September 2010 Whale Sightings

September 30, 2010

3 pm - John Fortin of Hansville saw orcas near Double Bluff, SW Whidbey Island.
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Lime Kiln: Jeanne Hyde reports L pod calls at 20:21 on Lime Kiln hydrophones. First auto-detections were at 20:16, but calls became clear slightly later, listen here. Auto-detections continued at Lime Kiln until last one at 21:45. OrcaSound: First auto-detections were at at 20:30, slightly later than at Lime Kiln. Auto-detections continued at Orcasound until last one at 21:00. At times there were many calls in each recording, click here to listen.
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Did anyone report the dozen, or perhaps more, Orcas that were salmon feeding 12:30, in Georgia Strait, Canadian waters between BC Ferry Tsawwassen dock & Deltaport Way? (they have now!) There were no less than 5 commercial whale watching boats there to witness. It was very exciting. Thank you to the BC Ferry Captain who made the announcement so that anyone aboard could take in the experience. It was an amazing sight. Spread over a mile were many Orcas feeding. Three big males for sure. Spectacular in the sunlight.
Suzanne Bowen-Plasterer, Metchosin BC
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L Pod! The Ls went north to the Fraser River yesterday (9/29) and came back down this afternoon (9/30). The most amazing season of sightings continue.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's charters, San Juan Island
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The L2's (L2, L78 and L88) were encountered just south of False Bay at 3:30 p.m. (48° 45.95 N; 123° 07.681W) by Center for Whale Research staff Dave Ellifrit and Emma Foster. They were traveling south west. The encounter ended off Middle Bank (48° 41.53 N; 123° 03.052 W) with the whales heading west at 5:57 p.m.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Ken Balcomb reported Southern Resident orcas were between Hannah Heights and South Beach, San Juan Island this afternoon.
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All day there were no reports about the J and K pod orcas who were somewhere south of Whidbey Island in Puget Sound on this bright clear day. Finally they were seen from Point No Point in Admiralty Inlet at 3 pm, heading north. At about 4:30 we found them between Hood Canal and Marrowstone Island, about two miles to the west, opposite Mutiny Bay on the west side of Admiralty. Their exhalations in a tight resting line were backlit by the autumn sun for at least a half hour, as they moved slowly northward. Eventually the line became a loose cluster of tall blows with occasional fins in the mist. For a while they continued north, then they all turned south, then the bunch turned north, then south, then north. We were getting dizzy and the evening winds got cold, so we left them, still miles away, still moving north, then south...we don't know which way they eventually went.
Howard and Susan
Orca Network

September 29, 2010

It was another great encounter with some of L Pod, off False Bay, San Juan Island. It is always great to see the Southern Residents any time, especially the L's including the newest member, L115. They were coming up from the south and heading north. With the added bonus of plenty of sunshine and great looks at L 47 and her little calf, those of us on board the ' Pacific Explorer ' at 2pm, would agree we had a 'whale of a time'. The little calf appeared to be so active with behaviours of spyhops, tail lobs and chasing of fish. (look for Marie's photo of L 115 with its mom in a future report! ) We even saw a few Dall's Porpoise interacting with the Orca. There is nothing nicer than being in the company of Orca in my opinion, especially mom's with their little ones.
Marie O'Shaughnessy. Prince of Whales
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Saw four Orcas at Lagoon Point (48 04' 22.33" 122 36' 52.00") at about 1:00 PM. They circled in the rip for about 30 minutes and appeared to be feeding, but I'm not sure. The slapped the water frequently with their tails. I wasn't able to determine if any were males and didn't see where they went. I haven't seen whales there in the past.
Gary Engman
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Pete Bingham called from Hansville at 5:58 to say orcas were passing Point No Point, Kitsap Peninsula, headed south.
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At 12:40 Roger Clark called from his fishing boat to report about a dozen orcas traveling south off Lagoon Point, Whidbey Island, in Admiralty Inlet. He said there were at least two large males. I joined him at 1:30 and for the next 2 hours we moved only a mile or so. The whales, including J1, J2, J28 and calf, J34 and K40, were breaching, lobtailing and U-turning rapidly, indicating foraging. Roger said coho were running, though Chinook may have been among them. I then went by land to Bush Point, about 2 miles south, and waited another 20 minutes before the first ones came by in mid-channel. They took another hour till 4:20 to pass Bush Point, very slowly and very spread out.
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Jennifer Hagerman called at 5:28pm to say she was watching orcas headed south past Mutiny Bay, Whidbey Island.
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1637: orca, 2 maybe 3 groups, headed south fast in the shipping lanes. Probably at about the north end of mutiny bay now. I am just south of bush point and they are south of me and going fast.
Barbara Mundell
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I had the great fortune to be on the beach just north of Mutiny Bay this afternoon about 4 o'clock and saw many plumes in the distance. I guess maybe about a dozen Orcas spread out across Admiralty Passage were headed south towards Seattle at a leisurely pace. There were some breaches also, but they were pretty far from shore and i didn't have binoculars, so i couldn't really see much but the big splashes and some dorsal fins. But it made my day!
Louise Salmin
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1525 SRs - S19 and S5 calls on both Lime Kiln and Orcasound hydrophones now. Probably heading north. Also, Orca Network detected southern residents going south into Puget Sound passing Lagoon Point on Whidbey Island at 2pm, so listen today on Port Townsend and Seattle Aquarium, as well!
Scott Viers
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Scott called from Bush Pt. at 3:51 to report about ten orcas headed south past Bush Point, Whidbey Island.
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3:40 pm: Bev Wenthin - pod of orcas off Bush Pt, mid-channel, just North of the buoy.
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We were watching the [orcas] out front at Lagoon Point today beginning around 1:30, breaching, playing and staying in the same area, they are still out there at 2:14. My neighbor said that is where they were catching fish this morning so maybe that is what they are doing.
Sue Kukuk
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1:05 pm: pod of orcas 4+ another pod further North off Lagoon Pt.
Marty Crowley
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13:53: Orca at lagoon point.
Paul (Sent from my iPhone )
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So exciting to see the pod of orcas passing Lagoon Pt. about 1:15. Several males, I thought I saw at least 3, also some small one with them. I actually saw a small one trying to do tail lobs. Lots of breaches and spy hopping. The first group had about 5 and the second, maybe 10. I will be looking for your report. I wonder if they are feeding as they seemed to be hanging out in one area for a while as they slowly move Southward.
Merilyn Ohlson
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1:00 PM - There are two pods playing - full breaches - quite a show. One pod seems to be staying directly across from Lagoon Point, the other is headed South.
Lauryn Taylor
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Ken Balcomb relayed a text message from Ron Bates about 15 orcas off the south side of San Juan Island.
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Ken and Wendy Eklund called Orca Network to report a single orca north of Olympic Shoal in Budd Inlet at 5:45. They said they saw a black fin about 3 1/2 feet tall and heard the blows. It was headed SSW.

September 28, 2010

Sept. 28 - Oct. 1 - Nancy Laymance called Orca Network about hearing blows in the night for three nights in a row, from Wednesday, Sept 28 to Friday, Oct 1, from the northern tip of Harstene Island. No actual whales were seen, but the description of the sounds indicates that there were several orcas there at night.
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At 4:45 p.m. spotted a Minke in Georgia Strait, just off the Belle Chain Islets, near Saturna Island. We also observed lots of harbor seals on the islets and nearby water. It was a splendid afternoon, a lovely respite from all the fog and rain.
Nancy Westrell - Portland OR
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We started the whale watching portion of the trip at Turn Point on Stuart Island. Suddenly, whales started rounding Turn Point. Then more whales, then more! Orca after orca came toward the point, puffs of water vapor could be seen as distant whales headed our way and the orcas that passed by glistened in the sun. It was a super pod today, meaning all the whales from the Southern Resident community passed us by! Before seeing the whales we had seen harbor seals and bald eagles, after seeing the whales we saw MORE harbor seals, tons of wildlife on Spieden Island, a few harbor porpoise AND a minke whale!
Ashley Chapman, Naturalist
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Orcas at Lime Kiln and OrcaSound hydrophones at 5:40 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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1722: [Orcas] can now be heard on Lime Kiln. Whales heading southbound. Good visuals on the Center's Cam.
Cathy Bacon
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We have the pleasure of being serenaded by Southern Resident orcas while we work on this report - they've been going strong on the OrcaSound hydrophone - began listening at 5 pm, still going at 6:30 pm.
Susan & Howard, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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4:23 pm - Calls on OrcaSound - Reports are it's all three pods heading south.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island
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~ 4 pm: I am hearing occasional little high pitched calls - perhaps porpoise or even the Pacific White-Sided dolphins? (Lime Kiln).
Annika Bowden (via Facebook)
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6:50am calls on OrcaSound-whistles, honks, clicks.
Alisa Lemire Brooks (via Facebook)
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Many Southern Resident S19 calls, a few other calls (S18, S5), and clicks auto-detected this morning at Lime Kiln from 05:42:46 to 06:35:08.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound

September 27, 2010

Between Noon and 1, J Pod headed south from Lime Kiln!
Katie O'Rourke
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Still hearing orcas - 11:28 am. Mostly S19s and S18s, so there are definitely some Ls still out there. Occasionally another call is thrown in, too. They are just starting to become less frequent now at 11:25 AM. I spoke too soon - the calls are much more numerous again at 11:45 AM. Now including S37s, S16s, S17s, S10s, and more.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island
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10:53 am: Sounds as if L pod is traveling north in Haro Strait. Very vocal and I got a few visuals of the whales from the Center's cam. Whales appear to be offshore. Airplane flying above. Hearing many S19's.
Cathy Bacon
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones - 9:34 am, at both Lime Kiln & OrcaSound at 10:33 am & 12:17 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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10:15 am: Hearing first faint calls at Orcasound as they continue at Lime Kiln. Mostly S19s repeated, with an occasional S16. Perhaps Ls and Ks are northbound in Haro Strait?
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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8:54 am: Periodic calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone. 10:37 am: Lots of clear orca sounds on OrcaSound right now!
Gayle Swigart, Olympia, (via Facebook)
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About 12:30 PM. Brown's Point Lighthouse Park in Pierce County WA. Saw a Minke Whale about 50 meters off the point. Blew twice and disappeared.
Guy McWethy, Renton, WA

September 26, 2010

Near False Bay on the West Side, San Juan Island, it was the Dall's Porpoise. Though we didn't get to see them, there were also Humpbacks and Transient Orcas out there. Fog always is a problem, but fortunately yesterday it lifted a bit in time for our 1:00 trip.
Captain Jim Maya, Maya's charters, San Juan Island
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The T049A's were interacting with 3 humpback whales west of Constance Bank near Victoria BC in the afternoon.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria, BC

September 25, 2010

One picture is of a humpback we saw feeding today and it gave us a good look at its missing pectoral flipper. Looks like the whale is doing just fine without it. On our way in from the cruise, we came across some killer whales. CA51s?
Kate Cummings, Sanctuary Cruises, Moss Landing.
Very interesting humpback whale image. How many killer did you see? 5? Off of Moss Landing? Yes - these are some of the CA51s: CA51A, CA51A-1, and CA51B.
Alisa Schulman-Janiger, California Killer Whale Project, ACS/LA Gray WHale Census and Behavior Project

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We spot this beautiful Orcas 3 miles from the Marietas Island pretty close to Banderas Bay in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. We saw 8 of them in Different groups.
Victor Manuel Torres Garcia Gutierrez
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A wonderful late afternoon [orca] parade through Active Pass today around 5:15 pm. They were heading east, moving quickly with only a few tail slaps and spy hops. At one point, there were about a dozen in a resting line, with their spoofs magnificently backlit.
Karoline Cullen, Galiano Island
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Ks and some Ls off of False Bay.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's San Juan Charters
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8:12 pm: faint calls at lime kiln now.
Bronwyn Panagis (via Facebook)
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From the 5 p.m. ferry going from Vancouver to Victoria, we saw around 15+ orcas heading east past Sturdies Bay around 5:45 p.m.. They were moving pretty fast, no other behaviors observed, but a nice way to come back to the Gulf Islands!
Nancy Westrell - Portland OR
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Encounter with Ino L-54 and her two offspring L-100 and L-108 as they foraged late in the day off the west side of San Juan Island. On the Peregrine of Maya's Westside Charters, late afternoon off the south west side of San Juan Island. We encountered members of the K12s, K14s, the L2s, L35s and also L12, L 85, L22, L79 and L89, K21, K40, K16, K35. The L35s - Ino L54, Indigo L100 and Coho L108 were foraging. L54 burst through the surface with a fish flying through the air! images enclosed. Read more of the encounter on my blog post here.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Another superpod parade as lots of of orcas trickled by, slowly headed north along the west side of San Juan Island. Today offered another memorable experience with several orcas so close to shore that we could see them underneath the water.
Jane Cogan
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9:52 am: seeing orcas on orcaca m(NW. San Juan Island).
Jaime Castro (via Facebook)
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Hearing them still at Lime Kiln and also at OrcaSound (louder)-9:05am.
Alisa Lemire Brooks (via Facebook)
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8:28 am: hearing calls on Lime Kiln right now. :)
Debi Wayland (via Facebook)
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Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research reported J pod heading north up Haro Strait at noon, and K and L pods at Salmon Bank.

September 24, 2010

Humpback calf breaching with its mom south of Victoria in the morning.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria BC
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2158: Calls on both Orcasound and Lime Kiln hydrophones now. Many repeated S2iii calls at Lime Kiln with distant S19s. Clear calls at Orcasound with quiet background now that ship has passed. Perhaps they're very spread out continuing southward?
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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8:35 pm, Orca calls at Lime Kiln, 8:49 pm - Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones. Orcas still at OrcaSound, 9:50 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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The Beam Reach boat was with SRKWs from 15:06-17:05 heading southwest into Boundary Pass.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach
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We encountered members of J, K, and L pod quite spread out in Boundary Pass off of East Point, Saturna Island around 3pm . They were more or less milling about, no real hurry to go one way or another. We positively ID'd K12, K43 and K7, J26, L95, L5, and L77. L5 and J26 got a bit "frisky" together, but what was really interesting was the "where" that this took place. There was a huge freighter coming through, and J26 was displaying his "pink sea snake" with L5 right in it's path. I'm horrible with distance estimates, but had they remained in that same spot another 45 seconds or so, I think the freighter would have plowed right into them. They didn't seem to mind it passing by. Odd choice of mood music!
Heather Hill

September 23, 2010

1656: Lots of clear S01/02/16/19 and other calls on the Orcasound hydrophones just started. They were previously heard at Lime Kiln, so this group may be northbound.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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We had a surprise show tonight (4:45 pm) from J pod on the Orcacam and, correspondingly, Orcasound.
Kelli Wolford, Portland, Oregon
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln, 4:08 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia
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Orca calls heard at Lime Kiln Hydrophone at 3:17pm.
Jen M
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Heard a few clear calls around 14:21 on the Orcasound hydrophones. Beam Reach boat was moving with SRKWs off Smallpox Bay north at 11:56, south 12:08-12:23, but is now taking shelter from 20kt winds and analyzing data. Just spoke with Jason who said they were with J pod around noon today and that the pod was headed north past Kellett bluff as they headed into analysis anchorage. Lot's of L pod calls now (3:45 pm) at Lime Kiln suggest they may be heading north, too. Not sure who made the 14:20ish calls at Orcasound.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach
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It's 2:10. Although quite spread out, there are several [orcas] heading south near Hannah Heights.
Sherri Daly
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Echolocation and boat noise being heard (OrcaSound hydrophone). Visual of one whale on the Center's (for Whale Research) Orca cam.
Cathy Bacon
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Sounds like 1 - 2 Killer Whales, Lime Kiln hydrophones, 11:15 am.
Suzy Roebling, Florida
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2:20 pm - North Haro Strait. How lucky we were this afternoon to have the [orcas] swimming in the most protected waters during today's little storm! A group of 4 or 5 Pacific White-sided Dolphins made their way north approaching and swimming near and amongst several groupings of J pod and many of the various boats scattered along the two mile track of orcas and boats; like skipping children saying hi to everyone in the parade. We spent our time with J1 and J2 and nearby, J14 and her 4 kids. So splendid!
Deb Martyn, Eclipse Charters
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About a dozen orcas in Puget Sound at 11:30, off Restoration Pt., north of Blake Island, near Bainbridge Island. No direction of travel, no ID's, no photos. Called in by Richard, deck hand on the Bainbridge ferry.
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Orcas sighted, heading south between Vashon ferry terminal and Alki Pt / W. Seattle at ~7:15 AM, seen from the Water Taxi.
Marc Gavin

September 22, 2010

6:58 pm: Three Orcas seen just off our bluff in NW Port Townsend (Strait of Juan de Fuca between North Beach and McCurdy Point). Possibly mother with calf. Heading East.
Terry Lyle
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6:15 pm - orcas headed to Admiralty Inlet - Brad West on Seaview Dr. in Port Townsend called to say he was watching 5-6 orcas, including one big male, heading east past North Beach as he spoke.
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The T036's, T049A's, T049B's, and T014 were offshore of Victoria headed south-east in the morning. In the afternoon the T185's were spotted offshore of Victoria also headed south-east.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria BC
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Jason Wood (Beam Reach) mentioned hearing (not sure re time) of a group of transients heading east on the south side of Strait of Juan de Fuca, somewhere near Trial Island and/or Dungeness spit.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach
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As we headed down island at 1:30 to watch Orcas, we heard that there might be some Lags out there. Near Hannah Heights, on the West Side of San Juan Is. we spotted them. Amazing! Along with Orcas, Lags are a true dolphin, and are so fun to watch. The love playing along side the boats, and will often make eye contact with you.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's San Juan Charters
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Lags (Pacific White-sided dolphins) leaping off of Limekiln in the morning.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria, BC
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Heard 3 - 4 extremely faint KW calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone, 1:20pm.
Suzy Roebling, Florida
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12:45 pm: SRKWs traveling N towards Lime Kiln from Discovery Island with Beam Reach boat.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach

September 21, 2010

We arrived on scene in Boundary Pass and J's and K's were all together resting and then they all woke up with breaches and spyhops like crazy!
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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After receiving a report of J's, K's and L's heading southwest from East Point along with a pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins, Center for Whale Research staff Ken Balcomb, Erin Heydenreich, Emma Foster, Barbara Todd and Stefan Jacobs departed Snug Harbor at 12:49 p.m. We encountered the L22's and L12 in a tight group heading southwest in Boundary Pass at 1:19 p.m. (48° 42.861 N; 123° 05.664 W). The whales were spread out in tight groups traveling slowly. The next group we encountered was the rest of the L12's and L54's, who were soon joined by the L26's, L5 and L84. We later encountered most of the J's and K's in a tight group. The encounter ended just off Turn Point with the L47's L86's and L95 milling and moving south at 3:43 p.m. (48° 41.356 N; 123° 14.410 W). The whales later turned and went up Swanson Channel.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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This afternoon on the Western Prince we had an amazing encounter with members of K and L Pods just off of Turn Point around 3:30 PM. We saw just about everything including breaches, spyhops, tail slaps, logging, foraging, great vocalizations both above and under the surface via the hydrophone, and even whales cruising in the wake of a freighter and K25 Scoter coming to the surface with a salmon in his mouth! I saw for sure the L54s, L72s, L26s, K13s, as well as K40, K21, and L87, but there were many more whales there, including some far in the distance that ended up going up Swanson Channel. It was a phenomenal day, and many more photos will be on my blog.
Monika Wieland, Friday Harbor, WA
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Pacific white-sided dolphins joined a mix of Southern Residents, including Calypso (L94) and newly named calf Cousteau (L113) around 1.30 pm in Boundary Pass. The whales were mostly traveling in tight groups with the occasional spyhop, breach or lob-tail. Passengers on 'Mystic Sea' gazed entranced as the whales moved with grace and purpose, the peaceful scene broken only by the sound of powerful exhalations carrying across the calm water and an excited little boy shouting, "I heard it squirt!" A magical day in the company of nature.
Sandra Pollard, SSAMN, Freeland, Whidbey Is.
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Today we headed up to Turn Point on Stuart Island just in time to see the [orcas] start coming around the corner from the Northeast. Many of them fanned out as they hit Haro Strait while a few hugged the shoreline, porpoising along the dramatic cliffs of Stuart Island. We observed many different behaviours including cartwheels, spy hops, foraging, logging, breaching, socializing, etc. Captian Hobbes put the hydrophone in the water and the vocals and echolocation clicks were phenomenal. We identified L79, L41, L26, L92, L90, L72 and L105 in the first pass. L26 and offspring foraged below the cliffs before heading south. We then moved NW of Turn Point and enjoyed numerous encounters with Kpod. We saw K40 and K21, who did a nice breach . . . and then as a tanker passed many whales started to surf in it's stern wake. We saw many big fins with spray coming off the top of them, lots of speed and wow! what an experience. Whales continued to forage in the upwellings and tide rips. We saw many members of K-pod including K37, K20, K26, K34 and just when you think it can't get any better (as John Boyd is telling everyone he has yet to get a picture of a whale with a fish in its mouth) K25 comes by the bow with a fish in its mouth. We could see his teeth!!!! A first for me after 13 years on the water! Monika Wieland was on board and got pictures. We did not confirm any sightings of Jpod, but understand that they were the whales we could see far to the north. We also saw lots of Harbor Seals, Bald Eagles and Harbor Porpoise on our way back to Friday Harbor.
Alison Engle, Naturalist, Western Prince, San Juan Island
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7:45 pm: Hearing faint calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Gayle Swigart (via Facebook)
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7:45 pm: Loud calls on both Lime Kiln and OrcaSound.
Alisa Lemire Brooks (via Facebook)
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7:45 pm - Lots of orca calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone now. They've been getting louder and then sounding farther away. Very vocal!
Tami Sindelman (via Facebook)
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7:47 pm - Orca calls all over the place --- Lime Kiln and Orcasound hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Lovely and interesting vocals on both Lime Kiln and Orcasound Hydrophones at this hour, 7.45pm.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Victoria, BC
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6:22 pm: Calls heard at Orcasound Hydrophone. 6:48 pm: Whales seen headed south on Orcacam. Also heard on Orcasound Hydrophone.
Jen M
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6:45 pm: Listening to the orcas on Orcasound and watching them on the webcam!!! They are going south.
Melisa Pinnow (via Facebook)
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0921- NW of Waldron Island SRKWs traveling S in Boundary Pass w/Beam Reach boat. They were off East Point of Saturna Island around noon.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach
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All who witnessed this event were awestruck. From my vantage point, on the starboard bridge wing of the Alaska Ferry Columbia (height of eye 64' above the water), docked at Alaska Ship and Dry dock, Tongass Narrows where the channel width is 340 yards; I saw Orca's male and female, young and old, in groups of 5 to 15, stretched out over 1.5 miles, swimming (east to west) by us for 10-15 minutes. I believe a conservative estimate of total count would be 75-100.
Scott Hendrickson, Master, M/V Columbia, Ketchikan, AK
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Orca Network received two calls reporting a HUGE pod of orcas traveling north up Tongass Narrows, off Ketchikan Alaska in morning: First call from Scott Hendrickson, reporting 60 - 100 orcas heading north up the Tongass Narrows a little after 7 am AK time, passing by in dozens of groups spread out over a mile. Second report was from Mark Hutson, also a ferry crew member, who observed them pass by in about 20 groups of from 3 - 17 orcas in each group, some groups made up mainly of juveniles. They were spread out over a mile, took 30 minutes to pass by. He said in 35 years up there he has never seen anything like this - "it was shocking!". He said a large male brought up the end of the parade.
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I'm on the M S Amsterdam heading south. Current position is N47 58 19.2 W125 16 55.6, 30 miles straight west of LaPush, WA. We see a small group of Humpbacks headed south.
Tom Allmendinger
When we look this location up on a map it looks like they are in Admiralty Inlet, but we have emailed Tom for more details on their exact location - ON
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It is always a pleasure to see humpback whales. Today it was a mother and her calf foraging off Sooke, Vancouver Island BC.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Victoria, BC

September 20, 2010

Center staff Ken Balcomb, Barbara Todd and Stefan Jacobs encountered J's just off Open Bay at 3:41 p.m. (48° 58.641 N; 123° 20.377 W). The whales were very spread out heading north. They followed the whales up to Stuart Island before turning around and heading back toward Henry Island. The encounter ended in Open Bay with K21 heading north at 5:46 p.m.(48° 57.177 N; 123° 18.723 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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By the time we left Friday Harbor, the leaders were already passing quickly past Lime Kiln into the much smoother waters by Henry Island. Once again, as is proving this fall, it was a very mellow day with few boats, calming waters, and sunny skies. The whales were spread in small groups ranging from 2-10 whales per group. But they were still very active, and were spending more time than normal hanging around the surface. We had J1 Ruffles, J2 Granny, the J17s, J28 Polaris and her calf Star, L87, K25 and more. We watched as the whales once again zig-zagged in and out of currents. As we were approaching Stuart Island, we made a detour as we came across about 12 Dall's Porpoises-- my first sighting for 2010!!! They were definitely bow riders, and even decided to bow ride a few orcas as well!
John Boyd, SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince, San Juan Island
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Captain Craig started to receive reports of whales on the west side of San Juan heading north. We passed Henry Island and started to see whales spread out around the north end of San Juan. J1 "Ruffles" was traveling close to shore with a few other members of the J pod. We identified J16 "Slick" and J30 "Riptide". Riptide is a "sprouter" male born in 1995. "Sprouter" is the term we use for juvenile males as they mature and their dorsal fin becomes taller and pointier. Riptide's handsome dorsal fin appears to be getter larger every time I see him.
Sally Sandack, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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1909 - The L2s have been near Lime Kiln for the last couple hours foraging anywhere from 1/2 mile north about 1/2 mile offshore and last seen going down island, south of the light about 1/2 hour ago. I believe that is still them on the Lime Kiln Hydrophones now.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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1545 - Just heard a few faint S17s on Lime Kiln hydrophone, though most callers seem to have moved north of Orcasound (see Beam Reach boat track here). Perhaps there are a few K pod stragglers still going north?
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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Calls on Lime Kiln right now, ~3:10 pm. They're on orcasound now, and the background is much quieter, just some mysterious knocking noises (echolocation) and burbling water.
Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones, 2:31 pm; calls at OrcaSound at 2:53 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Hearing first S2 calls now (14:09) after notice that Beam Reach Boat was traveling north with KWs off Hannah Heights at 1350.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach
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[Orcas] are moving (north) towards Lime Kiln Park from Hannah Heights.
Sherri Daly

September 19, 2010

It is now 9.40 pm and I am hearing some great Orca calls on Orcasound right now. Faint ones on Lime Kilm too. They, the Southern Residents must be heading south perhaps (see rest of report under Humpbacks, below).
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Victoria, B.C.
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Orca calls at OrcaSound hydrophones, 8:54 pm; calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones at 9:16 pm; calls at both OrcaSound and Lime Kiln at 10:04 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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8:52 pm: I hear orcas calling! (Lime Kiln)
Annika Bowden
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Calls on Orcasound at 2049 - residents coming south.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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7:10 pm: Still lots of calls on lime kiln. I think I hear a variety of at least two different pods.
Sarah Schmidt Berger (via Facebook)
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6:10 pm; Such great calls on the Lime Kiln Hydrophone right now! Love it! :)
Catherine Bevens (via Facebook)
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6:10 pm: They're heading south, now passing Lime Kiln. 8:59 pm: Nice clear SRKW calls on orcasound now.
Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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We had a vague rumor of some whales that had passed Eastpoint in the early morning fog--no direction, no confirmation on if they were Residents or Transients. So off we went. Soon we could see a couple of boats that were watching whales. We waited for the whales to pick a direction, and talked to the passengers about whale life histories, and soon we were treated what would turn out to be my second best day on the water for the year! From 1/2 a mile away, we could see large masses of whales coming to the surface simultaneously. They approached closer and closer and soon the waters in every direction seemed to have a whale surfacing. And the surfacings were slow and lazy, zigging and zagging in various directions. It soon became obvious that the whales were feeling very social as there was a lot of upside down swimming, pec slaps, tail slaps, pushing and shoving. And the spyhops! My favorite behavior--one after another after another! Even a double spyhop! It was as if the whales were checking out each boat as they were passing by. And soon the breaching began. It was like a whale behavior primer all at the same time! I was so amazed that I didn't even take pictures. It was such a happy time, and I found myself caught up in the moment as if it were my first time to see whales again. And the passengers made it sound like the 4th of July--or as I call it, responding to "Orca Fireworks"! We saw J30 Riptide, L41 Mega (who did some amazingly huge tail slaps!), and it was a bittersweet moment when L72 Racer passed by without her calf. Soon an hour had passed, and our allotted time with whales was up, so we slowly headed out of the area and made our way back to Friday Harbor. I think most people had sore cheek muscles from smiling so much.
John Boyd, SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Explorer
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At approximately 1100 [orcas] were traveling in large, tight groups while approaching Lighthouse Marine Park in Point Roberts. Once they past the park they spread out into to foraging groups. They were moving slowly and it was six hours before they were off East Point, Saturna Island. Even at East point they weren't in a hurry while some changed directions to do some foraging. Quite often it is an approximate 3 hour orca trip from Point Roberts to East Point and I have seen >7 hours taken by them on this route. As all boats were following them down Boundary Pass Lifeforce found a large group of "trailers" on our way home. It looked like L115 close to mom too. [Orcas] returned off Point Roberts at approximately 1445 heading South. It was a bit unusual for all three pods to return so quickly as they had been at Turn Point heading South late yesterday and were found up by the Fraser River earlier today. That was a quick turnaround when usually only 1 pod or so may split and head North. This time they were very spread out over miles. They were mostly traveling in small groups.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Founding Director
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Fog, fog, fog! Friday and Saturday (9/17-18), fog, fog, fog! Fortunately, the Residents were up North, where the fog is not usually such a factor. This morning (9/19) is a different story. Rain, hail, and fog and then sun and now it's raining again. September is usually such a wonderful month, weather wise and whale wise. Js, Ks and Ls coming down from Vancouver this afternoon (9/19).
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's San Juan Charters
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The T049A's and T049B were around in the morning. They were last seen east bound south west of Constance Bank off Victoria at approximately 1300 hrs.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, Victoria, B.C.
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We only saw Humpbacks late this afternoon, south of Victoria on our Ocean Magic trip at 3.30pm.
Marie O'Shaughnessy, Victoria, B.C.

September 18, 2010

At approximately 1100 [orcas] were traveling in large, tight groups while approaching Lighthouse Marine Park in Point Roberts. Once they past the park they spread out into to foraging groups. They were moving slowly and it was six hours before they were off East Point, Saturna Island. Even at East point they weren't in a hurry while some changed directions to do some foraging. Quite often it is an approximate 3 hour orca trip from Point Roberts to East Point and I have seen >7 hours taken by them on this route. As all boats were following them down Boundary Pass Lifeforce found a large group of "trailers" on our way home. It looked like L115 close to mom too.
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Founding Director
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The orcas decided to head south just in time for us to see them this evening, and far enough south that they were in reach. : ) Lots of Orcas, very SPREAD out. It was a gorgeous evening on the water out in Boundary Pass. We picked them up at East Point. Whales talkin, active little ones, and loud bangs from the adults breaching off in the distance. Its amazing the sound they make landing on the water.. Beautiful! On our way back in, a Harbor Seal had a fish in its mouth. It was actually quite cute!
Michele Wassell, CA
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We encountered 15 or so Dall Porpoise off Lime Kiln. Initially, they were 500 yards away and moving slowly westward. After shutting off our sailboat's motor, they noticed us and started swimming and breathing right off our bow for 10 minutes or so until two small fishing boats passed. Skipper Bill Sproull.
Dan and Cathy d'Almeida, Whidbey Island

September 17, 2010

Well the season is drawing to a close here. Many of our migratory animals have already begun their journey either south or out into the open ocean. The Puffins once again become "plain Brown Birds as Captain refers to them and fly/swim out to their middle of the ocean home to bob around all winter. Most of the Humpbacks have either dispersed to some new feeding areas closer to Prince William Sound where there is still some feed before they embark on their journey either to Hawaii or Mexico. In any case I got lucky and hopped on a boat on my Birthday day off was what a day! Sapphire Skies to boot, and even a few Tufted Puffins, although losing their tufts still swimming around. We encountered a Mother Humpback and her Calf out near No Name Island in the Chiswell's and we spent some time with them which was sheer luck this late in the season. The day even despite getting caught in a fog bank near Barwell Island was magic. As we reentered Resurrection Bay on our way back to Seward, all the sudden Captain Rich did a complete U-turn and headed back into the gulf. No announcement made at all and I knew it was something bigger than a bird. Gratefully we came upon two rather stealthy Transient Orcas, both large males apparently doing some hunting maybe for Dall Porpoise as we were in their area. Anyway what a fantastic birthday it was and a marvelous closing to my Season here in Kenai Fjords.
Raven Sky, Orca Voyageur, Kenai Fjords Tours, Seward Alaska

September 16, 2010

Orcas going north past Andrews Bay at 2233 - now on OrcaSound hydrophones.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone, 10:03 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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S19+ SRKW (L pod) calls, clicks, and whistles on Lime Kiln hydrophone. Faint, but with nice echoes. Jen logged them first at 2101. Lot's of great calls and whistles being auto-detected this evening. Still going on now, at 9:45 pm.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/BeamReach
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9:26pm Great calls on Lime Kiln now. A huge variety of crispy calls.•
Orca Network, Whidbey Island, WA
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Detecting calls 8:37pm PDT Lime Kiln.
Suzy, Key Largo
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Though calls have not been audible on the Lime Kiln hydrophone since ~19:30 last night, the Beam Reach boat has encountered killer whales off of False Bay at 13:33 and have been paralleling them heading southward along shore since. 15:47 - approaching Lime Kiln. Starting to hear faint S16 calls and clicks on Lime Kiln hydrophones. Beam Reach boat is now traveling northward at False Bay.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/BeamReach
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Rainy day on the west side of San Juan today, but it was a lot of fun! We had a juvenile chase and catch a salmon and then put it on top of it's melon and pushed it around, and a spyhop from K16.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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Plenty of cetacean education today (say that one fast...) Calm conditions ruled as Ruffles and Granny came into view off the west side of San Juan around 1.20 pm, along with other members of J pod including Mums and babies. They were foraging in various directions either individually or in small groups, but were never far apart from the rest of the pod. A minke made a quick appearance off Salmon Bank, and around twenty vocal Stellers were 'giving it large' on Whale Rocks. An extra bonus was a sleepy California sea lion resting on a navigational buoy, plus half a dozen harbor porpoise swimming together and some harbor seals.
Sandra Pollard, SSAMN, Freeland, Whidbey Island
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Around 3 pm the Ocean Magic caught up with L pod eastbound off of Victoria passing Oak Bay on to Discovery Island. The animals were spread apart or grouped up showing some active behavior such as spy hopping (nice view with the city in the background) breaching, tail slapping. Mega L41 breached almost full out of the water but not quiet, about 200 meters from us.
Maria Chantelle Tucker / Ocean Magic Adventure - Prince of Whales
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We started our day seeing minke whales and an adorable baby harbor seal swimming around the boat, and trying to climb up our back stairs. We moved on to see orcas, lots and lots of orcas! My favorite part was seeing a mom and calf interact and play around it was amazing to see how curious and playful the calf was! Plus we heard orcas vocalizing in AND out of the water and saw so many(/much) peck flaps, tail slaps, spy hopping, breaches, playing around, nuzzling, familial bonding. The Southern residents were definitely out and about! Our day ended with a Steller sea lion and both Harbor and Dall's porpoises, who were bow riding on another boat, on our way back. You cannot top the day we had with the marine wildlife, especially the orcas. They are clearly such intelligent and playful animals, I'm continually amazed and awed and inspired by these beautiful creatures.
Hana, Beam Reach Sustainability School
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After receiving reports of whales off Vctoria waterfront Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research departed San Juan in vessel Shachi. He encountered the following whales in their family groups L85, L89, L12, L41, L77, L26, L90, L92, L72, L95, L105, L55, L82, L103, L109, L86, L106, L112, L27, L47, L83, L91, L110, L5, L84, L54, L100, L108 and L115. They were first encountered off Discovery Island at 3:00 p.m. (48° 41.12 N, 123° 24.31 W) and headed towards False Bay before turning south. At first only some members of L-pod were seen, but later K21 was seen, and he suspected more Ks and possibly Js were present, however, the encounter ended at 5:14 p.m. (48° 38.46 N, 123° 07.319 W) due to rain.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Lots of [orcas] today. We braved the fog to head west this morning, out toward Race Rocks. This afternoon, they were much closer and in the rain.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's San Juan Charters

September 15, 2010

At sunset, somewhere in between Pearl and Hermes Atoll and Midway, (N27:19, W177:01) the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette came across a group of four killer whales. There were three adult female sized animals and one juvenile in the group. For tropical killer whales they were pretty tolerant of the big ship but as soon as we started to launch the small boat they vanished. Have fun,
-Adam U, on board the Oscar Elton Sette
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After leaving whales off Lime Kiln State Park, Ken Balcomb and Stefan Jacobs in the vessel Shachi encountered more whales in Boundary Pass at 2:07 p.m. (48° 71.362 N, 123° 10.995 W). J's, K's and L's were in tight groups milling. Encounter ended at 3:06 p.m. (48° 73.721 N, 123° 10.222 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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J's, K's and L's were encountered off False Bay at 10:33 a.m. (48° 46.925 N, 123° 07.529 W) by Ken Balcomb and Stefan Jacobs of the Center for Whale Research. The whales were spread out in mixed groups heading north. The encounter ended a few miles south of Lime Kiln State Park at 12:38 p.m. (48° 49.291 N, 123° 13.202 W)
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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We were with all the J2's, the K12's, L7 and L53 in Boundary Pass today at approx. 15:30. They were headed southwest toward Turn Point.
Katie Jones, San Juan Island
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Orca Network received a call from John Hough, reporting a sighting of 1 large male orca at 10 am at Swiftsure Bank, 10 miles west of Tatoosh Island. In the same area were two mom/calf pairs of some mystery cetacean - he said they weren't Grays or Humpbacks, but had long, rounded pec fins.
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We were with all the J2's, the K12's, L7 and L53 in Boundary Pass today at approx. 15:30. They were headed southwest toward Turn Point.
Katie Jones, San Juan Island

September 14, 2010

Residents are back!! Nice to see them back after three days of searching for Transients. Mostly J's and K's today and had a couple L's traveling north with them in Swanson Channel. They were traveling in tight groups and the old timers in J pod (J1, J2, and J8) were traveling in a group with L7. Just as we were about to leave, we had two big breaches from J1 and a spyhop from J2.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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After watching groups of K's pass the Center for Whale Research, NW San Juan Island, Center staff departed Snug Harbor and encountered the whales just off Kellett Bluff at 11:07 a.m. (48° 34.947 N; 123° 12.093 W). The whales were spread out in tight groups. We first came across K22 and K33 traveling close to shore on Henry Island. They later joined up with K12, K37 and K43. We caught up with the K13's just before Stuart Island where we were turned around by thick fog. Encounter ended at 12:03 p.m. (48° 38.932 N; 123° 13.343 W).
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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1214: AMAZING sound at the Lime Kiln hydrophones right now!!!
Mariette Hope, the Netherlands
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11:45 am still hearing calls on Lime Kiln.
Shari Tarantino (via Facebook)
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10:53 am: Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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1036: hearing echolocation at OrcaSound hydrohpnes.
Laura Swan
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10:28 am: Live orca calls on OrcaSound and probably Lime Kiln now! J's and L's, at least.
Orca Network
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales called to report J and L pod calls on the OrcaSound hydrophone at 10 am.
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Hearing loud clear calls and echolocation at Lime Kiln, 9:40 am PDT.
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo, FL
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WhoListener program auto-detected SRKW calls first at 09:29, then continuously until 9:41. Since then, there have been autodetections at Lime Kiln bracketing Suzy's detection (first was at 9:33, they are continuing now). So they may be traveling southward with some individuals as far north as S tip of Henry Island (where Beam Reach boat is collecting first fall data with towed hydrophone array).
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound, Seattle
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Orca Network received a call from John Hough, with a report from some Neah Bay Fishermen of orcas sighted at Blue Dot, 25 miles SW of Tatoosh Island.
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Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales relayed a report of Transient orcas off Eagle Pt, SW San Juan Island at 6:30 am.
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Orca Network received a call from John Trapman, reporting a pod of orcas including 1 - 2 males, 4 - 6 females and possibly a juvenile at 6:30 am at Apple Tree Pt, north of Kingston, close in and milling in two groups.
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Just had a call from Barb, down at Whiskey Creek Beach (Strait of Juan de Fuca) she is watching a gray whale travel east just outside the kelp, as the light dims. This is her first gray whale sighting since April, and she has been camped at the beach this whole time. Only a couple reports from Crescent Bay [Salt Creek] this whole spring/summer. Same lack of gray whale sightings from Low Point and Twin Rivers.
Margaret O., Joyce, WA

September 13, 2010

Carrie Newell of Gray Whale fame took us out Monday afternoon and we had real luck seeing two humpbacks about 4 miles off shore (Newport, OR).
Dawn Bailey, Eatonville, WA
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Nick Marcus called Orca Network to report seeing 2-3 orcas about 20 miles off Cape Vizcaino, CA, (25 miles north of Ft. Bragg), about 1 pm, travelling south in water 1600-2000 feet deep. He said two were males.
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Orca Network received a call from Steve on Fox Island, Puget Sound, reporting a pod of 3 - 4 orcas near Steilacoom, heading south down Hale Passage and the Tacoma Narrows in the evening.
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The three transient orcas that have been reported in south Puget Sound paid a visit to Fox Island just before 7 PM last night (9/13). There was one male and two females traveling together. They passed our home on the southeast point traveling east and then turned south toward Steilacoom. The picture only shows the females. The male dove just before the picture was taken. The background in the picture is Day Island.
Tom and Noni Wiggin, Fox Island, WA
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Captain Craig, Naturalist Sally, and a crew of enthusiastic of guests and I departed Friday Harbor having heard word that their were the mammal-hunting (a.k.a. transient) orcas west of Victoria. Unsure if we could reach them, we headed that direction with high hopes. As we cruised into the Haro Strait we heard word of a Humpback within our range south of Victoria. So humpback searching we went! As we headed that way, word changed again and transient whales were reported southwest of Victoria. So transient orca searching we went! We finally spotted transient dorsal fins in the distance once we passed Victoria! We were lucky enough to see 2 young transients (one very young calf), at least 2 (but probably 3) females, and T20. T20 and the rest of his pod, T21 & T22, were involved in one of the only documented altercation between transient and resident orcas. Generally, residents and transients tend to ignore or actively avoid being around each other. They don't interbreed, don't eat the same food, and are thought to have entirely differently languages. In most cases, when residents and transients get within a few miles of one another the groups either pass as if they don't notice each other, or the transients actively avoid the residents. Researchers didn't really understand why this was, until 1993 when a researcher encountered J Pod porpoising at the three transient orcas. It appeared that the transients were clearly attempting to flee the situation. At the time J Pod had a young calf in the pod, J28 (Polaris) and this incident may have occurred because the residents were trying to keep the marine-mammal eating orcas away from their young. No one can ever be certain why this incident occurred, however, so all possible answers will be speculations. Such incidents are rare, but may be the reason the "tougher" seeming mammal eating orcas avoid any interaction with the resident community. It was quite an amazing day. Our guests were very adaptable, going with the flow, and boy were they rewarded for their patience. Today just goes to show (to quote myself on the trip today) - when watching wildlife, you don't know what you'll see until you're pulling back into the harbor. Over and out,
Ashley Chapman, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Last evening (about 5:30 PM) while on our house deck, my wife and I watched approximately 12 orca whales going north in the Sutil Channel just east of south end of Quadra Island, B.C. They were making lots of noise blowing. They were in three bunches with each group about 1000 feet apart all going the same direction.
Gene Monahan

September 12, 2010

Group of 5 [orcas] about 10 miles SW of Moss Landing CA surfacing frequently heading towards Monterey.
Kate Cummings, Sanctuary Cruises, Moss Landing
And some ID's on the California Transients in the above report and photo from Alisa Schulman-Janiger: Nice pics! These are the CA51s: CA51, CA51A, CA51A-1 (juvenile), CA51B (sprouted male), and CA51C. They frequent Moss Landing, but have also been seen down my way, off Los Angeles and Dana Point, CA.
Alisa Schulman-Janiger, California Killer Whale Project, ACS/LA Gray WHale Census and Behavior Project
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Here is an image from our wonderful encounter with 4 Humpback Whales off Victoria including a Mother and very very active calf! We were only a few miles south of Victoria this afternoon, when came across 2 Humpback Whales, one of which was "Spli t Fin", a Humpback Whale that has visited the area for at least 3-4 years now. We watched these two Humpback Whales for a while and saw several tail flukes as they made deep dives. Then we headed a little further south and came across the Mother and Calf. Not long after we arrived on scene the young Calf made an amazing cartwheel just over 100 yds from our boat much to the delight of our passengers and crew!
Andrew Lees, Marine Naturalist, Five Star Whale Watching
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We spent a little time with two humpbacks on Sunday, about 1.5 miles E of the Victor Gulf buoy in the Strait of Juan deFuca. One had a deep notch in its dorsal fin, but we didn't get a good enough look at the flukes to try to get an ID. Also saw a minke outside of Cattle Pass about noon, and another off Partridge Point around 5:30 pm. Also, at Whale Rocks in Cattle Pass we spotted a branded Steller's Sea Lion hauled out with about a dozen others. Thanks to your very helpful page on the subject, I learned that this particular sea lion was branded at Rogue Reef in 2003 (#183R). Among the Steller's there at the time was another one with some kind of wound or growth around his left eye; didn't seem to be bothering him but still didn't look so good.
Stephanie Raymond, Naturalist, Victoria Clipper III

September 11, 2010

Brad Meister called today about a sighting from Saturday around 7 AM of 2 orcas (likely Transients?) about 20-25 miles out from Ilwaco WA. He said they weren't traveling, looked like they were fishing. No photos or coordinates.

September 10, 2010

Large male orca sighted entering Nanoose Bay,Vancouver Island, BC (north of Nanaimo); about 18:30. Witnessed thru 60 power scope, dozen breaches between red bouy and green bouy; entering and leaving the area. Large dorsal fin, solid black on both sides. Casual journey, no tail flips or other antics; area has many seals.
John English
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A glassy sea made for clear viewing of well spread out Southern Residents off the south side of San Juan Island around 1.30 pm. Of particular interest (and mystery) was an orca 'playing' with a Steller sea lion - little surface activity other than a waving pectoral fin followed by some turbulence in the water and a quick sight of the Steller's hind flippers disappearing. 'Mystic Sea' moved on but I wonder if anybody else saw anything? Straitwatch was in the area (thanks for being out there)
Sandra Pollard, SSAMN, Freeland, Whidbey Island
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We're hearing orca whale sounds on the Lime Kiln hydrophones on the west coast of San Juan Island in Haro Straight at ~ 10:30 pm. Great to hear tonight!!! A bit distant however.
Jay Schilling (via Facebook)
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9:09 pm -orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone. 9:11 pm - orca calls at both Lime Kiln and OrcaSound.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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Starting 2 miles north of East Point on Saturna Island, we traveled southeast with members from J, K and L pods. J8, K40, K21, L87, L84 and others. There were examples of all of the percussive behaviors and high-speed swimming before they reached the point and then they slowed down in the heavy waters between the buoy and the reef.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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San Juan Island: This morning we encountered L72 and L105 carrying a dead killer whale calf off the west side of San Juan Island. We followed the whales for just over 6 hours, and most of the time the calf was not visible, but on occasion L72 would lift the calf out of the water when she was surfacing. When we were able to see the calf L72 appeared to either be pushing it in front of her balanced on her rostrum or would be carrying the calf on the top of her head, but the calf was negatively buoyant, so had probably not been dead for long. Although L105, L72's ~6 year old son, was within 50 or 100 m for most of the time, we did not see L105 interacting with the dead calf. Based on the size of the calf (approximately 6-7') we suspect it was near-term but no way to know whether it was stillborn or born alive and died shortly afterward. Upon surfacing L72 would frequently appear to 'drop' the calf and both whales would stop and dive deep to recover it. From the photos it appears the calf was a female, and the umbilical is still attached and clearly visible. When we left the whales early this evening L72 still had the calf with her.
Robin Baird, Cascadia Research, Olympia, WA
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2 orca, a very large one and a small one, sighted at 3:00 pm in Pickering Passage, South Puget Sound, going past Jarrell's Cove State Park, traveling west, at Jarrell's Cove heading for the Harstine Bridge, same as yesterday.
Phyllis and Robert Isbell, Grapeview, WA
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Just wanted to let you know about a whale Sighting down here in So Cal. We had 2 Blue Whales off our coast in Hermosa Beach about 15 minutes ago (~3:20 pm).
debbie giannini

September 9, 2010

Center for Whale Research staff encountered J's and a few L's spread out off Kellett Bluff at 2:55 p.m. (48° 35.05 N; 123° 12.666 W). The whales were in groups traveling north.The encounter ended just south of Turn Point at 4:25 p.m. (48° 41.801 N;123° 14.471 W) with the J14's heading into Boundary Pass.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Sighted 2 Orca for sure, when they came back east I thought at one point there were 3. They were in Hammersley Inlet at approximately N 047 12.360 - W 123 1.66, traveling west at 9 AM. East at 11AM. On the way west they were surfacing a lot. On the way east, they sounded right about the listed location and did not surface again in sight (I can see east to about 47 11.943). There was some construction noises going on at Skookum point - loud miter saw. The inlet is only 1/4 mile wide, and they were on the side opposite of me - much deeper water. I have noticed several harbor seals around in the morning lately - there must be food in the area.
Willard.
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Today was our third day on the water off San Juan Island this trip. We spent some time with a variety of whales from L pod but unfortunately no scale samples, fecal samples, mucous samples or Dtag deployments. The highlight of the day was an encounter with a group of about 10 Pacific white-sided dolphins off the west side of San Juan Island - we were able to get ID photos of a number of individuals for contribution to Erin Ashe's study of movements and abundance. Most of the time they were traveling, but they did wake ride on our research vessel briefly.
Robin Baird, Cascadia Research, Olympia, WA
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Here is L89 "Solstice" with lags (Pacific White-sided dolphins) surfing in front of him. At 15:00 some of the L pod males were very spread out near Salmon Bank and approx. 12-18 Pacific White-Sided Dolphins were swimming with them.
Katie Jones, San Juan Island
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Haro Strait off San Juan Island - we watched a group (perhaps 10+) of Pacific White-sided Dolphins zoom up to and around one adult L pod male, over and over again! Great fun to watch this interaction.
Nan Simpson, Western Prince Whale and Wildlife Cruises
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Saw the Pacific White-sided Dolphins traveling east along the south end of San Juan Island. They were porpoising ahead of the research boat Phocoena. The orcas were spread out traveling west in the same area in several mid-sized groups. We thought that there was a brand new calf in the mix, but it was the L47s with tiny little L115. The calf was swimming strongly and keeping up well with the rest of the family, including participating in the feeding behaviors.
Tristen Joy, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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We had a visit from these charismatic creatures, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, this afternoon, south and east of Discovery Island. There seemed to be 10-12 of them heading east and riding our stern wave. What a thrill for everyone on board the 12.15 pm Ocean Magic out of Victoria. They departed from us as soon as a Zodiac showed up and then it was 'chase the wake' of that vessel once again. I have only ever seen them in Johnstone Strait before so this was a pleasant surprise for me in this area. L Pod was off San Juan Island and we were heading that way and so were the dolphins.
Marie, Orca-Magic, Prince of Whales, Victoria BC.
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J-27 Blackberry and TONS of orcas just swam past False Bay, W. San Juan Island.
Melisa Pinnow (via Facebook)
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I tuned into Lime Kiln hydrophones at 7:02 pm and heard a few faint orca calls - but have not heard anything since, and nothing at Orca Sound.
Susan Berta, Orca Network, Whidbey Island
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2:09 pm and 5:18 pm: Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones. 6:11 pm: Weak calls at Lime Kiln.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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There are some killer whales on the orcasound hyrdophones right now at 1:38 pm!
Candice Smith
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Wholistener auto-detected calls from 13:38 to 13:42 at Lime Kiln hydrophones. No detections previously today at Orcasound hydrophones, so they are likely northbound.
Scott Veirs, OrcaSound/Beam Reach
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Been listening to orca at Lime Kiln since 1:45 this afternoon. It's now 5:30. They have been vocal all afternoon. It's a beautiful sound.
Tami Sindelman (via Facebook)
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Calls on Lime Kiln right now at 1:32 pm!
Candice Smith (via Facebook)
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1:20 pm: Faint calls on Lime Kiln. 2:19 pm: Hearing loud calls over ship noise.
Gayle Swigart (via Facebook)
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Orca Network received a call at 9:09 am from someone reporting 2 orcas, including 1 adult male, in Hammersley Inlet headed west toward Shelton, WA.
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Sept. 8-9: I just got a call from someone reporting seeing 2 killer whales in hammersley inlet, both last evening (9/8) and this morning (9/9). She had to leave for work so she didn't know if they were still there this afternoon.
Jessie Huggins, Cascadia Research, Olympia, WA

September 8, 2010

ID's from Alisa Schulman-Janiger of California Transients reported and photographed in Monterey Bay by Kate Cummings: In the first group you had N28, N28A, and N28B (Jagged Fin). The second group included N29 (Chopfin/Stumpy), CA50 (female), and CA50B (nearly sprouted male).
Alisa Schulman-Janiger, California Killer Whale Project, ACS/LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project, Director
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2 orcas, an exceedingly large orca with a large fin, and a small one, sighted in Pickering Passage, South Puget Sound, going past Jarrell's Cove State Park, 2:30 pm.
Phyllis and Robert Isbell, Grapeview, WA
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The first group we saw includes Jagged Fin -- a whale we saw in January. The second group of photos is from the whales we encountered a half hour later in relatively the same vicinity, and this pod included Stumpy/Chopfin, a new male, and Jagged Fin was gone. Not sure what went on here! They were all heading south at 12 knots. There were sea lions and Pacific white sided dolphins in the area but they weren't interested.
Kate Cummings, Sanctuary Cruises, Moss Landing CA
ID's from Alisa Schulman-Janiger of California Transients reported and photographed in Monterey Bay by Kate Cummings: In the first group you had N28, N28A, and N28B (Jagged Fin). The second group included N29 (Chopfin/Stumpy), CA50 (female), and CA50B (nearly sprouted male).
Alisa Schulman-Janiger, California Killer Whale Project, ACS/LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project, Director
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Around 10 am a very large grey was feeding around the kelp beds near the jetty here at Sekiu, WA.
Bryan owens, Tacoma wa
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~8:20 pm: Heard a ton of calls @ Orcasound and my daughter took a few pictures with the Orcacam. They were heading south and heard them on the LimeKiln hydrophone for the past 30mins.
Jay Schilling (via Facebook)
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5:25pm calls on both OrcaSound (louder) and Lime Kiln. Really interesting calls on OS. 6:30pm, at Lime Kiln, loud and many, it's wild : ). Grateful they stayed around till I made it home. 7:15p, still going strong at LK but boy that big boat sure spoils the conversation.
Alisa Lemire Brooks (via Facebook)
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4 pm - orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone, 5:05 pm - still there. 5:11 pm - orca calls at OrcaSound hydrophone. 6:09 pm: Orca still at Lime Kiln and OrcaSound hydrophones. 7:06 pm: Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone, + large ship.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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5:55 pm: Yes many calls at Lime Kiln as it sounds, love it!
Dennis de Vos (via Facebook)
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5:34 pm: I'm listening to Lime Kiln and there are a lot of calls - very interesting. Sounded like donkeys, door bells and snorts!
Bianca Drake (via Facebook)
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Hearing a few calls and echolocation (and a lot of boats) on the Lime Kiln hydrophone right now. 1645 PDT
Bianca
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Whales (Orcas) passed by the Center for Whale Research about 10 minutes ago (4:42 pm).
Pamela Smith (via Facebook)
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A breaching killer whale (Lpod?) in front of Victoria. Photo was taken around 5 pm. The animals grouped up and were speed porpoising towards San Juan Island. It was a sight to behold!
Maria Chantelle Tucker / 3:30 Ocean Magic - Prince of Whales
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We saw members of J pod on the south end of San Juan near Salmon Bank. Once again we identified J26 "Mike". Then, we saw more whales, possibly members of L pod, along the west side of San Juan around Eagle Point. The whales were widely spread out in all directions, traveling in groups of about 5-10. Every day is different and today we got a little taste of everything. We saw spyhopping, porpoising, breaching, and tail lobbing. The best part is that they are in their wild habitat.
Sally, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Both Center for Whale Research vessels encountered J's and a few K's and L's spread out off Salmon Bank at 2:12 p.m. (48° 25.564,123° 01.031 W). The whales were spread out in mixed groups, milling and socializing. Both vessels were coordinating with the zeppelin "Eureka" to conduct aerial surveys of the southern residents (see reports and below on this research project). The encounter ended just off Lime Kiln State Park at 4:08 p.m. (48° 31.149 N, 123° 09.873 W) The whales continued north up the west side.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Airship "Eureka" Research Project - report from Brad Hanson, NOAA Fisheries - San Juan Islands: Follows is short summary of our overflight of southern resident killer whales on the Farmer's Airship Eureka that is owned and operated by Airship Ventures. Farmer's Insurance generously donated 2 days of aircraft time on the zeppelin to allow the NWFSC, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Center for Whale Research to collect various types of imagery from this unique perspective. Inclement weather on 7 Sept for most of the day resulted in the flight being scrubbed. Although the weather on the 8th constrained our flight on both ends of the day we did get about an hour with the whales - while this did allow us to get some good imagery on the different systems the sample size was small but likely enough to illustrate proof of concept and give us an idea of what types of modifications would improve our ability to collect these types of data operationally. Included is an image of a whale suitable for photogrametrics collected by Erin Heydenreich. It will probably be at least a couple of months before WHOI has had an opportunity to process the video imagery. What was particularly amazing to me was how well this platform allowed observation of various whale behaviors. Because we could essentially remain virtually stationary we could see several whale groups simultaneously as well as see down into the water column, I observed what appeared to be a fish chase, defecation, and possible nursing - all within an hour! We are extremely grateful to Airship Ventures for their commitment to making this project happen, particularly under challenging weather conditions, and to Farmer's Insurance for their financial support for the flight time. It was an amazing opportunity.
Brad Hanson, NOAA Fisheries NWFSC, Seattle, WA
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Airship "Eureka" Research Project - San Juan Islands: The Airship "Eureka", which has been on a tour of the Pacific Northwest since mid August, took a flight over Haro Strait. Eureka, one of the largest zeppelins in the world, is operated by Airship Ventures based in California. Farmers Insurance donated two days of flight time to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in collaboration with North West Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) and the Center for Whale Research (CWR). The purpose of the mission was to get aerial photographs of southern resident killer whales for photogrammetry studies as well as to examine vessel-whale distribution. In 2008 the Center for Whale Research participated in an initial photogrammetric study of southern residents using a helicopter as the aerial photography platform (see Encounter 49). In addition to collecting updated measurements, this mission served as a opportunity to test out an alternative aerial platform for similar studies in the future. Measurements taken from aerial photographs can be used to look at individual growth, body condition and nutritional status. Due to weather constraints the 2 day mission was reduced to a half day mission which took place on Wednesday. Eureka departed Paine Field in Everett Washington at 1:55 p.m. Among those on board were Brad Hanson of NMFS, and Erin Heydenreich of CWR. Approximately an hour later the airship arrived at the south end of San Juan Island where resident killer whales were reported off the Salmon Bank buoy. The airship was coordinating with both Center vessels, Orca and Shachi, as well as the NOAA vessel, Phocina 2, to identify the individual whales being photographed from above. The airship hovered around False Bay for about 45 minutes to an hour before turning north east to pass over Roche Harbor and then headed back to Paine Field where it landed at 6:00 p.m. For more photos of the trip go to the Airship Adventures Blogspot The whales observed were J's, K's and L's. They were spread out in mixed social groups. Many whales were milling off False Bay. The whales reportedly went north later that evening.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island

September 7, 2010

We were with Princess Angeline's group. Beautiful overcast day with glass smooth water, just off False Bay. Lots of activity.
Bonnie Gretz, Portland, OR
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We are hearing what sound like K pod at Lime Kiln right now. 6:05.
Kelli Wolford of Portland, Oregon.
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Calls on Lime Kiln 4:50pm.
Alisa Lemire Brooks (via Facebook)
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3:21 pm: hearing some beauties on lime kiln.
Vikki White (via Facebook)
I heard them as well :)
Joy Greiman (via Facebook)
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10:10 am - Orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophone. 2:50 pm - Orca calls at Lime Kiln, still there at 3:56 pm.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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There were many happy orca at Lime Kiln around 10 AM this morning. Watched a mother teaching a young one to jump and swim upside down.
Greg Heiss ((via Facebook)
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Orca Network received a call from Pauly DeBerry, reporting a pod of 12 orcas at ~2 pm between Tattoosh Island and the Cape Flattery Trail, heading east, just passing through. The pod included some males.
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This afternoon six or seven orcas were off the jetty here at sekiu. They may have made a kill in front of the caves.
Bryan owens, Tacoma wa
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One of our biologists, Gerry Hayes, took some killer whale photos while fishing in Squaxin Passage, which is on the boundary between Thurston and Mason Counties. Presumably, these are transients. We were wondering if any of you can ID the male with the serrations in his dorsal fin. Have there been any other killer whale observations in South Puget Sound in the last couple of days?
Gary J. Wiles, WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
The orca with the serrated fin is T63, "Chainsaw" - visiting the Puget Sound area over the past week - ON
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At 2:30 p.m., a neighbor called to say there were three orcas on the south side of Squaxin Isl, heading toward Hope Isl. We got in the car and went to the Steamboat Isl. Bridge. We could see the three coming out of Totten Inlet at around 4:15 snugging the far shore. They then headed north and went into Hammersley Inlet - almost to Shelton. We eventually lost them and headed back to our homes on Eld Inlet. Within 20 -30 minutes or so, they were IN Eld Inlet at the tip of Cooper Point. They went south into Eld only about 1000 feet and then circled back, across Cooper Point and toward Boston Harbor and that shoreline. They then headed toward Dana Passage - but we lost sight of them because it was way into dusk. We lost sight at around 7:30.
Kim Merriman, Olympia, WA
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Orca Network received a report of ~4 orcas off Johnson Pt, N of Olympia, heading south toward Olympia, Boston Harbor & Squaxin Island area at around 2 pm.
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Jessie Huggins of Cascadia Research in Olympia called to relay a report of 2 orcas (1 tall and 1 small fin) at the north end of Steamboat Island, between Steamboat and Hope Islands at 2:40 pm.

September 6, 2010

We headed to False Bay, and saw several residents including J8, J30, L7, L53, L72, and L105. They were spread out with some directional changes, tail lobbing from J30, and some surface splashing - possibly feeding. Next we headed to Whale Rocks and saw 4 Steller sea lions hauled out, growling at each other, and one in the water. We were going back up San Juan Channel and came across more porpoise, and then, the absolute cherry on top (report continued under "Pacific White-sided dolphins").
Heather Hill, Bellingham
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We were going back up San Juan Channel and came across more porpoise, and then, the absolute cherry on top - Pacific white sided dolphins!!! There were maybe a dozen or so, and as we turned to meet them they headed for our bow! Along side us was a mom and calf. They soon tired of our slow but respectful speed, and continued on their way south. Interesting to see them now, since transients have been sighted pretty consistently lately.
Heather Hill, Bellingham
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I was on board the Naiad with Mackay Whale Watching. We saw hundreds of pacific white sided dolphins and wonderful views of the A30's (Northern Resident Orcas) traveling together in Johnstone Strait, N. Vancouver Island, B.C.
Maria Chantelle Tucker
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Reports of J pod were coming from the west side of san juan. Soon our guests were ooooing and ahhhhing over the tall wavy dorsal fin of J1 (Ruffles). Other members of J pod were spread out nearby.
San Juan Safaris
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3-4 transients at Bells Beach heading S to Langley. 1 lg male with choppy fin like a saw 5:37pm. It was chainsaw T-63- the one that you had a pic of in Penn Cove.
Kathy Carr, Whidbey Island
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5:30pm - Two orcas sighted going past Baby Island (Saratoga Passage/entrance to Holmes Harbor) headed towards Greenbank.
Ruth Cook, Whidbey Island
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Orca Network received a call from someone reporting 4 orcas, including 1 male and 1 calf, at 5:27 pm at the top of Holmes Harbor, near Greenbank, Whidbey Island. They have watched them the past two or three days - they're fun to watch!
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3 of us were pulling crab pots on the west side of Holmes Harbor about 1.5 miles from the boat launch at the south end. We observed a male and 2 females for about 20 min around 4PM. The male is easy to ID from the transient library as #63 ("chain saw"?).
david armstrong
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Kathy Bell called Orca Network at 12:45 pm, reporting 1 bull and 2 female orcas in Penn Cove. The male had 2 notches out of the dorsal fin (sounds like T63, Chainsaw).
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After Sandy's phone call, we headed to Coupeville - and learned that Chainsaw and gang were in Penn Cove again today - we saw them heading out by Monroe Landing, and they seemed to disappear, no sign of them after a good half hour of watching from Long Point (we arrived back home around 12:15 or so). Am pretty positive I saw 5 dorsals at one point. Then Sarah Schmidt took her spotting scope to Long Point and found them way over by Crescent Harbor (after we'd left). Sarah only confirmed seeing 3 dorsals.
Jill Hein, Coupeville preliminary ID on this orca is T19B - ON

September 5, 2010

We spent a wonderful Sunday evening at Lime Kiln Point state park on San Juan Island and a pod of Orcas was passing by the lighthouse between 7 and 7.30pm heading south.
Thomas Kleinteich
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Calls on the orcasound hydrophones - 6:19 pm! Started faint, and now its growing louder. They must be headed south because I can hear the calls on Lime Kiln now - 7:10 pm. got a visual on the orca cam for a few minutes.
Candice Smith (via Facebook)
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Watched a large pod of Orcas swim by East Point on Saturna Island around noon. They came from up north or northwest and swam right around the point, then west out in the Straight of Georgia. We think there were about 25 Orcas in total. We saw several calves. Parts of the pod came very close to the shore, around 10 meters from it. Maybe around 10-15 orcas were this close, the rest of the pod were much further out, surrounded by whale watching boats. The currents are very strong right there, so they traveled slowly. We saw them breach, spyhop, do fluke lifts, pectoral slaps and waves and rolling.
Asa Cederholm, Vancouver, B.C. Canada
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3 to 5 Orca sighted at Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, 100 to 200 Yards off shore from the Capt. Whidbey Inn. They were just cruising, circulating around Penn Cove. Our first sighting was approx 7:30 AM until 10:00 AM.
Ken Hart
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Sept. 4 - 6 - Throughout Labor Day weekend, pod of at least 4 orcas were spotted traveling throughout Penn Cove at all times of the day. At one point, the pod, which included a very large male was a mere 6-8 feet from the tip of Long Point.
Madrona Cottage, Coupeville, Whidbey Island
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Long called 10 minutes (~ 11 am) ago to report 6-7 orcas off the wharf in Coupeville. Long said she had seen the 3 orcas at 6:30 pm on 9/3 as well.
Sandra Dubpernell, Coupeville

September 4, 2010

We were at Turn Pt, Stuart Island after hiking from Prevost Hbr. It was a beautiful day for whale watching and here they came at about 4:15PM, an estimated group of 20 [orcas]. The problem was the whale watching boat which cruised right thru them to locate at the head of their direction, over the course of about a 1/3 to 1/2 mile. The whales soon dived after the boat drove thru them and did not resurface, but were with us for about 45 min. before the whale boat arrived.
Ralph Young, Whidbey Island
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Orca Network received a call from Greg Williams, reporting a pod of orcas in Penn Cove from 9:30 - 10 am, observed from the Coupeville Wharf.
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Haro Strait /1/2 mile west of Henry Island / 2:45 pm. J27-Blackberry surfaced 'round and around us 10 to 12 times as he pursued a large chinook salmon. We had been sitting at rest for a while when he popped up from the depths and swirled this way and that with the big fish repeatedly giving him the slip under the boat. Everyone on board were thrilled to be so kinesthetically involved in the hunt. He finally caught it about 100 yards off our stern. This is such a rare experience I wanted to make sure it made it into the Orca Network log.
Deborah Martyn, Orcas Express
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Observed around 12-15 orcas passing by the west side of North Pender Island just before sunset, all from 1/4 to 1/2 miles out from shore in Swanson Channel. Several of them were milling out in the channel, so my count may be off. They headed towards Active Pass. The evening was so quiet that I could hear them breathe, even though they were rather far out from shore.
Nancy Westrell, Portland OR
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In one of the pics you can barely see one of the seals they caught for dinner. It was one beautiful day in PENN COVE. Greg contacted Orcanet and they will be calling us about our pics. They told us others had spotted them a few days earlier about 10 miles out from Penn Cove but there were 4 of them. We only saw 3 and one of them was a baby Orca.
Greg & KK Williams
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~ 5 pm: Well that has been some fine splashing around for our viewing entertainment this afternoon on the OrcaCam.
Vikki White (via Facebook)
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11:43 am & 12:44 pm - orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones. 1:19 pm - orca calls at OrcaSound. 1:32 - Orca calls & big ship at Orca Sound. 2:26 pm - calls at both Lime Kiln & OrcaSound hydrophones. 4:15 pm - orca calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones.
Lon Brockelhurst, Olympia, WA
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3:06 pm - orca calls at Lime Kiln.
Dani Pfenning
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~ 2 pm: Hearing calls at Lime Kiln hydrophones!
Jay Schilling (via Facebook)
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A beautiful afternoon of listening to and then seeing the southern residents. I am blessed to live along the same waters. Lime Kiln was THE place to be between 1 and 4 today!
Tami Sindelman (via Facebook)
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At around noon we had the chance to see many many orcas from Lime Kiln State Park on San Juan Island. They were spread out all over Haro Strait. Most of them were traveling north but some of them were rather swimming in circles (foraging?).
Thomas & Anja Kleinteich
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Residents were up this way off Lime Kiln Park. Reps from all three pods very spread out.
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Orca Network received a call from Erick Pierson of Pt. Townsend, reporting Transient orcas in Admiralty Inlet. They saw them first off Partridge Bank, NW Whidbey Island heading SE, then saw them at 4 pm off Pt. Wilson, NW of Pt. Townsend heading NW. They observed one seal kill, and left them at 4:45 pm, at the Sierra Alpha buoy, heading W/NW.
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Orca Network received a call from Mary Pacher at 2:18 pm, reporting 2 - 3 orcas close to shore off North Bluff Rd, N. Greenbank, heading south in Saratoga Passage.
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With a report of last night's transient orcas still in Penn Cove, Coupeville, we launched 'Hyshka' (named after my adopted orca, J37, meaning 'blessing' or 'thank you' in Coast Salish) and sped off more in hope than expectation. Just beyond Long Point, Coupeville, around noon, the distinctive dorsal fin of 'Chainsaw' (T63) came into view cruising along the shoreline with a female and juvenile. We watched the whales for a couple of hours keeping a considerable distance beyond the 100 yard requirement as they traveled along searching for prey. Their typical speed was 8 - 10 mph most of the time except when foraging or milling - lucky Whidbey Island land based viewers filled the air with cries and cheers as they heard the blows and witnessed the wonder of nature. 'Chainsaw' and friends gave us the slip off Hidden Beach - in typical transient fashion they just disappeared.
Sandra Pollard, SSAMN, Freeland, Whidbey Island
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We were kayaking in West Penn Cove this morning about 11:00 a.m. and sighted at least 2 orcas. The orcas stayed in the area for at least an hour -- West of Coupeville. We drove to the Coupeville Pier later in the day and could still see them as they moved toward Monroe Landing.
Dave and Rachel Paul, Oak Harbor
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8:50 am. Just got an excited call from Matt Klope (Joan screaming in the background) of 3 orcas in Penn Cove right off Capt Whidbey Inn. One very tall dorsal and two smaller ones. Just milling around there.
Sandra Dubpernell, Coupeville, Whidbey Island
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Orcas in Penn Cove today!
Callie Sirak (via Facebook)

September 3, 2010

Late afternoon my husband, Dick Snowberger, called from our boat to say he was watching a couple of transients about 50 yards off Hidden Beach, Whidbey Island. At 7.00 pm from Tobys, Coupeville, we spotted a large male orca pass the end of Coupeville Wharf, some way out, heading into Penn Cove at a fair lick. A quick run to the end of the Wharf - three blows visible despite choppy seas and glare, the plumes of vapour an impressive sight.
Sandra Pollard SSAMN Freeland, Whidbey Island
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Orca Network received a call from Ron, reporting 3 - 4 orcas off Clinton Beach, S. Whidbey island at 1:30 pm, midway out. Long called 10 minutes (~ 11 am) ago to report 6-7 orcas off the wharf in Coupeville. Long said she had seen the 3 orcas at 6:30 pm on 9/3 as well.
Sandra Dubpernell, Coupeville
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I lucked out today - glorious weather, Southern Residents spread out off Lime Kiln around 2.00 pm .
Sandra Pollard, SSAMN, Freeland, Whidbey Island
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Orca Network received a call from Mary Pacher, reporting 4 orcas No. of Greenbank, in Saratoga Passage at 11 am, mid-way between Whidbey & Camano Islands.
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Orca Network received a call from Mark MacDonald, reporting one orca going back and forth just off the sand bar off Crane's Landing Rd, N. Greenbank, Whidbey Island at 10:55 am.
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Orca Network received a call from Connie Barrett of Camano Island, reporting 3 orcas in Saratoga Passage off Cama Beach State Park at 10:50 am.
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10:00am, Saratoga Passage, Whidbey side, at least one large orca, traveling north, sighted by several residents of Baby Island Heights community.
Ruth Cook, Whidbey Island
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9:25 am - Saw 2 killer whales, one larger with a very large crooked fin and a much smaller one, heading south from Baby Island, Saratoga Passage toward East Point a few hundred yards off the shore, about where all the crabs pots are usually laid. They were going slowly, doing some deep dives and resurfacing. Pretty cool!
10:10 am - Just saw a single killer whale heading FROM East Point towards Baby Island, opposite direction of my previous post. This one had a very tall fin that looked like it had a bite or that some of the fin was missing from the back side of the fin, starting a little bit from the top and maybe 15% down the fin, in a very jagged fashion. He was swimming at a slow pace with lots of surfacing, and then did one long dive. I'm mid way between these 2 points and have lived here 4 years and have only seen killers one other time.
Linda Frye, Whidbey Island

September 2, 2010

Today was a great day out on Soundwatch. We had early morning reports of [orcas] near Eagle Point, so we knew we'd probably be busy as it is getting to be peak fishing season and the "last" weekend of summer vacation with the approach of Labor Day. At 1100, we arrived on-scene and saw that Ks and some Ls were forming a long resting line. Having whales moving off-shore made it more manageable for approaching private vessels and giving them the guidelines. The whales continued in this resting pattern until after lunch, when they decided to head back towards shore and do some fishing. Where we had one large resting group in the morning, the afternoon had the whales spread over 3+ miles, which meant a lot more work keeping an eye on things. Again, most boaters were very cooperative and receptive to the guidelines. We left the whales at 1645 as they were heading back towards Hein Bank.
John Boyd, Soundwatch Volunteer, San Juan Island
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1:16 am - Sounds like mostly S19s right now at Lime Kiln hydrophones - L-Pod?
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island
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Some calls were recorded just after Monika heard the S19 calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones. There are some distant S5s and an S10, I think. It appears that SRKWs were recorded earlier at Lime Kiln (first at 23_38_20), and at Orcasound further to the north (first at 23_13_50), as well. So, perhaps they came in initially from the north.
Scott Veirs, Beam Reach/OrcaSound
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2354 - Transient calls on lime Kiln hydrophone.
Jeanne Hyde, San Juan Island
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11:54 pm: Calls on Lime Kiln - kind of different. Later: I discovered that the calls I heard briefly at 11:54pm were Transient calls - there were some similar calls previously recorded on the OrcaSound link - this was my first time hearing this particular call!
Vickie Doyle (via Facebook)
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Two Orca's, 1 male and 1 female sighted off Whiskey Point at Quadra Island at 6:35 PM. They were heading south from Discovery Passage at Quadra Island toward the Strait of Georgia. The male did not seem particularly large from our vantage point. Approximate GPS coordinates are: N 50° 02', W 125° 13'.
Ken & Kathrine Robertson
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Last evening around 6:30 heading north of Greenbank Farm, we spotted a pod of approximately 5 to 7 Orcas including a young one and a large male. We observed the pod breaching.
Chéri Olney, Greenbank, W
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We spotted three Orcas in Holmes Harbor off Beverly Beach at about 8:30 am. They are headed north and we spotted them again around Dines Point at which point we lost sight of them.
Bill Brigham
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Nancy Zaretzke of N. Greenbank called at 6:29 am to report a pod of 5 orcas in Saratoga Passage, south of Camano Island State Park. At 6:35 am they were heading into Holmes Harbor.
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Orca Network received a call from a charter vessel in Halfmoon Bay, CA, reporting 2 very, very large males and 1 female orca at 8:37 am hanging out with them in the fog off Halfmoom Bay, CA - 37 29.88 N, 122 42.75W.

September 1, 2010

We watched 5 dolphins (Risso's, I assume?) feeding in the surf from 15:30-16:45, off West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, CA. The brown pelicans were nearby plunge diving so it must have been great fishing. There was lots of fluke slapping (we counted 10 slaps in a row from one) - I assume they were stunning the fish.
Deborah McArthur, Santa Cruz, CA
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Orca Network received a call reporting a pod of orcas on the East side of Possession Sound at 3:48 pm, ~ 2 miles south of Mukilteo, Saratoga Passage. They were first heading north, then were milling.
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T18s coming in toward False Bay.
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Charters, San Juan Island
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We saw the T18/19s at Turn Point (1700)--they made one kill of a porpoise and followed up with their "endzone" dance of multiple breaches and spyhops!
John Boyd, San Juan Island
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After watching the T18's (T18, T19, T19B and T19C) travel slowly north past the Center for Whale Research, both vessels departed Snug Harbor. The encounter began just off Kellett Bluff at 2:41 p.m.(48° 34.818 N, 123° 12.406 W) with the T18's traveling in a tight group close to shore. They made a harbor seal kill along the shore of Henry Island. The encounter ended just south of Stuart Island at 3:53 p.m. (48° 39.035N,123° 11.472W) with the whales heading north along the shoreline.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island
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Calls on Orcasound 11:16pm.
Melissa Kaday (via Facebook)
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Calls on Lime Kiln right now 11:54 PM
Bianca Drake (via Facebook)
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I was sitting at Brooks Point on South Pender Island this evening (9/1) around 7-8pm and watched a HUGE pod of orcas swim and jump and dive off the southern point of Saturna Island between Saturna and Patos Islands. They were spread out over most of the space between the islands, but were all over the place, so I'm assuming it's the super pod I just read about in the update email. I stayed until it got dark and they weren't really going anywhere, just hanging out it seemed.
Abbey Gaterud, South Pender Island
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Many residents had been sighted west of Race Rocks, headed west
Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Charters, San Juan Island
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Orca Network received a call from Tamar Griggs on Salt Spring Island, reporting hearing a LOT of [orcas] heading north in Swanson Channel between 1:30 - 2:30 am - sounds like the Superpod that's been around the past few days!
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12:30 am: Hearing calls on Limekiln hydrophones.
Princess NellsBells (via Facebook)
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Orca Network received a call from someone reporting 6 orcas off Bainbridge Island at 8:30 am. The pod included 1 adult male and 1 calf. The male had a somewhat wavy fin that leaned to the right, they were heading south toward Blakely Rock and Restoration Pt.
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Orca Network received a call from Chip Jordan reporting a sighting of 4 orcas including 1 adult male and 1 calf, heading south toward Blakely Rocks, seen from the Bainbridge-Seattle Ferry at 8:05 - 8:10 am.




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