback portion of report below), about 1/2 way to Cattle Pass, Ivan looked to the shore along San Juan Island and said, "What is that splash?? There shouldn't be a splash there!" With binoculars he soon spotted black fins, headed north on the shore of San Juan Island! Orca! Soon we were able to identify K Pod! Many K pod whales were headed north along San Juan, porpoising, traveling, and yes, the little K baby was doing a few breaches! L- 87 was also among the K's. We traveled north with the K's from 3:45 - 4:05. What an incredible ending to our trip today!! We heard later that they had turned south by 4:20 p.m.
Nan Simpson, Western Prince
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Kendall Berry called Orca Network to report K pod off Cattle Pass, S. San Juan Island, heading north at 3:30 pm.
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At 1710, from Discovery Island we continued eastwards towards Eagle Pt. where we picked up K-pod. They were all grouped together about 2 nm offshore of Eagle Pt. heading down island. Lots of breaching and vocals as they played and frolicked all together. We had a very short visit with them as the sun was setting at this point. We left them at 1810 hrs. 2 nm SW of the Salmon Bank marker still headed South. Still no sign of K- 40 or K-21?
Jeff Lamarche, Seafun Safaris

October 24, 2008

Jason Wood texted in from his boat he heard calls off of Lime Kiln lighthouse at 1422. No exact location or direction, but calls are not SRKW. Likely transients near by, possibly near Beaumont Shoals. Scott's recording in Seattle and will post to OrcaSound.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach, Seattle

October 23, 2008

On our 1pm Zodiac run we found the Grey Whale that had been reported earlier, at Crescent Beach Washington State. It was a rather small whale that lazily exhailed two to three plumes of mist before arching its back slowly to show the 'knuckles' along the top of the tail stock. No sign of 'fluking' which would have been nice. The colour of the water in this area was an intense sea green. Amazing.
Marie, Orca-Magic
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1550 hrs., we observed most of K-pod and L-87 traveling South in Open Bay. The K-14's (Lea's Group) were in the lead traveling quickly and close to the San Juan Island shoreline. At this point, K-11 (Georgia), the new matriarch of the group was trailing behind and hanging out with L-87 (Onyx). We followed the whales until about 1650 hrs. at which point they started heading offshore from Pile Pt. We broke off contact 1.3 nm offshore of False Bay as the whales were still headed Southeast at this point. We had great sightings and vocals with the K-14's today and both K-pod sprouters, K-25 (Scoter) and K- 26 (Lobo), were playing around with L-87 (Onyx) near the end of our stay. I did not see K-40 or K-21 today or on Sunday in Rosario Strait.
Jeff Lamarche, Seafun Safaris
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Our trip today took us north for wildlife viewing, as the last reports of K pod were that they were headed west and going out the Strait. At 2 p.m. we got word of one orca fin headed north along the west side of San Juan Island! By 2:15 we saw many K pod whales, all traveling north going along at a good clip! We were able to ID Lobo, K-26, K-14, K-36, K-25 as we wound up turning and paralleling the whales. We joined them south of Open Bay and continued back north until we went around Kellet Bluff. We left the whales, still traveling north at 3:20 and there were big blows coming north from the south. We heard later on the radio that the whales had turned and were headed back south by 3:40 p.m. This was another amazing day, where the surprise of seeing the whales again, after deciding maybe they had truly "gone out" for the season, ended in a very magical and appreciated time.
Nan Simpson - Western Prince
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13:48 - S16 calls (K pod?) on Lime Kiln hydrophone. Lots of loud ships moving around nearby - Chum salmon fishers? 1427 - Hearing S16s on Orcasound hydrophone - K pod heading north, fast. No purse seiners around at the moment, so good recording will be up later at Orca Sound. 1530 - Many calls and great clicks, buzzes, and percussive activity now on Orcasound hydrophone. Maybe they turned around and are headed south now?
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach, Seattle
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At around 1:50 pm we began hearing some calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone. We listened for about 10 minutes & they faded away, then later heard calls on the Orca Sound hydrophone. We tuned into the Center for Whale Research's OrcaCam at about 3:40 pm and saw orcas, now heading south off west San Juan Island, and at 4 pm heard calls again off Lime Kiln.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network

October 22, 2008

On our second trip we observed K pod off Middle Bank. It was great to see the little one K42, along side its sibling and the new matriach K 11, Georgia. They seemed to be in a hurry heading out west, but there was time for a breach or two. I forgot to say we saw L87 right with K pod (see photo). I gather he has been a consistant companion to K pod this summer. Must have a girlfriend in this pod.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic
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Just wanted to give the report for the evening; K- pod + L-87 travelling WSW from Middle Bank to 2.5 miles South of Constance Bank. I left them at 1810 doing 8 kts pointed for Crecent Bay/ Race Rocks area. Lots of socializing, tail lobbing, playing in the kelp, 45 minutes straight of beautiful vocals/ echolocation.
Brenden, Seafun Safaris
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Hearing distant calls and whistles at Lime Kiln hydrophone from 17:00-17:25. K pod coming north?
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach, Seattle
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By 2:20 we had searched McArther Bank, near Smith Island, out toward Hein Bank, then toward Middle Bank and bingo! Far in the distance orca fins! By 2:40 we were viewing K-11, Georgia and fins started to appear all around, headed west from San Juan Island. The whales spent a lot of time foraging and breaking off into sub family groups. K-26, Lobo was circling around with K-14 Lea and Yoda and the new littlest of the K's. The energetic little whale flashed his tail stock and fluke right in front of us! Rainshadow passed by, and Cali. It was magical to see the whales, as this time of year it is always as if this "might be the last time this season." We left them at approximately 3:30, but I heard on the radio they were east of Discovery at 4:00 p.m.
Nan Simpson, Western Prince - Naturalist
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By 2:20 pm we had searched McArther Bank, near Smith Island, out toward Hein Bank where we found one Minke.
Nan Simpson, Western Prince - Naturalist

October 21, 2008

We had Transients once again. These animals were seen by the Ocean Magic trip at noon off Bentinck Island in Metchosin, west of Victoria . They were the T 49's and T 36's. A total of six Orca, four T49's and two of the T36's, T 36A and T36A1. It truly is the year of the Transient. They made at least two kills beneath the surface during the time we saw them.
Marie O'Shaughnessy (Orca-Magic)
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I was just down at Fort Casey on Whidbey Island and observed three groups of orcas moving north in Admiralty inlet. The first group consisted of at least 7 (possibly more) orcas with at least one large fin seen in this group. They were only about 100 yards offshore, clearly visible from the bluff I was walking on. They were moving north fairly fast, with the male "porpoising" through the water at times. This group was followed about 150 yards back by at least one large male. Farther out in the passage towards Port Townsend, I saw two more groups of orcas, separated by about 1/2 mile from each other, and each consisting of 4 whales, also moving north, though not as quickly as the first group. One of the whales in the middle group performed several fantastic breaches, visibly completely out of the water before splashing back down in a huge spray. About ten minutes later I saw more breaching farther to the north but could not tell if this was the same group or not. Sighting was about 2:45 - 3 pm.
Dave Sharpe
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Finn Gatewood called Orca Network to report a pod of about 6 orcas heading north past Bush Pt. off west Whidbey Island at 1:15 pm. At 1:25 pm she reported they were not quite to Lagoon Pt., traveling mid-channel with some tail slapping, and she was now seeing more whales.
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Deb Wenthin called Orca Network at 1:24 pm to report 8+ orcas heading north past Bush Pt, between Bush Pt. & Lagoon Pt. closer to the Whidbey/Bush Pt. side , of the Inlet.
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After receiving Finn's call, we headed out to get some ID shots of the whales. We launched from Ft. Casey State Park at 2:25 pm, saw some porpoise at 2:30 pm right off the park, then at 2:40 saw some whale spouts just north of Lagoon Pt, west Whidbey Island (48 07.823N, 122 39.150W). The whales were in at least 2 groups, one closer to Whidbey, the other mid- channel, mainly heading north with some direction changes as they looked like they were doing some foraging. We stayed with the group mid-channel for a bit and confirmed it was K pod , with L 87 still traveling with them. At 3:10 pm we were with a group that was spread out and closer to the Port Townsend side of Admiralty Inlet. We caught up to the group closer to the Whidbey side at 3:30 pm near Ebey's Landing, by 4 pm they were off Ft. Ebey State Park off Partridge Bank (48 13.052N, 122 46.504 W). The whales were tightly grouped at this point, doing some interesting social behavior - spy hops, rolling over, and bringing their heads up out of the water together in a circle - interesting behaviors! We left them at 4:10 pm as they were heading toward mid-channel from Partridge Bank, with a few other orcas spread out on the other side of the channel, and saw a few more porpoise as we headed back.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Dan Dalmeida called Orca Network at 3:30 pm to report a pod of ~6 orcas SE of Ebey's Landing, heading NW up the west side of Whidbey Island, with a boat nearby.
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Greg Sivertsen called Orca Network at 3:48 pm to report a pod of 4 orcas heading north up Admiralty Inlet with one boat nearby.

October 20, 2008

Hearing S16 (K pod) calls faintly on Port Townsend hydrophone. First calls at 16:40. Still hearing now (16:45) and getting louder.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach
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We'd been listening to this hydrophone for the past few hours & weren't hearing anything, until just now (5 pm) finally heard our first faint calls on the Port Townsend hydrophone.
Susan & Howard, Orca Network, Whidbey Island

October 19, 2008

I thought I would send you a photo of K42 in Rosario Strait. This was during his multi-breach session while he was swimming along with K26. In this photo you can see him doing a breach that looked much like a back flip. I took the photograph from the Island Explorer 3.
Naturalist, Bart Rulon
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Between 11 pm and about 12:15 a.m. it sounded like K Pod was traveling down the west side. I listened to the Lime Kiln Hydrophones, then called a friend to the south and she listened to their blows from the shore, as they passed by in Haro Strait. Here's another picture from Sunday of K-42, showing us his belly. When he was with big brother Lobo (K-26), the breaching would be happening, that's where so many of us got lucky to get those belly shots! A couple times, when Lobo would dive, just seconds later K-42 would burst through the surface - looked like some kind of play behavior maybe! Then K-42 would surface with mom for a while and the breaching activity would no longer happen.
Jeanne Hyde, Friday Harbor
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At 1610 hrs., we encountered a very spread out K-pod and L-87, 1.5nm Northeast of the Peapod Islands in Rosario Strait. The whales were foraging the entire time spent on scene (lots of eco- location on the hydrophone). The Orcas were traveling Northeast against the current heading towards Village Pt., Lummi Island. We left them at 1720 hrs., 2nm Northeast of Lawrence Point, Orcas Island. Also, we heard a second hand report from Simon (Ocean Ecoventures) that J-pod (approx. 30 whales) was seen today up in Campbell River (Cape Mudge) headed South.
Jeff Lamarche, Seafun Safaris
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K-Pod!!! After wandering off for a week, K-Pod showed up in Rosario Strait heading north. As we sat and waited for the whales to make their way towards us, we noticed they were spread nearly shore-to-shore in Rosario. Our first sighting was of K25 Lobo, traveling with K42. And this lead to a very exciting discovery by us---K42 is a BOY!!!! He must have breached 24 times or more while we observed him. The first few breaches were with his back to us. The whales were also traveling with honorary K-Pod member L-87, who has been seen with the K's most of the summer. On our trip home, we heard a report that J-Pod had been spotted near the Campbell River, so perhaps they will be in the San Juans in the next 48 hours--keep your eyes and ears open!
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince

October 18, 2008

At Approximately 1615 hrs., T-20 and T-21 were seen traveling West 4.5nm Southeast of Otter Pt. About 1/2 mile to the Southwest, were the T2's, (T2, T2C, T2C1 and T2C2) also headed West in a tight resting pattern. Later in the tour at approx. 1730 hrs. we came across the T46B's and the T49A's right in Pedder Bay. They were in a tight formation doing long dives (4-6 minutes). After surfacing from one of the long dives, one of the T46B's spyhopped with a full grown Harbour Seal in its mouth. (totally intact, but limp). We left the scene at 1800 hrs., as the group of 46B's and 49A's continued West from Race Rocks.
Jeff Lamarche, Seafun Safaris Whale Watching
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Today we encountered around six transients about three miles west of Moss Landing CA hunting sea lions. If I took this picture a second earlier you would be able to see the sea lion in the whale's mouth! We watched the pod hunt and kill one, possibly two sea lions when we saw two humpbacks approaching from the other side of our boat. Once the humpbacks got close, they dove under our boat and reappeared in the middle of all the killer whales. They hung around for about 15 minutes until they trailed off.
Kate Cummings, Deckhand, Sanctuary Cruises
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We encountered T20 and T21 on our first Zodiac trip out this morning. We found them south of Oak Bay Flats foraging slowly. The afternoon trip at 2 pm provided us with more Transient observations. T46's and T49's were swimming along with their little ones off William Head. Further out west past Race Rocks, we found T20 and 21 again as well as the T2's. Looks like every one was eventually heading out west.
Marie O'Shaughnessy (Orca-Magic)

October 17, 2008

The trip on the Ocean Magic took us south of Race Rocks today, where we saw T20 and T21. They were taking very long dives and being elusive. Luckily along came the the T2's which helped keep us occupied during the long waits between surfacing of the other two.
Marie (Orca-Magic)
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Approximately 1600 hrs., 3.7nm SW of Trial Island we picked up two groups of Transients which were headed in an Easterly direction. T-20 & T-21 were traveling together and about 600 yards to the Southwest were some of the T2's. T2, T2C, T2C1 and T2C2, specifically. We spent about 45 minutes with both groups and left them at 1645 hrs., 2.6nm South of Seabird Point (Discovery Island) heading Northeast towards False Bay. The whales were traveling quickly, 6-7 kts., often surfing down the waves as they headed for San Juan Island. We saw no surface activity, it seemed that they were just in traveling mode.
Jeff Lamarche, Seafun Safaris Whale Watching

October 16, 2008

It has been several days since any sightings for us here at Chito Beach (Strait of Juan de Fuca). Today we observed 4 greys of various sizes feeding off the kelp line off of Chito Beach. Lat/Long: 48* 18' 30" 124* 25' 33'. The whales where traveling east toward Sekiu. The largest Grey has mostly white head and tail obviously a female with at least one calf.
Brian Harmon, Chito Beach Resort

October 15, 2008

We had 2 humpbacks 2.5 miles SW Constance Bank doing circles all day, also the T-46's feeding all day off William Head, Victoria B.C. They were picked up at 1030 and remained within the same 3 mile square all day. During the 2 trips I drove out of Victoria we witnessed 4 harbour seal (probable) kills in the A.M then 6 harbour seal (probable) kills plus an attack on a lone Steller Sea lion leaving it injured and bleeding from it's back and mouth. Hungry today guys? They were left 2 miles East of William Head finishing off a meal at 1730.
Brenden, Wild West, Seafun Safaris

October 14, 2008

We had the T41's and T44, a total of three Transient Orca making several kills just off William Head, Metchosin. I was on the Ocean Magic at noon. We didn't have to travel far from the Victoria harbour to encounter these whales. There were bits of prey items floating along that kept the gulls swooping in. We were also lucky to find one Humpback whale, that looked like one of the four that have been seen over the past week in these waters.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Ocean Magic

October 13, 2008

I spent most of the night listening to first Lime Kiln and then Orcasound calls from 11:00 p.m. PDT until 2:30 PDT
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo, Florida
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We found L pod moving along to the east and then to the north and east from off of Port Angeles, WA. at approximately 2 p.m. We quickly got the picture that there were lots of whales, all moving along, with occasional foraging behavior, and some rolling and pec slapping. Soon we were seeing many groups of whales, breaches in the distance, (some very young ones joining in the fun!), and then more and more males started showing up. We easily spotted J-1, J-27, J-30, and L-57! We left the pods at 3:15 as they continued aimed almost at Cattle Pass in the misty, rainy weather.
Nan Simpson, Naturalist - Western Prince

October 12, 2008

For the last week, 4-5 humpbacks have decided to linger at the buffet at Constance Bank. A few times the whales would get a bit active and would slap the water with their enormous pectoral fins or tail flukes. The water was absolutely flat, and the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains added to the serenity of the whales interactions.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince

October 11, 2008

We then encountered three lazy and very restful Humpback whales. The same three seen the day before. We even caught site although fleetingly, of the younger of the four that have been hanging out just south of the Victoria Harbour for several days now. Great whale watching especially for the Humpbacks in October.
Marie O'Shaughnessy. ( Orca-Magic)
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I was out this afternoon, on the Ocean Magic and we had a beautiful pass at the stern from the T49's . There was one really small calf and another youngster too swiming along with a total of six Orca.
Marie O'Shaughnessy. ( Orca-Magic)
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We rounded Race clockwise, had a good sea lion show and proceeded to take the flood back home. We viewed three if not four humpbacks resting on the surface and occasionally diving. That's when one of the whales surfaced what seemed to be very close behind us and headed towards us (about 30m or 100'). We were speechless, then another came up between the first and us, and another, we were literally weak in the knees and our heart rates doubled. These whales were moving so slow and seemed to be following us (we were drifting ever so slowly with the mainsail up), we altered course to try to get out of their way and they altered too, then one of them came up to have a look at us at 10-15' away and did a slow spy hop and hung there, unbelievable. It rolled over on its side and raised up its pectoral fin out of the water and slowly rolled away. The whales slowly passed and we finally got to breath again. I told my friend that this was an experience of a lifetime and we both agreed.
Keith Provan

October 10, 2008

Mark Malleson was with JKL in the afternoon off Jordan River (SW Vancouver Island, BC) heading west.
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research
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On both Zodiac trips today we had four Humpback whales, just south and east of Victoria. They seemed to be circling east and then west at times. A steller sea lion took pleasure in playing with them later this afternoon. All the 'humpies' have been ID from the Humpback Whale catalogue that Mark Malleson has produced.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Ocean Magic

October 8, 2008

I saw a very large pod of Orcas off the north coast of Gabriola and they were heading north. As a guess I would say there were over 50 and some of the younger ones were circling, playing, and catching air. It was about 1:30PM.
Roger Gouin
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As we rounded Turn Point into Boundary Pass, we saw the large wavy and oh-so-distinctive dorsal fin of J-1 Ruffles about 300 yards away. It was shortly thereafter that one whale became many, and we were in complete awe. Distinctive blows were sounding from all directions as whales surfaced in groups all across Boundary Pass.
John Boyd (JB) & the lovely Mrs., Marine Naturalist, San Juan Island
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We saw T 20 and T 21 near Sooke Vancouver Island while out on the Ocean Magic at noon. These two were heading further west toward Sheringham Lighthouse, when we caught up with them. The three Humpbacks, that have been seen for several days were still hanging out just south of the Victoria Harbour.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Ocean Magic

October 7, 2008

Here's a visual/audio report: J, K and L pods (or at least members of all three pods) came north past Lime Kiln lighthouse. By using my mp3 player with an FM tuner I am really 'plugged in' to the sounds. A small group was approaching, with a calf, a juvenile and an adult. At first they were in close proximity to one another. Then they began to spread out and after a few minutes I realized that the vocalizations I was hearing were becoming more frequent and intense. They were not terribly far apart, within 100 yards of another, but not together and the seas were really rough. The frequency and intensity continued and as they joined back up then intensity and frequency slowed down to a softer and quieter sound (and at that time they were right by the hydrophones in front of the lighthouse). Sure, we know they 'talk' to each other, it is just amazing to see what's going on while they are talking.
Jeanne Hyde, Friday Harbor
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I first started hearing very faint [orca] calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone at 14:40. They are nice and loud at the moment (17:00).
Jason Wood, PhD, Research Curator, The Whale Museum
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At 5 pm we tuned into the Limekiln Hydrophone to wonderful, loud, varied [orca] calls! We listened for about 20 - 30 minutes. Then at 6:05 pm - we began to hear great calls at Orcasound! so it sounds like the Southern Residents were heading north up San Juan Island.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network, Whidbey Island

October 6, 2008

Today we had the good fortune to see one of the largest cetaceans that visit the area--humpbacks! Not just one or two, but five humpbacks! We had to travel quite a ways west (nearly to Race Rocks), but the trip was definitely worth it. The whales were in mostly in one group of four, with a lone individual traveling a short ways behind them. As the larger group came to the surface, they would sit on the surface for almost a minute at time, touching each other and letting out huge exhalations. The largest individual's breaths were so incredibly loud. After viewing orcas all summer, it was hard to grasp the size difference on these amazing creatures. At one point, one whale turned sideways and extended a 10-12 foot pectoral fin and let it flop down on the water (and the back of the nearest whale). We watched this group for about 30 minutes or so before heading back. As we passed Discovery Island, we had a Minke whale show up as well. But nature had one more rare treat for us-- Dall's Porpoise near Turn Island! These guys were moving full tilt (about 35 mph for you land- lubbers) with huge rooster tails, and about 3-4 of the 8 porpoises rode our bow for 3-4 minutes before returning to feeding mode.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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Mary Ann Deuth called Orca Network to report 1 gray whale in Crescent Bay, west of Port Angeles. She watched it from 8 - 10 am

October 5, 2008

Mary Ann Deuth called Orca Network to report 1 gray whale in Crescent Bay, west of Port Angeles from 4 - 6 pm.
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We had the T41's and T44 today at Beacher Bay. They had made several kills prior to the Ocean Magic arriving so we had three full orca around with one dragging kelp over its fluke. They were in no hurry to go anywhere even when more sea lions entered the Bay. A most enjoyable commune with these top predators. Later we saw possibly the same three Humpback whales we had seen yesterday south of Victoria and east of Race Rocks.
Marie O'Shaughnessy (Orca-Magic)

October 4, 2008

I just wanted to report that I was able to hear Orcas for over 1 1/2 hours at Lime Kiln state parks hydrophone. Since they didn't appear at OrcaSound after this, I guess they are heading south. I didn't get a chanch to record them, though, still it was lovely to hear! First they were very very faint and not so much to hear. But after 45 minutes, boat noise came up, and so did the Orcas! It was so lovely to hear them again! It started 21:59:03 (the faint ones), should be 12.59 PM over there. The last call I could hear was at 23:06:45 (14:06 over there).
Jette Hope (Netherlands)
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I just wanted to pass along that J, K, and L pods were all on the west side of San Juan Island on Saturday during the big storm. They went up the island all the way to Lime Kiln, then turned and headed back down the island.
John Boyd (JB), Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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A wild, windy grey day out there in the Strait of Juan de Fuca between 12.15- 3pm. The Ocean Magic travelled south east of Race Rocks and found at least three members of L pod taking deep dives. Mega, L41, Ocean Sun L25, and Matia L77 were ID and spread far out.
Marie O'Shaughnessy (Orca-Magic)
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I was on the 10:30 Blackball sailing out of Victoria. About a half hour out from Victoria we saw two sets of whale watching boats. The first set of 7-8 boats was around two baleen whales that sounded just as we passed (pretty sure these are the humpbacks reported in this area - see reports above & below). The second set of two-three whale watching boats were approximately 100 yards south, and following a large male orca that appeared to be paralleling the baleen whales. I've never seen these two so close together-it seemed pretty clear there was an interaction unfolding. Hope others have provided additional observations-we kept heading south so lost sight of all within 10 minutes.
Anne Shaffer, Marine Biologist, WDFW
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The same three Humpbacks seen yesterday were seen again today, almost the same place. SE of Victoria.
Marie O'Shaughnessy (Orca-Magic)

October 3, 2008

I was out SE of Victoria on the OM and saw three Humpback whales at three pm. These were ID'd by Mark Malleson as BCYOI60, BCYO342 and the two year old calf BCZO298. The young calf breached which was a great surprise.
Marie O'Shaughnessy ( Orca-Magic )
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Brian Peterson called Orca Network at 12:50 pm, reporting a whale just south of Lagoon Pt, about 1/3 of the way out in Admiralty Inlet. His description of the dorsal fin, the blow, and the fact that it fluked when it dove, seem to indicate this was a humpback whale (maybe the same one in the report & photo from our Sept. 30 report?). He said it was headed south toward Bush Pt, then turned more to the west, toward Marrowstone Island.

October 1, 2008

7:49 am - J Pod is passing by the center right now (west San Juan Island), and you can hear them on OrcaSound. It's foggy off the island, so we can't make any visual IDs.
Courtney, Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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1600 - Just starting to hear SR calls over ship noise at Orcasound hydrophone. No calls/noise earlier at Lime Kiln, so they're likely southbound (along with the vessel(s)).
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach, Seattle




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