September 2009 Whale Sightings

September 29, 2009

I just returned from Sidney on the ferry and saw T19B and three or four others off Shaw Island west shore heading south at 1340 today. Got a few long-shot pics from the ferry.
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research
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Despite the rain, we did our best to track a group of transient orcas in San Juan Channel at Turn Island. There were 5-6 animals that were identified as the T19s by another boat. Their foraging pattern was very spread out and random, so we spent a lot of time motoring back and forth. There was at least one kill made while we were on scene, but the victim was unidentified as to species. We left the area at 1515 hours as the animals were heading south down the channel.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours

September 28, 2009

Bit of a bumpy trip out toward Hein Bank, where orcas from all three pods foraging as they headed southeast across a strong flooding current, from about 1:20pm to 2pm. Multiple breaches, a cartwheel, and a 2 second headstand (flukes held in the air), by some of the youngsters distracted us from the confused seas!
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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K Pod going south on the west side of San Juan Island.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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L Pod Orca were seen at San Juan off Lime Kiln Park by the Ocean Magic out of Victoria.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic POW.
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We met with the resident orcas north of Hein Bank at approx. 1:30 PM. Throughout our encounter, we observed almost every type of behaviour. The J4 matriline, plus J17 (Princess Angeline) and family were resting their way through the big waves. J1 (Ruffles) was accompanied by L7 (Canuck) and L53 (Lulu), followed by J30 (Riptide). This little group was very active, with cartwheels, spyhops, breaches (even 1 double side-by-side breach by L7 and L53) between long underwater intervals. The fellows were doing alot of upside down swimming, showing off their stuff. As our encounter was nearing its end, little J45 began a series of repetitive breaches, clearing the water on most of them. More whales could be seen off in the distance in almost every direction, milling and socializing. On our return trip, several small groups of Dall's Porpoise were sighted south and west of False Bay, heading southbound.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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0750 Orca at Lime Kiln. I hear Orca way off in the back ground. Orca sounds = 2 to 4, Man made noise = 0, Sea state noise = 2.
Robo
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7:28 am - After Robo reported a call, there was over a half hour of silence. Now lots of S-1 calls and clicks being heard at Lime Kiln.
Laura Swan, Illinois
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A little further out near Hein Bank we met up with the Orcas once again. Some nice breaches, half breaching- spyhops, and frequent directional changes. More foraging behavior. A large mass of birds hovered above a small group of Orcas awaiting any scraps they could find.
Jaclyn Van Bourgondien, naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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01:10 am - About 5 minutes ago began hearing whistles and calls on the Port Townsend hydrophone that sound like Transients to me. Began recording at 01:13 PDT. Now nice clear calls and whistles. Will post recording to OrcaSound once they've passed.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
This was likely the T137s & T36As heading out of Admiralty Inlet - sb
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Wanted to let you know that we saw from 50-60 offshore killer whales in Monterey Bay CA. They were first sighted in Carmel Bay, then headed south at a slow pace but very spread out, we followed for a few hours. Recognized many of the known animals including the one with chopped off fin. Many young, and were active at times, with tail slaps and belly up swimming. CA temp #s (N107, which is juv of N104) new since our catalog so temp "new" numbers, seen a few times in Monterey since 04. I was out that day as well and recognized the others in group. And, thanks Steve for photos of the chopped fin group, yes we had numbers of 216 which again are temporary until we update the catalog, very soon hopefully and we will have a very complete catalog, since last one in 97.
Nancy Black, Monterey Bay Whale Watch, Monterey, CA

September 27, 2009

While on a pelagic bird trip in Monterey Bay CA, we had a great encounter with four Orcas. I assumed they were from the CA transient group, but don't know for sure. While we were watching these four do a lot of playing and jumping, three Humpback Whales appeared out of nowhere and get right into the thick of things. I just missed a shot of two of the humpbacks surfacing with two Orcas right in from of their heads! All three humpbacks were adults, and at least two were so massive that I assumed they were females.
Steve Johnston, Senior Guest Experience Trainer, Monterey Bay Aquarium
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My wife, Wendy, spotted a small pod of Orcas this afternoon while heading north along the Kitsap Peninsula in Puget Sound. Wendy spotted three Orcas about a half mile ahead of us off Eglon about 4:00 PM. We stopped our trawler and watched them to see where they were going. They were just milling around between Kitsap and the south end of Whidbey Island pretty much in the shipping lanes. As we watched we noted a couple other Orcas. We saw at least 5 whales, but they were spread out a bit so there may have been more. We watched them for about an hour
Randy Sprague and Wendy Hallett
We were pretty sure these were the 5 Transient orcas that have been down in south Puget Sound since the beginning of Sept, & in looking closely at the photo, thought we could detect what looks like the very small satellite tag placed on T36A by Cascadia Research & NOAA Fisheries on Sept. 20th. When I contacted Brad Hanson with this sighting, he said the sat tag data confirmed that T36A was at this location at that date & time. Cool stuff! You can check out the tracks of T36A & other Transients at Cascadia Research's website. The maps are updated every few days - they have tracks up to Sept. 26th shown now - it is amazing to see how they have checked out every nook & cranny in So. Puget Sound during just the past week!
Susan Berta, Orca Network

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Around 4:15 this afternoon, a whale and 5 of its companions swam east through Active Pass on a fast tide. (looks like K20 to us - sb)
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island
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We met members of J & K pod a mile or 2 off of Eagle Point, San Juan Island. They were very spread out with frequent changes in direction - lots of foraging going on! Gulls were swooping in looking for scraps of salmon that the Orcas had left behind.
Jaclyn Van Bourgondien, naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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We turned on the Orca Sound Hydrophones (NW San Juan Island) & began hearing loud calls at 10:45 am, with some light boat noise. Must be heading north ? as calls were reported on Lime Kiln earlier.
Susan Berta, Orca Network
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9:54 am - I'm been hearing some outbursts/loud vocalizations and much echolocation at the Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo, FL

September 26, 2009

L pod was around Lime Kiln. It was a beautiful day and great to see the whales, spread out and cruising.
Catherine Beard, Oak Harbor
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We did encounter several members of L Pod at San Juan Island late Friday.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic POW.
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The south sound transients (5 or 6) were spotted at 11:00 AM as they travelled east out of Eld inlet and toward Case inlet. Broken into two groups as they crossed Budd bay, they came together in the channel south of Squaxin island and began breaching, finning, and circling each other before slowly continuing on past (very close to the beach) the south end of Hartstene. They were cruising very slowly, and appeared to be enjoying a fine morning.
Tom Martin, Olympia WA
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I finally saw my Orcas, after loving them for so long and tracking them via your site for at least four. Caroline was the naturalist on our boat and thought perhaps the L's or the splinter L's. Think it was a "subtle" day out there, with them scattered. It was about 2-3 p.m. just off Lime Kiln lighthouse/park.
Laura Stone
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At 3.30pm we headed out west toward Sooke and encountered 6 Transient Orca at Beecher Bay, Vancouver Island. T 63 'Chainsaw ', with that unique dorsal fin all chewed up, was traveling with T65 and T65B. It was the first time I have ever seen him. There was another female and youngster traveling along with this group, and trailing way behind was old T14, 'Pender'. He seemed to be shadowing but was clearly, from my perspective, wanting to be within range of the group but not in the group. Interesting to watch. All the transients were heading east along the shoreline and then south east off Race Rocks. We left them to visit the four very active Humpback Whales just off Victoria.
Marie O'Shaughnessy. Orca-Magic. POW
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Arlene Solomon of Mayne Island called to report a pod of 18 - 20 orcas near Enterprise Reef, heading north through Active Pass at 3:35 pm. Two trailing whales were adult males with large fins.
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Saw transient killer whales (5), 1 male, 3 females, 1 possible juvenile male, starting around 1:30 PM and lasting until about 3:45 PM. They were heading South past Drayton Passage at Case Inlet/Nisqually Reach, SW Anderson Is. At about 3:45, they turned back north.
Morgan E. Heim, Environmental Photojournalist and Writer/ILCP Emerging League
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You've probably heard by now that a group of 5 orcas "toured" Eld Inlet this morning. Looked like a large male, a female, 2 juveniles, and another. About 10:15 am they were headed westbound across the spit at Cooper Point. They went south down Eld Inlet quite a ways, then returned, and headed northbound up Dana Passage. They were gone by noon.
Karen Fraser, Cooper Point, Olympia
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The transient orcas were spotted traveling north in Dana Passage at about 12:30. Several boats were right on them. We watched from our beach as they went past, could not tell which way they went when they got out by Johnson Pt.
Dean Schmidtke

September 25, 2009

Center for Whale Research staff Dave Ellifrit, Erin Heydenreich and Stefan Jacobs encountered J's, K's and L's spread out in mixed groups off Mitchell Bay (48 34.433 N; 123 11.585 W) at 10:25 a.m. The encounter ended at 12:37 p.m.off Turn Point (48 41.296N; 123 14.762 W) with the whales still heading north.
Center for Whale Research
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I thought I would share pictures of a number of incredible Humpback Whale encounters off Victoria between Sept 23rd and Sept 25th. Over the last few weeks we have been consistently seeing Humpback Whales off Victoria but the last three days we have had some amazing encounters with up to six Humpback Whales in the area between Constance Bank and Race Rocks! These encounters have included tail slaps, tail lobs, kelping, spyhops, some breathtaking cartwheels and even breaching. Over the last few days I have witnessed some of the most wonderful Humpback Whale encounters of my career as a Marine Naturalist and all on the door step of Victoria:) Regards,
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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We headed out from Snug Harbor and out into active pass. The breaches and Ruffles were on the way there and the one with the BC Ferry was at the mouth of active pass. Boy did the orca go nuts when they got to that entry.
Cathy Scott, Bow, WA
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I would like to report a brief Minke Whale sighting. This occurred at about 1:45 PM, I spotted a Minke surfacing at a distance on a lovely sunny fall afternoon in Admiralty Inlet just north of the Keystone to Port Townsend Ferry route. The whale was crossing the inlet from west to east, heading towards the cliffs of Whidbey.
Rachel Benbrook, People For Puget Sound, Anacortes, WA

September 24, 2009

I was walking in the evening at Chambers Bay golf course, University Place, near Tacoma. Several Killer Whales were feeding off shore. They then put on a pretty good "show". Breaching, and leaping clear of the water. Quite a site! I did not see where they came from. They appeared to be feeding for awhile. Around sunset they started breaching and then flat out clearing the water. I wouldn't know how to categorize this behavior other than they seemed to be having a pretty good time. There were at least three individuals.
Tom Rooney

September 23, 2009

Seen on 3:30 pm Ocean Magic; 4 Humpbacks off Constance Bank at about 4 pm, breaching and very active behavior & T020 (with satellite tag), T021 & T031 at about 5 pm eastbound of Beecher Bay.
Maria Chantelle Tucker, Victoria
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I was on the Western Prince and we saw Southern Residents at Village Pt., Lummi Island. They were heading north. In the morning I had heard there were whales at the south end of Rosario St. and I assumed that is was J and K pods and L-7, L-53 and L-87 who are now common visitors with Js and Ks. But I was very surprised when the first whales we saw were the L-2s - Grace L-2, Gaia L-78 and Wave Walker L-88. There was a large group way ahead and they were the L-9s - Tanya L-5, Flash L-73, Saanich L-74 and Nyssa L-84 and the L-35s - Ino L- 54, Indigo L-100 and Coho L-54. Throughout the encounter we saw representatives of the following groups: L-43s (Racer L-72 and Fluke L-105), the L-4s (Kasatka L-82), and the L-26s (Baba L-26 and Crewser L-92). The L-21s - Marina L-47, Moonlight L-83, Midnight L-110 and Muncher L-91 were traveling with The Cookies - the J-22s - Oreo J-22, DoubleStuf J-34, Cookie J-38 and Rhapsody J-32. With them were Tsuchi J-31 and Mako J-39. Of course there were many many whales to the north that we did not see, we could only see their blows way in the distance.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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A K pod whale (not sure which individual) was around Orcas island in Rosario strait around 2 pm with a superpod.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Large pod traveling NE from south side of Cypress island around the NW point of Guemes. Several males and many mothers with calves alongside. Dorsal fin saddle marks on the large ones were brownish speckled rather than white. Many were breaching. They were stretched out with about 4-5 in the lead, about 15 in the mid section and 5-8 bringing up the rear. Some veered off and went close to shore over near Guemes.
Barbara Eldredge, RN, SSIC/AAA
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Orca Network received a call this afternoon from Andrea Bauer-Holden, reporting her husband Trey sighted a single orca at 9:34 am off Pt. Wilson, 100 yards from his boat.

September 22, 2009

We left Cadboro Bay around 3pm and motor sailed around to the Victoria Waterfront where we were greeted by a nice westerly so we got to sail the rest of the way out and viewed the humpbacks in between the Fairway marker and Albert Head. The whales were milling around going in no particular direction. As we were leaving we noticed at least 3 orcas a little west of our location.
Keith Provan
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We were seeing 6 transient Orcas just north of Hartstine Island, headed north in Case Inlet. There are a few good shots of dorsal fins that might allow you to I.D. some of these guys, especially the one with the two notches on the following edge of the fin. We followed them for about 1 hours, headed north through Case Inlet. We didn't see any breaches of spy hops, just moving along the surface for 3-4 minutes, then deep diving and disappearing for 10 minutes or so, then re- appearing further north.
Cathryn Rice, Olalla, Washington (near Gig Harbor)
These whales were IDd by the Center for Whale Reesearch from photographs taken by Cascadia Research, as the T137's and T36A's - sb
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Orca Network received a report from Katheryn Rice of Olympia, reporting 5 - 6 orcas north of Johnson Pt, near Olympia, WA (47 11.484 N, 122 48.220 W), heading north into Case Inlet at 12:45 pm.
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J pod at sunset leisurely passing west side of Lummi Island about 7 p.m. - we heard blows from our deck and went down to watch J pod traveling south in resting mode at sunset. Nothing more beautiful - flat calm water, moon hanging over Orcas Island, sunset, whales breathing percussively. J1 easily ID-ed from shore - 2 adult-size male fins (J26 & J27?) and another (J30?) close behind.
Penny Stone, Lummi Island
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We caught up to resident orcas, J and K pods, at around noon, just south of Point Roberts, with almost glassy calm conditions. The whales were spread over miles - we could just barely see J1 way off to the south. The whales were meandering in a southeast and south direction, depending on which animals you were watching. This was definitely "kids" day, with siblings travelling together, and mom off in the distance, or nowhere in sight. The exception was J17 - she had J44 right by her side. We spent part of the encounter observing K25 (Scoter) and K34 (Cali). These brothers were definitely having a little "boy party". There was lots of rolling around, sea snakes, and lazy spyhops. At one point, it appeared K34 was being pulled backward by K25. Sister, K20 (Spock), was nearby, but keeping clear of the activity. We could hear vocals right through the hull of the boat. We finished off the orca viewing with J16's offspring frolicking together.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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This orca report was forwarded by Brad Hanson of NOAA's NWFSC: 1550 , 1 Big Male, 4 females/smaller [orcas], and 1 baby orca were sighted 1.5 miles west of Moss Landing, CA (36-47.7'N, Long 121-49.7'W), heading east. No deformed, curved, cut, or funny dorsal fins, all fins normal appearance.
Ian Young
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As we were quite close to Boundary Bay, we decided to have a look for the Gray Whale that was rumoured to be there. It took almost a complete sweep of the bay before we spotted the Gray. So far, I have not been able to match photos to any of the 5 Grays that were in Boundary Bay this spring. Photos will be sent to Cascadia Research for their comparison. Another vessel located a second, smaller Gray whale a little further into the bay. Very unusal to have Grays around our area at this time of year.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch

September 21, 2009

Today J-2 Granny and K-11 Georgia, lead subgroups of the pods north along Henry Island, from 2:20pm to 3:15pm, keeping a fast pace against a mildly flooding current. Midway up island, the grand matriarchs headed offshore, and as J-2 headed northwest she breached! and did a few percussives. There were no vocalizations. Each near shore subgroup of 3 to 4 whales, including the J-14 and K-14 families, started heading offshore in line with the route J-2 and K-11 had taken. Except J-1 Ruffles, he was already about mile offshore, taking his time, swimming in his distinctive leisurely way, like he knows he's number one male!
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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12:44 - Just began hearing faint calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Laura Swan
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On the west side of San Juan island earlier today I think this may be J45 and his clan, but that is only my best guess.
Jane Cogan
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As I passed the West Side Preserve, Orcas showed up literally out of nowhere and were swimming near San Juan Island! When we arrived in Haro Strait later in the day, the whales had rocketed up the coastline of San Juan and were fast approaching Stuart Island. We took our time to find a good place to stop and watch whales, and before we knew it we were looking right at K25 Scoter. He is a growing male still! Soon he was disappearing in the distance only to be replaced by a group of J Pod whales porpoising towards our boat! It was so cool to see this group of Js, as they were very active-porpoising and breaching. For our last pass, we were set up just past the Turn Point Lighthouse. The water was absolutely a sheet of glass, and we all stopped for a "Kodak Moment" of taking a picture of the lighthouse with Mt. Baker in the background. And then our first surprise- J2 Granny, the 98 year-old matriarch of J Pod came behind the boat in a series of very slow surfacings. It was as if she was enjoying the calm waters. And then on the other side of the boat came none other than the matriarch of K Pod, K11! It was like having a procession of orca "royalty" coming by to pay us a visit. The finale was having J14 and her family (J30, J37, J40, and J45) come by in a big rollicking group.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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At about 10:00 a.m. I saw 4 or 5 Orcas from my house on Johnson Pt. They were breeching and tail slapping (including the very small one), making for quite a show! I was able to get a couple of photos, which may confirm one is a male. They were on the Anderson Island side of the straight and went around the southern point of the Island. This is two mornings in a row. I'll be on the lookout again.
Sarah Petrie, Olympia, WA
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I got up at 12:47 a.m. and heard them still.
Kim L. Merriman, Olympia, WA

September 20, 2009

Ken Balcomb, Astrid van Ginneken and Dan McSweeney of the Center for Whale Research encountered J's, K's and L's, spread out off Lime Kiln State Park (48 29.654 N; 123 08.953 W) at 4:36 p.m. The whales were milling and traveling slowly north. The encounter ended just off Kellett bluff (48 31.797 N; 123 09.996 W) at 6:11 p.m. The whales were still spread out in loose groups and heading north.
Center for Whale Research
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At sea I thought there were only 4 (orcas), but my photos indicate potentially five according to my comparisons. I trust that experts might come up with a different number! These animals were seen around noon over the Noyo Canyon offshore a little over 15 nautical miles offshore from Fort Bragg, CA. We first encountered them just after noon at N 39 730; 33' 01" W 124 730; 07' 23" and they stayed with us for 15 minutes and we last saw them at N 39 730; 31' 52" W 124 730; 06' 43". I understand that just a couple of weeks prior a murrelet survey crew saw what very possibly could have been the same group off of Redwood creek in Humboldt County last month.
Ron, Mad River Biologists, Ron LeValley Photography
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The five transients (who have been down here for the past few weeks) were sighted at 8pm in Sanderson Cove at the mouth of Eld Inlet. Report from Kim Merriman of Olympia.
Annie Douglas, Cascadia Research, Olympia, WA
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At 9:00 a.m. we saw a group of 5 (?) orcas passing through, between Johnson Pt. and Anderson Island. They were cruising pretty fast towards Nisqually River delta.
S. Petrie, Olympia, WA
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The pod of transient orcas went by our place on the southeast side of Harstene Is. on Dana Passage around 7:30am, heading north. A couple of them were spyhopping while going past.
Dean Schmidtke
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The orcas were back again around 7:00. The orcas were here at high tide and were trying to go down into Eld Inlet - which seems to be a favorite place recently. They only got about 2000 feet into the inlet and then were "sandwiched" by two boats that ended up only being about 100 feet apart - with several in the pod in between them. Shortly afterward, the orcas turned around and headed out of the inlet. We listened to them for a long time - as they were moving rather slowly and methodically after they cleared Cooper Point.
Kim L. Merriman, Olympia, WA
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18:48 - Still hearing calls, clicks, whistles -- some faint, some pretty loud -- on Lime Kiln (but not Orcasound) now and for the last 15 minutes. Maybe fading out, overall.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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16:52- Nice clicks on Lime Kiln hydrophone but no vocals just yet. Very spread out and heading N at the moment. Oh just heard fist calls 17:00.
Jason Wood, The Whale Museum, San Juan Island
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15:45 - Orcas in resting pattern slowly going northward. No vocalizing at all.
Val Veirs, San Juan Island
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The Resident Killer Whales (or Orcas) were moving south from Rosario Strait around Lopez Island. We came through Cattle Pass and were ahead of the Orcas, so we positioned ourselves offshore of the whales so we could parallel them in Haro Strait off the south end of San Juan Island. A tight group in the lead, maybe 6 to 8 Orcas including J1 (Ruffles). Then a single Orca K12 (Sequim) swimming; a few hundred yards behind her was K11 (Georgia) who was rolling on her side swimming just beneath the surface. Next in the parade was most of Skagit's (K13) family. Now I get really excited about baby Orcas, which anyone on the boat would know by my enthusiastic squeals! We had a great look at little 1-year-old K42 with older brother Lobo K26 (his dorsal fin is huge) and sibling K36, mom K14 and aunt K16...I'm assuming 7-year-old K35 (Sonata) was there as well. The family was changing direction a bit - a lot of Orcas seemed to be foraging off of South Beach. Then we were surprised by J26 (Mike) who was swimming near mom J16 (Slick) with 2 year-old J42! Remaining shutdown, so as not to create any excess noise or risk disturbing the Orcas, we waited until they were far enough away to start up. The water was so calm and clear we had the special treat to view Mike underwater as he swam by. It is not everyday that we see this. Very awe- inspiring to watch an Orca gracefully swim underwater, then surface to breathe. Wow. We left all feeling a little humbled by the experience. It was time to move on to view other wildlife.
Jaclyn Van Bourgondien, naturalist, San Juan Safaris Whale Watch & Wildlife Tours

September 19, 2009

The south sound transients came by our cabin just south of Vaugn Bay on Case Inlet again at the same time of day as we saw them over Labor Day weekend, almost exactly 3 p.m. (there seems to be a pattern here.) This time they were only about 200 yards off shore, and were headed south again. They entertained us for about 10 minutes as they passed by, with 3 great spy hops and a couple of full breaches.
Jeff and Kim, Crescent Beach, Vaughn WA

September 18, 2009

A gorgeous autumn day showed J's and L's in Rosario Strait off of Lawrence Point on Orcas Island, from 2:25pm to 3:14pm. The whales spread across the strait in several small and large groups, as they foraged south against a strong flooding current. L-22 Spirit in the lead, passed close to the Orcas shoreline, leaving us wondering where her 'boys' were. J-8 Spieden, J-19 Shachi with J- 41 Eclipse, passed a little further offshore. That's when we noticed L-22's son L-79 Skana, in hot pursuit of J-31 Tsuchi! Hot as in there was rolling, lunging, and splashing going on with L-79 showing his 'pink floyd'! The encounter went on for about 10 minutes, when L-79 headed east and J-31 continued south. Our impression was J-31 was rebuking L-79's advances! Maybe 15 to 18 months from now will tell a different ending?!
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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About 1 pm, I saw 4 Orcas in Pickering Passage (west side of Hartstene Island) about 1 mile north of the bridge to Hartstene. They were heading south. They surfaced and blew several times.
Tim Baker
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We saw transients at the Needles, just off 1st Beach at La Push at 10:30am.
Ian Snider, WDFW
Thanks to Steve Jeffries for forwarding this report & photos along to Orca Network. We sent them to the Center for Whale Research, and Dave Ellifrit responded with these IDs from the photos: "T49B and T49B1 and what looks like T36A and T36A1." Coincidentally, T36A & T36A1 are two of the Transient orcas that have been enjoying an extended visit to south Puget Sound these past weeks, and T36A was the orca tagged by researchers!
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Resident orcas were spotted in the southern Strait of Georgia late morning (after 11 AM). By the time we caught up to the orcas at about 12:30, they were passing by Matia Island. As the whales continued in a south or southeasterly direction beyond Matia Island, they spread out into several smaller groups. There were many surface active behaviours observed, including, breaches, spyhops, cartwheels, tail lobs and much upside- down swimming by the males. J Pod and K Pod were present, along with at least a few males from L Pod. We left the whales at approximately 1:30 PM, heading southeast towards Lummi Island, with Mt Baker as a gorgeous backdrop.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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I live on Case Inlet, across from Harstine Island and just south of Herron Island. Last evening around 5:30 pm, I spotted 6-8 orcas swimming south, out of the inlet towards the Narrows. They were moving very fast, dipping in and out of the water, spraying water.
Charlotte Smothers

September 17, 2009

Dave Ellifrit, Astrid van Ginneken, Stefan Jacobs and Erin Heydenreich of the Center for Whale Research encountered J's K's and L's about a mile north west of Bellevue Point (48 32.544 N,123 10.753 W) at 12:26 p.m. The whales were spread out from the point to False Bay, traveling north. We encountered mixed groups of J's, K's and a few L's (L53, L7, L87, L22 and L79). The encounter ended off Tip Top Hill on Stuart Island (48 40.39 N,123 13.80 W) at 3: 16 p.m.
Center for Whale Research
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Just after 6 pm this evening, Mr. Ruffles and his pals headed east through Active Pass. Some spy hops and tail slaps. Only a police boat in immediate proximity.
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island, BC
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1335 - Can hear very clear calls on the OrcaSound hydrophones. Still can be heard on Lime Kiln as well.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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1205 - Faint Killer Whale calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Jason Wood, The Whale Museum, San Juan Island
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Hearing great echolocation on Orcasound at Lime Kiln at 12:47pm.
Jana, Victoria
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We are hearing the Orcas at Lime Kiln State Park at 12:24 pm, and have been for the last 15 minutes. Echolocation clicks, S1s and S2s, along with others.
Catherine
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0450 PDT - Orca heard way off in the distance at Lime Kiln. Orca sounds = 2 to 4, Manmade noise = 0, Seastate noise = 2. 0550 PDT The Orca have been hanging out at Lime Kiln. I have been hearing (my ears) and seeing calls on my SA --- off an on --- drifting in and out all night. Lots of fish sound (from 2 to 6), Orca sound = 2 to 6, Manmade noise = 0, Seastate noise = 2, Time passing - 0605. The Orca sounds are 0 to 3.
Robo
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Another report of the Puget Sound Transients, forwarded by Ralph Munro: This morning, at 2:00 a.m. my neighbors about 400 feet to the south were awakened by the splashing and crashing and flapping and calling of them again (the Transient orcas). I didn't get to hear them this time. But at 4:36 a.m. another neighbor, who lives about 500 feet to the north of us, was awakened by the same loud activity. So once again, they had come into Eld Inlet and were headed out again. Apparently they are T137's (3 of them) and T 136a (a mom and an offspring). (these whales were photographed by Cascadia Research & IDs confirmed by the Center for Whale Research a week or so ago - sb)
Kim Merriman, Olympia

September 16, 2009

Orca party on Lime Kiln Hydrophones 11:45pm.
Ruby KeefeCulver City, CA
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Hearing many calls on both Lime Kiln and Orcasound hydrophones, 10:47 PST. Sounds like Jpod, and perhaps K and L, too??
Barbara Ellingsen
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2205 - Orca Calls seem to be moving North From Lime Kiln. Faint but clear in Orca Sound Hydrophones now.
Eric McRae
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2220 PDT - Orcas at Lime Kiln -AND- Orcasound. 2135 PDT - Orca at Lime Kiln. Great stuff.
Robo
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J and K Pods were located late this rainy morning just south of Point Roberts, heading southeast towards Cherry Point. The first whales encountered were a group of youngsters, with J28 (Polaris) being the oldest whale present. There appeared to be alot of play going on, with J34 (Doublestuff) being particularly playful, doing much swimming upside down and rolling around the others. The rest of J Pod and K Pod were spread out over miles, doing long dives and presumably foraging. Eventually the whales grouped up and started heading south towards Lummi Island. For a short period, they were porpoising in groups of up to 6 to 8 individuals. When the whales slowed down, the sun was just peaking out and they seemed to respond with multiple spyhops, some breaches and more socializing. We left the whales still heading southbound from Alden Bank at about 1 PM.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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We first arrived on scene and everyone was saying it was just J's and K's but after taking some pictures we noticed L's were there as well! Whales were everywhere! There were very few boats around which made it such a unique day, definitely unforgettable!
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver

September 15, 2009

My Name is Cindy Pendergraft and my husband is Mark. We were returning from a Tuna trip and noticed a pod of orca following us. We fish out of Bodega Bay California and know you're interested (poster at the boat launch) on any local info regarding these wonderful creatures.
a.. We believe there were 4 to 5 orca - We saw enough of them to know they were orca
b.. the lat. and lon. are as follows: 38.10.54, 123.30.05
c.. we were returning in a NE direction when we saw them and when they left heading E
d.Date 9/15/09 and Time was 13:12
e.. Looked like they were feeding. Lots of albatross and Jaegers (sp?) following. We had bait fish jumping by our boat. Could have been Anchovies or herring On our way out (west) this morning, we spotted some humpbacks within a mile or so of this location. This area seems to always have lots of bird, whale and dolphins activity which makes not finding the albacore easier to take.
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Naomi Yoder called to report a pod of ~9 orcas (no adult males present) about 20 miles due west of Westport, WA at 10 am.
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This young Humpback whale, a 3 yr old, BCZ0298, based on Mark Malleson's and the Centre for Whale Research Humpback Whale catalogue, was seen at 4pm just off the Victoria Harbour near Albert Head. It delighted us all on the 3.30pm Ocean Magic by performing a spyhop and some lovely manoeuvres through a kelp bed. One could clearly see the strands of kelp draped across its rostrum. An amazing encounter with this Baleen Whale.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic, Prince Of Whales, Victoria B.C.
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This is an Orca Listening report. About 10:30 Tuesday evening we heard a pod of [orcas] going east through Active Pass. Lots of tail slaps.
Karoline, Galiano Island, BC
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Rob Comson called in a report of a pod of ~9 orcas, porpoising in a line, heading north off Henry Island at 5:45 pm. He was in a float plane, and observed a red/orange zodiac close to the whales, possibly one of the research vessels.
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1656 - Nice Southern Resident calls being heard on OrcaSound hydrophones.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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1628 - Just started hearing Orcas at the Lime Kiln hydrophone. Faint, but quite a lot!
Jette, the Netherlands
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We had heard that J's and K's were coming past Victoria heading east. As we were approaching the scene, the whales had come through Baynes Channel, we were treated to two groups of 6-8 Dalls Porpoise, including one Hybrid. As we approached we saw a couple of consecutive spyhops in the distance then we hooked up with a few groups of 5-6 animals each (K20, K38 and a lot of generic whales) as they crossed Haro Strait and went directly to Lime Kiln. These groups headed north as they neared the Island and we followed them for awhile. Eventually the rest of the whales that had stayed on the Vancouver Island side began to come across Haro Strait. We saw K21, then K26 and company. Each time we tried to exit the scene there were more whales much to our delight. J27, J31 & J39 approached with J31 doing 3 huge breaches. Absolutely amazing sight in the late afternoon sun and flat calm waters. By the third breach many of our passengers had a great pictures to share. Next we were surprised by L72,L105 and L95. This meant our reports of J & K pods had turned into a Super pod!!! Finally we watched the K16's foraging before heading into Mosquito Pass.
Alison Engle, Naturalist, Western Prince Cruises, Friday Harbor

September 14, 2009

At about 2:10pm, as we headed into the Strait of Juan de Fuca we could see killer whales swimming fast from San Juan Island toward the southeast. L-41 Mega and sister L-77 Matia slowed down and began sweeping Salmon Bank in a classic foraging pattern. So quiet we heard the buoy bell and orcas breathing. Sister L- 94 Calypso worked near shore before joining her siblings. All three turned back northwest and began aggressively fishing, glad to see L-41 with a fish in his mouth! A wondrous stream of L and K vocals and clicks, nonstop for about 20 minutes! (Were L-41 & L-77 putting out the call- there's fish here?!) More L's and K's headed from Eagle Cove and out about a mile, including L-72 Racer with son L-105 Fluke, K-40 Raggedy with brother K-21 Cappuccino, fishing the bank, a few breaches, spy hops, tail lobs, and cartwheels, when we had to head home at 3:34pm.
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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Center for Whale Research staff Dave Ellifrit, Erin Heydenreich, Astrid van Ginnekin and Stefan Jacobs encountered J's, K's and L's spread out in Boundary Pass (48 43.499 N, 123 08.050 W) at 3:12 p.m. They were traveling in loose groups toward Turn Point. We observed J44 rolling over and were able to confirm that he is a male. The encounter ended at 6:25 off Open Bay (48 34.982 N, 123 11.683 W). The whales had picked up speed and were traveling steadily south.
The Center for Whale Research
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The Center for Whale Research received a report of 10 to 12 transients off East Point on Saturna Island B.C. at 1:45 p.m. We quickly departed, but by the time we arrived at the location of the last sighting, the transients were reportedly already several miles north of East Point.
The Center for Whale Research
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Erica called to report a sighting of orcas between Point No Point (N. Kitsap Peninsula) and Whidbey Island. Between 4:15 and 5 pm they observed first 1 lone orca with a tall skinny fin, then later another small pod of orcas off Maxwelton beach, mid-channel. The orcas were heading north.
We sent the photos of the orcas off Whidbey Island Sept, 14 to the Center for Whale Research, and received this ID from Dave Ellifrit: Looks like the (transient orcas) T30's.
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I am sending you photos of the orcas who have been visiting Olympia lately. KIm says she saw them in front of her house (across from Cooper Point, I think Ralph told me for five mornings.
Karen Munro
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And this morning, at 4:30, we were awakened by a pounding sound. I GOT UP AND DISCOVERED IT WAS THE POD OF ORCAS, SLIGHTLY OFF COOPER POINT, FROLICKING, FLUKE FLAPPING, BREACHING, BLOWING, AND EVEN AN AUDIBLE VOCALIZATION I'VE NEVER HEARD BEFORE. THEY LEFT THE INLET DOING ALL THAT ACTIVITY THE ENTIRE WAY. THEY HEADED TO HUNTER POINT AT 5:00 a.m.
Kim, Olympia
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This is day five (in a row) for our visiting transient orcas. Don't know the pod. They have been coming earlier each morning. The first three mornings we only saw them as they were leaving Eld Inlet. The last two mornings we've seen them come in and then go out again. It was quite dark at 6:00 this morning - but Scott got up to watch the sunrise. It was totally calm. Then he heard them. Then he saw them. It was breathtaking to witness the calm of the bay with only the surfacing of the whales and the ripples they left behind. These photos happened as they were starting to leave from Sanderson Cove area south of us (which is all the further down the Inlet they went this morning) and were heading back out toward Dana Passage.
Kim, Olympia, WA
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My cousin and I were at his house in Steilacoom when we saw 3 possibly 4 Orca whales aprox 5 pm. They were between Ketron Island and Steilacoom and were playing and blowing for about 10 minutes before disappearing off the north side of Ketron Island. Today we spotted them again from Steilacoom just off the north side of Ketron Island. They were blowing and up and down for aprox 20 minutes and finally moved around and we could no longer see them as they moved to the northwest side of Ketron Island. The time of the sightings today was aprox 4:05- 4:25 pm.
Carolyn Stewart
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I was watching some L-Pod whales head south from shore near False Bay at about 2:45 PM when I spotted a blow that was way too big to be an orca. It turned out to be from a humpback whale! There were actually three humpbacks in the group, and they were heading north up Haro Strait. I saw them again from Land Bank at about 3:15 and they were probably about 2 miles offshore when I left at 3:30.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island
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Three humpback whales off of Hannah Heights at 1430. Two adults and possibly one juvenile slowly feeding along the coastline. Our last view was of double flukes sliding into the water.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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We saw orcas for about 45 minutes between the west side of the southern end of Whidbey Island and Point No Point, in the middle of the channel. It was 4.15pm when we spotted them, and 5pm when we headed south again and left them. At one point we briefly glimpsed a group of perhaps 8-10 whales, (alas no photo), but most of the time we observed a small group of 3 (see photo). From my rudimentary knowledge I am assuming this group was one male, and 2 female (or juvenile) orcas. They were very gradually going north and seemed to be in feeding mode, i.e. there were deep dives for 5 minutes or so followed by 2 or 3 surface breaths, then deep dives again. This little group stayed close together for the 30 minutes or so we observed them. When we left them they were off Maxwelton beach, still in the middle of the channel.
Erica Rayner-Horn - Clinton, Whidbey Island
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1905 PDT - Orca callsat Lime Kiln. Here they come - The ORCA are gitting louder = 5 to 7 @ 1925 PDT.
Robo, San Juan Island
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I was watching some L-Pod whales head south from shore near False Bay at about 2:45 PM.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island
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Just began hearing faint calls at Lime Kiln EDT (7:10 p.m. PDT), lots of clicks. Amendment to earlier email, louder calls now at orcasound 7:15 p.m.
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo
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K and L pod orcas were traveling down island (west San Juan Isl). We met them at False Bay and traveled with them until south beach where they moved offshore for ~1 mile and then turned southeast. K21, L41, L72, L105 and L26 were some of the animals present. As they moved offshore they grouped together and headed across the strait in 3-4 groups. There was also a minke whale traveling along with them. It had been feeding in the current lines, but changed it's direction when the orcas arrived in it's area. 15 or more Steller's sea lions on Whale Rocks with one female mixed in with all of the large males.
~Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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12:24 - Starting to hear faint calls on the OrcaSound Hydrophones. Whales must be traveling northbound.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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1150 PDT - Orca at Lime Kiln. The Orca are getting louder -1158 PDT
Robo, San Juan Island
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11:45 am - Whistles and then S1 calls getting louder on Lime Kiln hydrophone. No calls earlier on Orcasound hydrophone, so they're likely northbound.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach, Seattle
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10:53 am - Faint calls just began on Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Laura Swan

September 13, 2009

The [orca] sighting was in the GPS location of 47 degrees 14" N 122 degrees 34" W at the time span of 13:55 pm we first spotted them swimming around and doing casual whale maneuvers of spyhopping and tails high surfacing and blowing breath and looking around then hunting a baby seal. They quite curiously swam all around our boat and dove under us as well as near two other power boats in the near vicinity. We saw them continue on towards the Fox Is. bridge area at 14:30pm. At that time one of the largest adults breached totally out of the water quite near to a private dock ramp and floating docks close to the shore of Fox Is. We then continued on home to Longbranch via water between Fox Is. and McNeill Is. we did not spot the whales again.
Dorothy Heim, Longbranch WA
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Around 2-3:30pm near Pt. Fosdick and Fox Is. in the south Sound a group of orcas 7-8 in number. At least 3-4 adults and 4 young. One of the young orcas seemed to be a very new baby. They were playing? and hunting and feeding. A baby seal was being taunted and hunted. The adults were teaching the young how to hunt. We watched and I took pics for over an hour. They were last heading towards the Fox Is. bridge area on Sunday.
Dorothy Heim, Longbranch WA
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I want to report 1 Gray Whale in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. The whale was feeding in the kelp beds just east of Seal & Sail Rocks. We also saw what we think might have been a Minke Whale in the same vicinity but it was closer to shore feeding at sunset.
Lori Salzer, WDFW
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Evening recordings from the Lime Kiln Hydrophone. I started at 18:41 PDT, and split the recordings into 2 parts, with the second starting at 19:00.
Laura Swan
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A gorgeous day on the water with superpod today! We had some great breaches and other activity.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Sounds like an epic gathering with amazing vocals and clicks at Lime Kiln now! (began hearing 6:50 pm PDT).
Suzy Roebling, Florida
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6;50 PM - hearing orca calls and clicks at Lime Kiln.
Laura Swan
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1837 PDT - Orcas at lime Kiln. Nice and quiet - lots of ORCA sounds.
Robo, San Juan Island
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0008 PDT - Orca @ Lime Kiln calls.
Robo, San Juan Island
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Jim Cooper called to report that while out sailing, he saw 5 orcas off the south end of Hartstene Island, heading south at 7:30 am.
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Dorothy Hahn called to report a small pod of 5-6 orcas near the Tacoma Narrows bridge between Pt. Fosdick & Fox Island, hunting a seal.
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Five orcas were sighted in Discovery Passage near Whiskey Point on Quadra Island, BC at 13:40 today. They were heading North toward Quathiaski Cove at a good pace about 700-800 meters off the shore and parallel to a group of about fifteen dolphins which were moving north about 150-200 meters off shore. The dolphins were well dispersed over a large area. As the orcas got closer to Whiskey Point they appeared to be moving in behind the dolphins. Dorsal fin of largest was estimated to be between 3-4 feet. Approximate coordinates are: N 50 02.09'; W 125 12.93'
Ken & Kathy Robertson, Quadra Island,BC

September 12, 2009

Now I'd never think of Prince Rupert as a place to go whale watching, but we were walking along the docks today and saw a hand-written sign that said "whale watching at 1 pm". So of course I checked - we had 20 mins to decide and of course we went along. WOW! We watched humpbacks bubble feed for well over an hour - we finally left them to go to another area, and found a few more doing some casual breaches, another just "resting", and a couple more moms and calves.
Jill Hein, Coupeville
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At about 6:30 pm we saw a group of 5, possibly Orcas, swimming past our house. 4 (including a smaller one). Surfaced in unison several time with very adible blowing, before staying under for several minutes. There was a 5th with was near by, but always separate. We believe we saw a bit of white or light grey on the otherwise black body. They were not Dolphins or Porpoises.
Sarah Petrie, Olympia
Definitely sounds like the pod of Transient orcas - sb
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A grey whale calf spotted at the Keystone Ferry dock at about 1:30pm. It was all alone, no escort, no mother to be seen. It came very close to the docked ferry (before we departed), spouted, swam very close to shore in probably 20' of water and circled back out the entrance heading north.
Pam Navis
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Grey whale - between Ebey's Landing and Pt. Partridge - feeding for ~ 1/2 hour and now slowly moving north ~ 1/2mile out. 5:25pm.
Al Luneman, Coupeville
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2330: No vocals on hydrophone. Lots and lots of blows coming to shore in the black calm night, NW San Juan Island. No movement, direction discernible. Blows coming from north, south and center!
Val Veirs, San Juan Island
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Most of the southern resident orcas came past Saturna Island today, in two groups, going in opposite directions. 15-20 L's and K's passed East Point headed northeast in Boundary Pass at about 1:45pm. The group included L25,L26,L41,L54,L77,L78,L94,L108 and K21. They headed out into the Strait of Georgia bound for Point Roberts. About two hours later, a group of 40 - 50 orcas came out of the Strait of Georgia, headed southwest into Boundary Pass, and spent about three hours travelling from Patos Island to Monarch head, where I lost sight of them at about 7pm. The second group travelled in two sub-groups the whole way, but were too far out in Boundary Pass for any positive ID's. For much of the transit, they appeared to be in resting mode, surfacing together and travelling very tighly.
Miles Ritter, Saturna Island
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This morning on the Western Explorer we up with part of K-Pod and part of L-Pod heading northeast up Boundary Pass at about noon. Present were the L2s, the L5s, part of the L12s (L41, L77, L94, L25), and K21 and K40. Right when we got on scene four of the whales surfed in a freighter wake, sharking and porpoising through the huge swells. K21 and L41 did it again on a second freighter wake right before we left. It was pretty darn impressive to see those whales cruising the waves just under the surface at about 25 knots! We also saw K21, L73, and L84 all swimming together, rolling around at the surface. Interestingly enough, there were some "sea snakes" involved in the play behavior of those three males, too! The Ks and Ls we were with this morning continued north and met with the other group of whales that was heading down front Point Roberts (Js, and the rest of Ks and Ls). By the time our afternoon Western Explorer trip got off the dock all three pods had met up and we came upon them at about 4 PM a few miles northeast of East Point. The superpod was spread out in several large groups and with the calm skies and seas we could really hear their blows. They were slowly heading back towards Boundary Pass but really weren't in any hurry at all. I was having trouble IDing individual whales out there, and when I came home and looked at my photos I realized it was because they were all mixed up and intermingling with each other. One group of whales we saw traveling together included partial family groups from all three pods: J16, J26, and J42 with L5, L74, and K26 of all whales! I always find it so interesting to see which whales hang out together when they all mix it up in a superpod like they did this afternoon.
Monika Wieland, Naturalist aboard the Western Explorer out of Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
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On our morning trip, we had reports of most of L-Pod moving up the west side of San Juan Island. We were able to arrive just south of the Turn Point Lighthouse as the leaders approached. The whales were semi- spread, and it was interesting to watch several orcas approach and pass a purse seiner as he was setting his nets, with one female even doing a very high spyhop! As we watched, we were surprised to have L79 & L88 show up from a very deep dive almost touching each other with every surfacing. L79 was doing very high chin ups on ever surfacing. After the whales had passed, more L Pod whales arrived. L74 decided to announce his presence with a breath-taking breach! For the afternoon trip, we had a super pod of whales spread over several miles south of Point Roberts. The whales would come up in large groups, and appeared to be in a resting pattern. As the whales slowly moved along, we were able to get some IDs. In one large group we had J1 Ruffles, J2 Granny, J27 Blackberry, J22 Oreo, and several others that I couldn't ID as Ruffles' huge dorsal fin blocked their saddle patches! It was so incredible to see 20+ whales on the surface simultaneously. We left the whales just north of Alden Bank.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, Friday Harbor
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9:50 am - Hearing calls on Lime Kiln Hydrophones. Calls are fairly loud at this time. 9:57 am - Very loud calls amongst boat noise at OrcaSound Hps.
Cathy Bacon, Texas
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Calls and echolocations, some mild boat noise at 9:30am PDT at Lime Kiln.
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo, FL
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At 10 am and I can hear some great whistles, squeaks and other sounds on the Lime Kilm hydrophone.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic, 'Prince of Whales'

September 11, 2009

3 orcas of the transient pod visiting the South Sound, near Flapjack Point on Eld Inlet.
Larry Brubaker
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J, K, and L pods were reported in the morning heading east past Trial Island. Center for Whale Research staff Dave Ellifrit, Erin Heydenreich, Astrid van Ginnekin and Stefan Jacobs, and Ken Balcomb encountered K's and L's at 10:26 a.m. in mid Haro Strait off False Bay (48 26.468 N, 123 08.993 W). Once the whales reached the west side of San Juan Island they spread out and headed north. We later found J's off Kellett Bluff as well as more L's. The encounter ended off Turn Point (48 41.095 N, 123 14.764 W) at 2:19 p.m. The whales continued north toward Swanson Channel.
The Center for Whale Research
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I was kayaking yesterday "09-11" and saw a pod of five orcas it was around five p.m. The whales were about half mile south of Joemma State Park "its on the westside of Key Peninsula" and headed toward Gig harbor. The whales were just cursing in the water, I saw the pod surface two times but no one came out of the water. Looks like they were just heading back to open water.
Brendon McClain
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I was on the 5 pm out of Tsawwassen BCto Swartz Bay, and the ferry was setting up to enter Active Pass. The Captain announced "orcas off the port bow about 2 1/2 miles away", and they were soon closer, on the starborad side, and then more following, spread out, on the port side. They were moving right along and of course the ferry was moving in the opposite direction so their speed seemed increased. From the dorsal fins it looked like there were adult males, females, children and babies, and maybe some young males.
Diane McNally, Victoria
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Dorothy Hahn called to report a small pod of 5-6 orcas between McNeil Island and Steilacoom.
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The Ocean Magic 2 vessel out of Victoria caught up with many SR's Orca at 1.30pm. They were heading north near Turn Point. We saw several members of J pod as well as this large group of L's.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic, 'Prince of Whales'
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We came up to Turn Point on Stuart Island just as the orcas shot off of it and across Boundary Pass. There were two large groups with a few other SRKWs spread around and we watched as they tail-slapped and lobbed and breached numerous times. Especially around a research boat that was traveling right alongside the pod taking breath samples. The orcas were moving in very close formation at a quick speed, not seeming to waste time on feeding or milling. They headed up Swanson Channel and were still moving northwest when we left them at 1515 hours.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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11:08 - Currently hearing orcas among boat noise at Lime Kiln Point.
Laura Swan
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From Hannah Heights on W. San Juan Island, we observed a pod of 8-10 orcas, including several adult males, about 5 miles out between Discovery Island and Salmon Bank, heading SE at 10:15 am. Then we noticed more spouts beyond this group, and then suddenly by 11, there were whales spread out everywhere, some closer in. From 11 - 11:30 we observed part of J pod heading N past Hannah Heights, fairly close in. At 11:40, 2 more orcas came by, foraging and heading north, then turning and heading back south. At noon, there was a large pod offshore again, and another pod closer in further south of Hannah Heights.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network
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A pod of killer whales passed in front of our house today at 5:00 pm. Our location is: Key Peninsula, west looking across Case Inlet, toward Hartstien Island, north of tip of Herron Island.There were at least four and they were headed North to South and passed between Hartstien and Herron Island.
Don Rees
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The 5 orcas in south sound were in Dana Passage at about 10:30 am. We watched the orcas travel north all the way to Case Inlet around Treasure Is. During this time they fed at Wilson Pt. on Harstene Is. After feeding they stopped and put on a show at the North Point at Harstene Is. This lasted about 45 min, they were very active during this time. They then headed north into Case Inlet around 2 pm.
Dean Schmidtke
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5:45pm - Lone Minke whale just south of Pt. Partridge (W. Whidbey Island) slowly heading north ~ one mile+ out.
Al Luneman, Coupeville

September 10, 2009

After receiving a report of approximately 20 whales in San Juan Channel, Center staff Erin Heydenreich, Astrid van Ginnekin and Stefan Jacobs encountered L's heading north close to shore off Shaw Island (48 34.94 N, 123 01.90 W) at 1:20 p.m. The whales turned and went west through Spieden Channel and then headed south down the west side of San Juan Island. The encounter ended at 4:25 p.m. off Bellevue Point (48 32.27 N, 123 10.36 W) with the whales spread out in loose groups. The groups seen were: L26's, L43's, L4's and L21's. K's were reported in the area, but none were seen or documented by the Center. J's were reported off the west side.
Center for Whale Research
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A pod of 5 orcas were spotted in Dana Passage off the southern end of Harstene Island this morning around 7:45 am. They were heading south towards Boston Harbor/Cooper Point area.
Dean Schmidtke
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The orcas finally showed up around 4:30pm yesterday at Lime Kiln. They were too far out for ID shots.
Carole May, Bellingham
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There are lots of really good calls on Lime Kilm today 1639 (4:39pm) Some so close almost sounds like they are right next to the micro phone.
Sandy Weideman
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1625 Orcas are coming to Lime Kiln. 1550 PDT --- Orca at Lime Kiln. I can hear the Orca in the boat noise @ 1610 PDT
Robo (Lon Brocklehurst)
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Plenty of mixed up [orcas], so to speak, near Lopez. We are fairly certain we saw K21, Cappucino, and we definitely saw J1, Ruffles. The whales were grouping up and travelling in fairly stately fashion with a few breaches, pectoral waves and tail lobs.
Sandra Pollard, Freeland, Whidbey Island
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While cruising back to Sidney from Friday harbour today we encountered "L pod" in San Juan channel heading north. They were directly East out of Friday Harbour, and were moving quickly up the channel 5-6 knots. We tagged along up the channel but at a respectable distance as the whales were surrounded by 9-10 WW boats and some other recreational boats. We left the area at the east entrance to Spieden channel as the whales slowed to decide which direction to go, along with the boats.
Colin & Diane Tuckey with Sheila Hamlin,
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We luckily received a call from Charles Smith while waiting to catch the 11:05 ferry to Friday Harbor. Thanks to this tip, we were on the lookout and found the pod of orcas in San Juan Channel, heading north along the shore of Shaw Island at 11:45 am. The ferry stopped so we could all watch, some spyhops, foraging behavior and a breach or two. We watched until the ferry docked at about 12:30, then we went up the hillside in Friday Harbor and watched as they passed across the harbor from 12:45 - 1 pm, continuing north up San Juan Channel. From our photos & confirmation from the Center for Whale Research who was out with them, these whales were identified as the L37s.
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett, Orca Network
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Small pod including one male seen from Anacortes-Lopez Island ferry Kaleetan at 1040 am PDT. They were just north of the Spencer Spit State Park northeast of Lopez Island heading to the northwest.
Charles Smith
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Today, for the third time this summer, members of the Southern Resident Community (some if not all of L Pod and likely K Pod, to be exact) traveled all the way through San Juan Channel. They then continued through the Speiden Channel. We travelled alongside L's and K's and many other boats. We saw a young calf breach numerous times, many animals were cart, spy hopping, and breaching. For the most part, it didn't appear any fishing behavior was occurring. They traveled in a north/northwesterly direction for the duration of our time with them.
Ashley Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours

September 9, 2009

On a return trip from Victoria B.C., J's, K's, L7 and L53 were encountered off Trial Island at 10:44 a.m. by Center for Whale Research's Ken Balcomb, Marjoleine Roos, and Helen. The whales were spread out in mixed groups traveling north east. The encounter ended at 12:03 p.m. off Beaumont Shoal.
Center for Whale Research
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About half of J-Pod heading north toward Henry Island, with a light flooding tide, from 2:12pm to 3:15pm. J-8 Spieden still makes her distinctive sounding blow; she passed with J-28 Polaris and J-33 Keet. J-1 Ruffles at the end of the groups, slowly making his way north, then he turned and headed back south. All the whales that had made Henry Island turned and followed J-1's lead back south. J-17 Princess Angeline with J-44 were now the trailers and began porpoising to catch up! Little J-44 kept right up with Mom, leaping to clear the wake they were leaving! Harbor Porpoise, Dall's Porpoise, Harbor Seals, and a Steller Sea Loin, all in Haro Strait off of Henry Island, made for a stellar September outing!
Caroline Armon, San Juan Excursions
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Just an observation, now that another report of J's killing a porpoise has surfaced. While watching Ruffles, from the bluff of Westside Reserve, and several others from J-pod heading toward Hannah Heights, I saw distant splashing and leaping of propoises off the Heights to the south. There were several small boats and a large cruiser (which was way too close), near a group of Orcas, including, possibly Kari Koski in an inflatable, observing the behavior. It looked like the orcas were right in there with the porpoise. I was startled to see both species that close together. It did appear the porpoises were trying to flee the orcas. I was too far away to confirm what I observed. If, indeed the report of J-pod killing a porpoise is true I may have seen it happening, tho' from quite a distance away.
Buz Peoples
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We caught up with the [orcas] along the northwest side of San Juan Island and traveled back and forth with them from there and Kellet Bluff. The whales traveled back and forth, many were along the shorelines, and a few were offshore. We had some great views of J1 & likely J22. We also some some porpoising and apparent fishing action from J14 and her calf J44.
Ashley Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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We sped up to meet the Orcas heading eastbound across Haro Strait, presumably from Beaumont Shoals. The first group encountered were the J2's, and they appeared to be headed directly for the shorline of SJI north of Pile Point. A little further to the south, we encountered the J16 matriline, and they appeared to be foraging along the shore. We heard that there may be T's just a little further to the south, and on our way to that point, we spotted J17 having a little one on one playtime with J44. There appeared to be alot of nudging by mom from below and plenty of tail waves from J44. Unfortunately, a full underside view of J44 was never seen, but alot of upside-down swimming was observed. (photo of J44 right-side-up attached - photo zoomed & cropped). After observing this oh-so- intimate moment between mom & calf, we headed off to see the reported T's - which turned out to be more of J Pod. They were mistaken for T's because they had been observed chasing a Dall's porpoise. In the area were J27, J31 and J39, plus a few others a little further in the distance, near the research vessel Phocoena.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
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I'm still processing my wonderful whale encounters at Lime Kiln area. I arrived at Lime Kiln Park at just the right timing, about 2:30 p.m. I saw one fin while driving and so rushed down to waterfront. The first large female Orca meandered by slowly. Then bit by bit, groups of SR's, a few at a time appeared, heading North. Some far out, and some CLOSE IN giving a very WONDERFUL SHOW . Elated and whooping it up from the cliff side rocks, and with lots of people at the Park, and Hydrophone with loud frenzied ORCA talk playing for us at the Lighthouse, MANY (10?) Orcas came in close, slow passing. One Mother and baby duo. lots of females and some HUGE males. They were interested in us , one male spy hopped very close to check us out. The crowd was reeling! Behaviors: A few tail and Pec slaps, lolling, mostly just slow up and downs of groups of fins. About a 20 min show.Then the whales turned around and headed South!!! slow, some out, some into shore, slow meandering, lolling. Another 15 minutes. The best yet was a personal encounter: After all whales had passed, I drove South and parked before getting to Dead Man Bay. Walked down to Shore cliffs. About 3:40 p.m., I noticed another group of 5 whales Southbound toward me from Lime Kiln. I waited alone at water's edge. They came along shore toward me and I hollered and praised them and they swam VERY close to where I was. Passing slowly by, bringing up the rear of all the other whales that had passed, it was Ruffles, Granny (nick on fin?) and some other females. I Greeted and waved at Ruffles when he surfaced and then, he went back down with a lift of his tail. One of the females did the same. I felt that they had waved at me. I'm Honored to tell it!
Lynn Brevig
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1417 - Hearing clicks, S1s, and S7s as orcas approach Orcasound hydrophone, likely headed north as Laura heard them 1 hr ago at Lime Kiln. Will post recording on Orcasound.net once they pass.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound, Seattle
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I am listening to the Hydrophone at Lime Kiln Point and am currently hearing whales. It started at 1:17, a gap for 2 minutes and then again at 1:19 - 1:23pm after which the sounds (clicking and squeaks) are much further apart and appear to be gone by 1:27 pm.
Laura Swan, Wheaton, Illinois
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At 1:51 pm: Since 1:15pm today, I have been listening to faint calls every now and then on Lime Kiln Hydrophone.
Michele Wassell
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Several Gray whales were seen about 2 miles inside the Straight of Juan de Fuca from Cape Flattery. We spent most of the late afternoon & early evening with them.
Michele Auseth, Lady M
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Amy Carey of Vashon Island called to relay a 2nd hand report of the Transient orca pod off Piner Pt, S. Maury Island at 11:07 am, heading south. She didn't hear about the orcas until mid- afternoon, but headed out to try to spot them, and at 5:45 pm found them still off Maury Island, and at 6:30 pm they were heading south past Maury Marine Park, where they milled for 40 minutes and continued slowly south along Maury Island until she lost sight of them around 7:30 pm.
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Michael Waitt of Greenbank, Whidbey Island, called at 5:45 pm to report 1 gray whale 100 yards offshore of Lagoon Pt, SW Whidbey Island, heading north.

September 8, 2009

Jeff Deignan called to relay a 2nd hand report of 4-5 orcas off Pt. Robinson, Maury Island, heading south at 4:30 pm.
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales in Seattle called at 1:50 pm to report the pod of Transients off Blake Island, heading south toward Vashon Island.
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Orca Network received a call from Dave Moehring who had been fishing off of Shilshole N. of Seattle and had a pod of 4 - 5 orcas pass by in the shipping chanel at 10 am. There were no tall male dorsal fins, and several of them had notches. He observed spy hops and tail lobs, as they headed south (several of the T's in the pod that's been off Olympia & Whidbey Island have notches in their fins).

September 7, 2009

Mid afternoon, [orcas] passing Lime Kiln, going north. Most were too far offshore to even see, but a small group (the trailers) were within the 1/4 mile. Rumor had it that J and K pods were coming up island, so it was surprising to see that it was Nugget L-55, and her three kids: Kastaka L-82, Lapis L-103 and youngest Takoda L- 109. I posted pics of them on my blog.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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We saw about 8 or so [orcas] around 10-10:15 Monday morning. They were about a mile offshore West Beach Rd, Whidbey Island and a mile north of Libey Rd (Pt Partridge). They then headed further out to the NW, maybe towards Rosario Strait (?). The Pt Townsend based whale watching boat was stopped right off shore here too, with the whales nearby. They got an early treat, usually it's quite a haul from Pt T out to the San Juan's.
Rudy & Barbara Deck, Coupeville, Whidbey Island
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K's and L's? spread out in ones and twos, from Edwards Point into Haro Strait, traveling north with the flooding tide from 2:50pm to 3:30pm. Many commercial and private fishing vessels- most I've seen in years. The air was filled with the smell of fish! Sighted 4 Dall's Porpoise heading southeast.
Caroline Armon
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We were on our way to see the residents along San Juan Island but got reports of some transients along Gabriola Island. We found 8 transients and were surprised to find them very active with breaches, tail slaps, high speed swimming and spyhops. We never saw any signs of a kill but some very fast swimming close to shore with seals on the rocks so there might have been one. I managed to ID T102, T124D and who i thought was T100D.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Jeff LaMarche of SeaFun Safaris called to report K pod with J27 and a couple of L pod whales off west San Juan Island around 5 pm. The rest of Js and most of L pod were 4 miles west of Sombrio, east of Port Renfrew, heading west at 5:10 ish.
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Finally got out on my little boat after hearing that j-pod was near port townsend, then nw of smith Island. got out and to the south end of sji and found about 5 orcas in and amongst the myriad of private and commercial fishing boats at about 1pm. there were several whale watch boats on scene as the group split up - one heading back toward smith island and the other pair turned north along sji. I sort of followed north, but got outrun by the larger group of reported J's and K's making it to the park (Lime Kiln) by about 3pm. I found myself among dozens of dalls porpoise, and soon after, I had at least 5 pacific white-sided dolphins frisking about my bow as I drifted just after 3pm. they raced around under and surfaced many times for a few minutes and then vanished into the blue. I headed home toward anacortes and spotted a minke in the distance surface only once. this was 1 1/2 mile south of iceberg point, lopez Isl.
"limo" john janson, anacortes, wa
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Orca Network received a report from Al Luneman of Coupeville, of a pod of 6 - 8 orcas 1 mile off Ebey's Landing, W. Coupeville, Whidbey Isl, with another larger pod further out in Admiralty Inlet heading NW toward Pt. Partridge at 9:48 am.
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Around 11:45 AM we spotted them from Langley near Camano Head and heading in a SE direction. They were moving along at a fairly good pace occasionally changing direction and out of site by 12:20. At 1:30 PM we spotted them from our plane 1/2 mile south of the Clinton ferry heading towards Possession Point. After we landed I drove down to Possession Point Park and watched them pass a ways off shore at 2:20- 2:30 PM. There was some occasional tail slapping, two spy hops, and swimming right along with all of the boat traffic. From the air we could clearly see that there were 5 orcas. It was more difficult to tell from shore.
Veronica von Allworden, Langley, Whidbey Island
Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research has confirmed the pod off Whidbey Island Sept. 6 - 7 was the same pod of Transients that had been down in south Puget Sound earlier in the week - the T137s with T36A & T36A1.
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Orca Network received a report of orcas in Saratoga Passage, 1 mile south of Elger Bay at 8:46 am, but no direction of travel was given. Then we received the report below, so headed south to Langley. We first found the pod at 11:40 am from the shore at Bell's Beach, they were between Langley and Camano Head, milling amongst the many boats in the area. Then they headed toward Langley, so we went south, and found them again at 12:10 pm, just heading around Sandy Pt. We clearly were able to count 5 fins surfacing several times, as they headed south into Possession Sound. From 1:15 - 1:30 pm we watched from the Clinton shoreline, as the orcas were actively jumping and likely feeding, between the Mukilteo Lighthouse & the Clinton Ferry Landing, then they headed on south down Possession Sound.
Looking at Veronica's photos, and the timeline of reports from Olympia, to Seattle, to S. Whidbey, we are certain these are the 5 Transient orcas observed in South Puget Sound Aug. 31 - Sept. 5 - the T137s, T36A & 36A1 - sb.b>
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This morning in Saratoga passage from our home on Camano Island at Mabana Beach, we saw 3-4 Orca Whales closer to Whidbey Island (but several miles north of Langley). They were traveling both north and south in what appeared to be circles, playing, jumping, tail splashing, and possibly feeding. There are clearly fish jumping out there, but we are unsure what type of fish. We spotted them beginning at around 9:15am and are continuing to watch them at this time (10:18 am). There is one Orca in the group that appears to be smaller than the rest of them. We are CERTAIN there are three, but fairly sure there are actually four of them altogether.
The Underhill Family, Camano Island
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Jeff LaMarche of SeaFun Safaris reported 2 Humpbacks 2 miles south of Jordon River, S. Vancouver Island at around 5:10 pm, heading west. At approx. 6 pm, he called to report 1 Gray whale heading west at SanSimon Pt.
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Lone minke whale ~ 1-2 miles behind the previous groups of orcas also slowly moving north toward Pt. Partridge ~ 1 mile out off Ebey's Landing, west Whidbey Island.
Al Luneman, Coupeville, Whidbey Island

September 6, 2009

Orcas sighted off Bells Beach on Whidbey Island 6:15 pm. As we were rowing out to get our boat, we spotted orcas about 500 yards off shore on Saratoga Passage. By the time I got into our boat and headed out into the Passage, they disappeared! Disappointed, I circled around back towards the beach and spotted the Orcas just off Bells Beach (at the end of the summer homes). There were 5 beautiful Orcas and I think they were feeding. They were splashing, tail fllipping, spy hopping, and putting on quite a show!
Carole Lewis
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Suddenly out of the grey mist out west, came four Transient Orca, T18, T19, 19B and 19C. We found them along the rugged shoreline of Vancouver Island, near Secretary Rock. I was on the 12.15pm Ocean Magic 2 vessel, and despite the ugly weather we had some nice views of these animals, one of which was an unexpected surfacing fairly close to the boat.
Marie O'Shaughnessy. POW, Victoria BC
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Brenda, of Brookings, OR called to report 1 orca 4.5 miles out, off Bird Island.
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I just saw 3, perhaps 4 adult orcas travelling fast towards the north below my house (above 'campers row' beach, north of Randall point), north of Clinton (east side across from Hat Island). The time was about 4:40-4:55PM. They were about 300 feet off shore and too far to pick up distinguishing characteristics. Myrna Twomey had called at 4:35PM to tell me they were headed my way - she and her eagle-eyed son saw 5 distinct spouts passing Randall Point. Addendum: They evidently had passed Sandy Point by 5:20PM. I found them (or three others? nah.) about 200 feet offshore of the Langley marina at about 5:35PM. Don't know how long they had been in vicinity. Observed them feeding for about 10-15 minutes; they were no longer travelling. At about 5:50PM they all sounded and I never picked them up after that, though I scanned until about 6:15PM (we hate it when that happens - but that's Transients for you!). No boats or other disturbing conditions were evident at the time they disappeared. All dorsals were about the same height. There were definitely three adult individuals.
Elliott Menashe, Clinton, Whidbey Island
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I just raced to the beach as a single Orca went by in front of our house on Brighton Beach, Clinton, Whidbey Island, 4:46 pm, in the middle of the channel and swimming at a fast pace. He/she was headed north. No others so far but I'm watching. I need to learn what to look for so I can identify a resident or transient whale.
Vivienne Hull, Clinton, Whidbey Island
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Orca Network received a report from Laura Nance of ~5 orcas off Possession Park, S. Whidbey Island, heading north up Possesesion Sound toward Glendale (Clinton). They had circled around off the boat ramp for 15 mins, then headed north.
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I saw 4 [orcas], traveling slowly north toward Brace point (S. Seattle) at 9:15 am.
Rick Rasmussen
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Maureen Frederick of Powell River, B.C. called at 2:42 pm to report 1 large orca with a large dorsal fin, across from Harwood Island, heading north toward Savary Island.
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Orca Network received a report of Southern Residents off the west side of San Juan Island around 11 am this morning, heading south and "power surfing, breaching and full body porpoising out of 5 foot seas" - they LOVE this kind of weather! She had heard there were members of all 3 pods present.

September 5, 2009

At about 1 pm we saw three Orca whales, it looked like 2 adults and a baby. I couldn't say if any of the fins was large enough for one to be a male. They were in Rocky Bay at the North end of Case Inlet on the Sound (Lat: 47.3581504 Long: -122.7943054). They were making a lot of splashing initially, but then they hung around for about half an hour in roughly the same area and seemed more to be playing. Lots of fins in the air coming up for air and going under, but not really moving from their location. As they left they appeared to be heading South.
Emily Outcalt
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These pictures were taken about noon. They were north of Heron Island in Case Inlet. We thought there were 4, 2 adults and 2 young, and feeding. We watched them about half of an hour then they disappeared, we suspected to the south.
Jane Berni
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Ken Balcomb, Stewart Macintyre, Kathy Babiak, John Walker and Marjoleine Roos of the Center for Whale Research encountered L7 and L53 off Battleship Rock heading north at 4:05 p.m. The J17's and a few K's were also encountered spread out traveling north. The encounter enfed at 4:52 p.m. off Stuart Island.
Center for Whale Research
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We saw the south sound Transients beginning just before 3 p.m. for about 20 minutes, we watched them cruising and playing in Case Inlet. Our cabin on Crescent Beach is just north of Dutcher's cove, about 2 miles south of Vaughn. The whales were about a half mile off shore, between Dutcher's cove and the south end of Stretch Island. We watched them as they headed south, until they were near the ferry dock on the east side of Herron Island. They were quite a distance away by then, but it appeared they stopped the ferry to watch the whales too.
Kim and Jeff, Crescent Beach, Vaughn WA
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Orca Network received a report of a pod of 4-5 orcas in Case Inlet outside of Vaughan, near Rocky Bay around 1 or 2 pm, heading south.
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Once the [orcas] decided to head to Lime Kiln Point, across a strong flooding tide, they really put on the speed. At about 1:45pm all of a sudden, it seemed, there they were- breaching multiple times by multiple whales!! A few spy hops, directional changes back and forth in front the lighthouse, and a ?dozen or so L-Pod whales? continued on their way north. There was a second group at Point Edwards that looked like they might head north, but at 3:40pm they headed south.
Caroline Armon
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Orcas heard on Orca Sound hydrophones starting at 20:20 (8:20 pm). The calls lasted only about 10 minutes, then they moved to Lime Kiln hydrophones at 20:45, where they lasted about 20 minutes.Seems like they had 'stopped by' the lighthouse (really-really- loud) for a few minutes and then began to move off. As they did, I continued to hear their calls, and each call would 'keep going, and going.' The calls did NOT sound like they were echoing back. It was like being able to 'see' how far their calls carry. (at about 21:06). It was quite amazing. It also seemed to be a small group, and it seemed as if they were having a 'casual conversation.' It was very different from what I usually hear.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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I heard calls at lime kiln hydrophone at about 2100.
Cathy Wilson
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2024 PDT - Orca at Lime Kilm hydrophone. 2056 PDT - Orca "GONE".
RoboLon, San Juan Island
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I just had a call (7:15 pm) from relatives staying at the family cabin on Johnson Point, out of Olympia. They were watching 5 orcas heading south. The orcas were about a fourth of the way out into the channel between the area south of Tolmie State Park and Taylor Bay. Feeding must be good.
Jone Borhek, Steilacoom
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We have had 4, or possibly 5, Orcas in Hammersley Inlet in the Shelton area.
Lee Zuke, Shelton, WA

September 4, 2009

About a dozen or more L-Pod whales (L-5, L-73, L- 74, L-84, L-25, L-12, L-41, L-77, L-94), came through Cattle Pass into San Juan Channel, where we watched them off of Griffin Bay, at about 1:25pm, as they hugged Lopez Island, slowly heading north with a strong flood tide. They stayed together, pausing many times, as if deciding where to go next! We wondered if they would go into Upright Channel, but no- as a group they instantly, fluidly turned and swam along Shaw Island until Parks Bay, where they turned west, north, then back south retracing their route. Now it is about 3:40pm and we are right outside of Friday Harbor. We heard reports and could see another group of whales- K's? further south in the channel, who had made it to Reid Rock by this time. They lingered and seemed to be foraging in the tide rips there. Reports were that J's were with them earlier, but did not go through Cattle Pass. (Despite my mixing up L-73 Flash with J-1 Ruffles- L- 73 sure has the same wavy dorsal fin!!) Such a rare occurrence, and a treat, to see these whales in this channel, especially L's & K's without the J's- who spend the most time in these waters. We only saw one spy hop, and a few of the youngsters roll and show their pectoral fins, no other surface behaviors other than traveling and a little foraging. The way they swam so slowly and stopped frequently appeared as if they were hesitant and unfamiliar with this channel. I went to the Cattle Point Lighthouse at 6:10pm, to see the whales, now in 2 groups and the tide is starting to ebb, go south along Goose Island through the pass toward the southwest. There were 2 Bald Eagles on Goose Island and 2 Steller Sea Loins in the water watching with me! The orcas picked up speed as they rounded Cattle Point, so I went up the road to the South Beach overlook, where they spread out halfway between shore and Hein Bank, heading west at 7:06pm.
Caroline Armon
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Amy Traxler of the Whale Museum called to share two reports from their hotline of the Transient orcas in south Puget Sound between Hammersley Inlet and Oakland Bay.
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We were out on the Western Explorer at about noon when two big groups of K and L Pod whales had a greeting ceremony off the South Beach area. They had only been apart for about a day, but that didn't seem to matter to them! One group had come up from Iceberg Point and the other had come in from Hein Bank. The whales lined up in two large groups facing each other a few hundred yards apart - about 20 to 30 animals on each side. They dove for about a minute or two, and when they came back to the surface they were all facing the same direction, but there were LOTS of tail slaps, plus some spyhops, breaches, and pec slaps. They all started heading back towards Cattle Pass, but instead of heading east or south like they normally do, they took a sharp left and started heading UP San Juan Channel in two large groups about a mile or so apart. The leading group was made up of mostly L-Pod whales, including the L12s and the L5s. The trailing group was made up of most of K-Pod (minus the K11s) and the L2 family group. I saw them still heading north from Friday Harbor at about 3 PM, but I heard they turned at some point and went back south and out of Cattle Pass later in the day.
Monika Wieland, Naturalist aboard the Western Explorer
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"Wow what a day on the water - count the whales in this photo! We found J pod with some L's mixed in around 11:45 am this morning, west of Smith Island and traveling slowly west, often in tight groups. I was able to ID J1, J2, J8, J14, J17, J22, J27, J28, J30 and J31. Also L72 with her very distinctive saddle patch. We stayed with them for an hour or so, then headed towards San Juan Channel and found roughly a dozen Steller Sea Lions cavorting in the bull kelp. Then in San Juan channel there were more orca.
Jill Hein, on board Mystic Sea
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As they came up SJC - I saw all of K Pod (EXCEPT the K-11s and Onyx L-87) and with them were the L-2s -Grace, Gaia and Wave Walker. The 'first group' as they came up SJC - the only L Pod whales I DID NOT see were: L-7 and L-53 - Canuck and Lulu but they travel with J Pod right now. L-72 and L-105 Racer and Fluke (I got pics of L-95 Nigel so that was strange), L-47, L-83, L-91 and L-110 Marina, Moonlight, Muncher, and Midnight, L-26, L-90 and L-92 Baba, Ballena and Crewser. AND I DID NOT SEE Spirit L-22 - but I saw her two boys - L-79 Skana and L-89 Solstice. the other day she was with Blackberry and Mako - hum - I wonder if she was with J pod today. I got pics of everyone else in L Pod.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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We left Friday Harbor, and within about 15 minutes we met up with a northbound group of L's in San Juan Channel. There were around 25 in this group I'd say, fairly grouped and synchronized, moving oh so slowly north while hugging the Lopez shoreline. They didn't appear to be resting, and while there were the few occasional lunges and surface direction changes, they didn't really appear to be feeding for the most part either. As they began to pass Turn Island, they all instantly made a 90 degree turn to their left, to continue along San Juan Channel. There was a single spyhop, perhaps wondering where they heck they were! They continued north, and eventually made their way right off Friday Harbor. Following behind was another group of K's and L's. The first group made a 180, as did the group behind, and they slowly headed south. We putted into the Harbor (still watching the whales) at around 4, and on the 5 o'clock ferry back to Anacortes I was able to still spot 5 fins south of Turn Island. Present were L5, 25, 12, 84, 79, 55, 77, 25, 95, 74, 54, 73, 41, 22, along with K40 and 21, and many more.
Heather Harris, Bellingham
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This is a report of a pod of orcas that arrived in Hammersley Inlet by Shelton, WA on September 2 and they are still here at dusk.
Beth Reid, Shelton, WA
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We have had 4, or possibly 5, Orcas in Hammersley Inlet in the Shelton area.
Lee Zuke, Shelton, WA I received a report this morning from Jason Ragan, who said the transients had moved into Oakland Bay near Shelton.
Christopher Dunagan, Environmental Reporter, Kitsap Sun
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Victor Andrucson called Orca Network to report 5-6 orcas 500 - 1000' off the South end, east side of Texada Island BC, near Dicks Island (north of Vancouver) at 1700 hours. There were 2 very young ones, 2 medium sized whales and at least one very large one. They were first seen heading south, then milling and feeding - appeared to be feeding on salmon.
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We got to view the [orcas] twice from the Whale Museum (in Friday Harbor)! This is rare, as they don't often travel in San Juan Channel. The whales were in San Juan Channel, pretty close to the shore of Shaw Island on the first pass by at about 3:10 p.m. We counted between 8-10 whales and they were too far away to id. As soon as we had put away our binoculars and gotten back to work, we got word they had turned around and were coming back! This time they were closer, though still too far for any positive id's. On the 2nd pass by, they were traveling south and were soon out of sight behind Brown Island.
Connie Domenech, The Whale Museum
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It was reported to us as a superpod before they got here but we didn't see enough whales to look like a superpod and we were too far away to identify anyone. But it was definitely exciting seeing whales from the museum - twice since they turned around and headed back south again!
Cindy Hansen, The Whale Museum, Friday Harbor
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It was an amazing sight to see J Pod and a few members of L pod traveling swiftly off shore of San Juan Island between 1.30pm and 2pm. They were all bunched up together coming up from the south and heading north. L 7 and L 72 were clearly seen. They seem to be all on a mission.
Marie O'Shaughnessy. Orca-Magic. Prince Of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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Pod went past the south end of Lopez 11:15 am. About 12 orcas, traveling east to west, very relaxed and easy pace. No boats around just the orcas.
Sally Reeve, Lopez Island
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K and L pods moving up San Juan Channel from the south at 1:00 P.M. Encountered them north of Shark Reef and traveled with them north up the channel until they turned west along Shaw Island. Today they were in two tight groups with one moving more quickly than the other. K40 "Raggedy", K21 "Cappuccino", L74 "Saanich", L84 "Nyssa", L54 "Ino" were there along with many others.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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In Hamersley Inlet, in Shelton, the Transient orcas are currently (1:05 pm)at Oakland Bay & Hammersely inlet.
Deborah Goelzer
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Apparently these two Transient Orca seen by the 3.30pm Ocean Magic trip out of Victoria were labelled as 'unknown' until at a later time last evening, when Mark Mallard from POW was able to identify them, as U 38 and U 39. They were seen 2 miles south of Constance Bank, Strait of Juan de Fuca and heading even further south when we left them at 5pm. We had spent time with a Humpback Whale south of Constance Bank that was foraging before we got word that the Transients were out there too.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Orca-Magic. Prince Of Whales, Victoria B.C.
Since I'd never run across any "U" Transients before, I asked for clarification from the Center for Whale Research as to what a "U" (rather than a "T") Transient means - here's Dave's answer - sb: It means Graeme (Ellis, of Canada's DFO Pacific Biological Field Station) is not willing to call them transients yet since (probably) no one has biopsied these two, there are no recordings of them, and/or they have never been sufficiently associated with known west coast transients. They do look like they came out of a slightly different mold and may have moved into these waters from somewhere to the south of here or from offshore.
Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research

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Orca Network received a call from Dan Shenk, reporting 1 male orca with a dorsal fin bent to the left at the tip (T40?), at Seaview, near Ilwaco, WA, heading south at 7 pm in 90' of water.

September 3, 2009

Right as I drove around the corner at Point Edwards at 4:55pm, around slack flood tide, there were orcas traveling near shore from Lime Kiln Point south!
Caroline Armon, San Juan Transit and Tours
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Amy Traxler of the Whale Museum called to share two reports from their hotline of the Transient orcas in south Puget Sound. One sighting was between Eagle Pt. and Munson Pt.
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While tuna fishing we sighted 10 killer whales about 28 miles off shore. 3 females with calves, two males and two other whales, either juvenile males or females without calves. These two whales had small dorsal fins and were traveling along side a large male who's dorsal fin was bent over to the left (T40?) . Approx 20 inches was folded over with what appeared to be a lump on the end of the dorsal. Another male was traveling approx 100 yards away from the rest of the pod. The whales were traveling south at a very steady speed. Location as follows: South west of Port Orford and North West of Gold Beach Oregon (42.39.280 by 124.58.975). The whales were in good health including the calves, what a treat to see them.
James Cross
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This is a report of a pod of orcas that arrived in Hammersley Inlet by Shelton, WA
Beth Reid, Shelton, WA
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The 12.15pm Ocean Magic 2 vessel went west to encounter two Transient Orca off Sooke Vancouver Island. They were T 11 and T 11A. ID by Mark Malleson. Great to see them in a resting phase slowly heading out west.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Prince of Whales, Victoria B.C.
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Most of the members of L pod and some of K pod were spread along the west side and south end of San Juan Island at 2:30 P.M. They were traveling east in several tight groups, porpoising along the way.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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An amazing day today with J's and L's! We got them in the strait of georgia and followed them all the way just outside of the (Vancouver) airport. When we first arrived there was lots of foraging going on but then the fun began, non stop breaches, tail and pec slaps, spyhops. It was a great day for all of us. This is a picture of J1 spyhopping with UBC in the background and a plane landing at the airport.
Gary Sutton Wild Whales Van,couver
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Our Southern Residents were having fun near Horseshoe Bay, North Vancouver, mid-afternoon (a bonus for BC ferry passengers perhaps). Various members of J, K and L pods, including 'Ruffles' (J1) and 'Blackberry' (J27), were highly active - breaches, spy-hops, tail-lobs, porpoising and some 'hanky-panky'! A real treat for everyone who was lucky enough to see the Orcas today.
Sandra Pollard, Freeland Whidbey ,Island
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Apparently the [orcas] somehow managed to turn around, come all the way back in, and no one saw/heard them until they passed the Center (for Whale Research, NW San Juan Island). They thought they saw 7-9 L Pod whales, and it wasn't until the whales had gone through Active Pass that we found that we had members of all three pods. Then another boat was transiting to San Juan and found a few K Pod whales and the L12s down at McArthur Bank.
John Boyd, San Juan Island
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Orca Network received a call from Genevieve, reporting 2 orcas observed just past the breakers from Kalaloch lodge, WA coast just before sunset. The whales were milling, possibly feeding, & not heading in any discernable direction.
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7:45 AM, Saw a minke whale in Saltery Bay, B.C.
Cathy Kelly
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I was just at my sisters in Hamersley Inlet, in Shelton. Her neighbor had taken pictures of the Transient orca pod.
Deborah Goelzer
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I saw three orcas in Case Inlet on the east side of Harstine Island at about 6:20p. Two adults and one juvenile were heading north. I watched them breach for about 2-3 minutes before they headed north toward Stretch Island.
Jill Roberts
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We got reports of these whales (Transient orcas) early this morning, so Greg Schorr and I just went out to get a better look. There are five individuals in the group, 3 adult female/subadult male sized and two juveniles, one fairly small. We saw at least two kills- one confirmed harbor seal and one that we assume was a seal, but we were at a distance so did not see the victim. We left the whales in the middle of Budd Inlet, headed slowly south toward Olympia. A WDFW enforcement team is on the water keeping an eye on them, and they said they will be around as long as the whales remain in the area. And that's the latest from the south sound!
Erin A. Falcone, Biologist, Cascadia Research, Olympia, WA
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I assume that you are getting all the whale reports from South Sound. They (Transient orcas) were in Eld Inlet near Cooper Point about 11:45 am today. gobbling up the seals.
Ralph Munro, Olympia, WA
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10:45 am - 3 Orcas, Budd Inlet (Olympia, WA), 1500' south of Boston Harbor Lighthouse, East side of inlet. Boats starting to gather.
bart olson

September 2, 2009

Long time Center for Whale Research volunteer, Stewart Macintyre, spotted transients from the Center for Whale Research at 1:00 p.m. a few miles SW of Zero Rock. At 1:51 we encountered the T18's (T18, T19, T19B, and T19C) three miles NE of Baynes Channel (48 29.633 N,123 13.893 W). The whales attacked and killed a harbor seal and then grouped up and headed SW toward Discovery Island, B.C. (48 29.317 N,123 13.402 W) at 2:50 pm. From the photos taken we were able to confirm that T19C is a male. Dave Ellifrit, Erin Heydenreich, Astrid Van Ginnekin, and Stewart Macintyre on Orca; Ken Balcomb, Marjoleine Roos and Tiffany Humphrey on Starlet
Center for Whale Research
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We haven't seen many Dall's porpoise this season, so finding 3 groups of porpoise out in Haro Strait off of Spieden Island was a welcome sight. One group of 5 rode our bow and stern wakes from 2:55pm until 3:10pm, when they went back to traveling- foraging. Our passengers were awed by their agility, speed, and grace!
Caroline Armon
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This is a report of a pod of orcas that arrived in Hammersley Inlet by Shelton, WA. The pod consists of five orcas, 4 adults and one baby. They swim back and forth sometimes in a row and other times clustered together. There is one wide open area by the Shelton Yacht Club where they spend hours each day flopping and tail splashing, leaping out of the water and rolling over. At high tide they rush down the inlet like they are feeding? Acting very intent in their movement. We have a number of photos of orcas leaping out of the water and some shots of the fins. We live on Walker Park Road outside of Shelton and they swim around our house several times each day. There are annual sightings around this time of year of one or two orcas but never more than a few hours then they are gone. They have NEVER in 30 years stayed this long in this area.
Beth Reid, Shelton, WA
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We were lucky enough last night to catch 3-4 Transients passing through Baynes channel and the Chain Islands at about 1630, they then headed out to meet the reported group of T's east of Constance Bank, then they all hightailed it west (we weren't lucky enough to catch the big group but I heard that there may have been around 30 animals).
Keith Provan
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Bill Parker called Orca Network to report observing 1 Gray whale off the Sequim, Clallam County Dungeness Recreation area, 30 yards off shore of the first parking lot at 4 pm. The whale appeared to be feeding, and had a light colored area around its right eye.
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I have to say the Grey whales off of Jetty Island must be quite happy to be there. Upon our return, we also saw a solo traveler heading north in the mid channel of Admiralty Inlet off of Double Bluff. I was surprised to see one spout upon our return to Port Gardener, as I would have thought that the whale we saw in the mid channel would have signaled that they were ready to head south for the summer.
Doug Barlow
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Four transient orcas at Zero Rock south of D'Arcy Island (east of Victoria) at 2:00 P.M. We saw several large breaches from a distance and a harbor seal was eaten while we were on scene. After the seal there was some general milling and then all of the animals headed southwest. Present were T018, T018B, T018C and T019.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, Crew At San Juan Safaris Whale Watch Wildlife Tours
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On our afternoon trip we were headed southwest toward Discovery Island to check in on T18 and the T19 group when we got word of a large group of T's at Constance Bank. After a very brief stop with the first 4 transients, we elected to head further south to reduce the number of boats viewing that small group. As we neared Constance Bank, we could see lines of fins and blows appearing on the horizon in all directions. Most of our viewing was from 1/4 to 1/2 mile as it seemed there was no pattern to the movements of the lines between surfacings, and moving the boat in the direction where the whales had been last proved to be quite unproductive. After what seemed like a long wait, we finally had a group of whales close enough to ID a few of them (about 200- 300 m). The T10's were the most recognizable group at first. Although it appeared the whales were headed away from us, the next time they surfaced, they were behind our boat and moving up our starboard side. A couple of breaches were followed by some upside-down swimming, tail slaps and some general rollling around. The whales finished that breathing sequence and when they appeared again, they were at least 1/4 mile away and back to their serious selves. From a photo taken by one of our passengers, it has been determined that at least one of the whales present was a California Transient that was also seen in Alaska this summer. I have also attached another photo that I took (300 zoom and very cropped! see above photo) of a whale that is not in the catalogue and is not familiar to Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, whose specialty is Alaskan Transients. The photo has also been forwarded to the DFO researchers at Nanaimo*. The T's that were Id'ed later from photos were T100, T100B, T100C, T10, T10B, T10C, T63 and T46. This was just the one line that approached the boat close enough to ID. All the others were just fins and blows in the distance - beautiful! It was definitely worth the extra trip to see these top predators all grouped together.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch
*Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research has ID'd this whale as T46D - sb
*
A solitary ocra was sighted in Discovery Passage near Whiskey Point on Quadra Island, BC at 10:00 AM this morning. It was heading south toward Cape Mudge at the south end of the island at a leisurely pace. Dorsal fin was estimated at about 4 feet. Approximate coordinates are: N 50 02.16'; W 125 12.92'. Two whale watching boats were following slowing behind at a safe distance.
Ken & Kathy Robertson, Quadra Island,BC

September 1, 2009

Greg Schorr and I conducted our monthly outer coast survey from Westport Tuesday. It was a slow day on the whale front, although heavy fog for almost half the day probably had something to do with that. We saw only two humpbacks, but we did encounter a good diversity of small odontocetes. We ran into a small group of Risso's dolphins twice, only our second sighting of this species during almost five years of these surveys. We also saw Dall's and harbor porpoise, and had a beautiful encounter with several hundred northern right whale dolphins with up to hundred or so pacific white-sided dolphins interspersed. The weather, the size of the group, and their surface active and boat-friendly behavior made for the best encounter either of us have ever had with northern right whale dolphins, and we came back with some beautiful picture of these unusual animals.
Erin A. Falcone, Biologist, Cascadia Research, Olympia
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Orca Network received a call from Kevin, a NOAA fisheries groundfish observer, who reported seeing 1 orca with a 3' tall dorsal fin off the mouth of the Noyo River heading south, near Ft. Bragg, CA at 11:39 am. The location was 39 39 37N, 124 01 02W.
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I first spotted a large group of orcas out in the Strait of Georgia, well off to the northeast of East Point, Saturna Island around 11:30am. There were two whale boats on the scene, and lots of breaching and tail lobbing going on. As the tide was turning to flood against them, it would take them about an hour and a half to reach the shelf between Boiling Reef and Patos Island, by which time they had spread out into three groups extending along that line about a mile end to end. By 1:15pm they were passing East Point heading southwest, with numerous J's and L's passing very close to shore including J16, J17 with a calf, J19, L27 with a calf, L47, L86 and L106. With now at least 40+ whales spread out in Boundary Pass, it became very congested with whale boats, private motor and sailboats and quite a few large ships -- at one point a container ship passed right over a group of whales and at least two could be seen surfing the wake as it passed, porpoising, tail lobbing and breaching in the waves. The current, now at it's peak, slowed the pods to a crawl, and it wasn't until around 3:15pm that they reached Skipjack Island. They seemed to linger about there for a while, making little progress, and didn't really start moving again until around 3:45. They reached Taylor Point on Saturna Island around 4:15pm at which point I lost sight of them. The Center for Whale Research poop patrol was in action and spent at least a couple of hours in their search for specimens -- I didn't see if they scored any samples.
Miles Ritter, Saturna Island
(the poop patrol research is being undertaken & assisted by several researchers & agencies, including NOAA Fisheries, Univ. of WA, & the Center)
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We saw a pod of [orcas] just off Flapjack point yesterday. This is extremely far south on Puget Sound, and we've never seen whales in this area before. Here are the details:
Location: Approximately 50 yards off Flapjack Point on Eld Inlet near Olympia, Washington. Time of sighting: 12:30 - 12: 40 pm.
Number of whales: Definitely three whales and possibly four. Appeared to be two adults, one youth and one calf. At least one of the adults might have been a male because one of the dorsal fins appeared quite large.
Type of whales: We think they are Orcas. The photos don't show any white, but we could definitely see white multiple times as they swam in the water.
Direction: Whales came from the north and swam about 1/8 mile southward past the tip of Flapjack Point. Then they turned around and went back north. We never saw them again. We assume they were feeding since there are lots of seals in the bay this time of year. You could see the pod on the surface blowing water from their blow holes, they'd disappear under the water for about 2 minutes, and then appear again, swimming in unison.
Jeanie and Michael Coates
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2015 PDT - Lime Kiln hydrophones - The Orca have been at it for almost 1.5 hous -- now. Loads of PLAY. Sound level is 5 to 8.
Lon Brocklehurst
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7:40 pm - Whales can be heard on the hydrophone at Lime Kiln. Its amazing.
Vicky Miller, SSAMN of Marysville




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