September 2011 Whale Sightings

September 30, 2011

A Humpback was by Eagle's Cove to Elk Bay slowly heading North. The lone Humpback Whale only made it as far as Rock Bay, by Chatham Point (Johnstone Strait, BC).
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9:56 PM - Faint vocals getting stronger on Lime Kiln.
John Boyd
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6:45 - Lots of orcas headed north from False Bay, superpod?
Melisa Pinnow
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6:25 pm - Echolocation at Lime Kiln!
Meg McDonald
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Residents were at Hein bank this morning around 10am moving back towards San Juan Island. I believe we saw members of K pod. This afternoon we had reports that they had made it north of Lime Kiln, but by the time we reached them around 2:15pm they were back out off of False Bay. We also saw some Dall's in Haro near the residents, and there are more Steller's everyday at Whale Rocks.
Mike, San Juan Safaris
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I drove (by car) to the San Juan Island Westside Land Preserve at about 5:45pm, no Orcas, so I headed south to see if they were still milling about. Pulling over at False Bay, I spotted a trailing group of whales heading northwest! So I went back to the Hannah Heights area at 6:30pm, delighted to see the Killer Whales all spread in small groups, out in Haro Strait traveling northwest. After awhile I noticed a female with 2 youngsters stopped, just logging-resting at the surface. Then the whales up north turned and swam back, rejoining the other groups. I wonder if that female was a matriarch deciding they were going back south, enjoying the slack water, utilizing the ebbing tide?! The sun had set, light fading, 7:30pm now, yet I stayed until I couldn't hear their strong breaths anymore.
Caroline Armon, Certified Marine Naturalist, Salish Sea Association of Marine Naturalists

September 29, 2011

6:12 PM - Orca at Lime Kiln
Lon
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On another gorgeous fall day - we found many [orcas] spread out over several miles, near Hein Bank. L88 was identifiable, but most too far distant to positively ID. They seemed to be heading towards SJI when we left, although we noticed several direction changes.
Jill Hein, Aboard Mystic Sea
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9 am - Calls on Lime Kiln right now!
Judy Simons
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6:39 am - Echolocation and calls at Lime Kiln.
Meg McDonald

September 28, 2011

Large group of Orcas passed by Thieves Bay, Pender Island between 5.45pm and 6.45pm, heading north. Well spread out in groups of 2 to 5 included males and at least a couple of babies. Estimate 15 - 20 in total. Some transited straight through, heading north towards Active Pass. Others stopped to fish in the kelp beds 100m off shore or less. Entertained with a couple of spy hops (including one of the babies) and numerous pectoral and tail slaps. A number came back later on in the dark - we could hear them but not see them. Not able to tell if they were returning from the north or stragglers catching up.
Ian Pirie
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I headed to the Lime Kiln lighthouse just in time to watch the orcas as they headed north on a beautiful fall day. The orcas were less than 20 yards away from the shore, in the kelp beds below the lighthouse.
Jane Cogan
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Around 2pm we found members of our resident pods K and L, almost 50 whales, spread out in Haro Strait heading up to Turn Point. We were able to identify K20, L87, L41, L88, and K40. We got to see a wide range of behaviors.
Mike, San Juan Safaris
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Beam Reach students were with resident orcas off Hannah Heights, southwest San Juan Island at 11:01 am to northern Haro Strait between Henry Island and Stuart Island at 3:30 pm.
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7:35 am: Vocalizing on the OrcaSound hydrophone.
Jane Cogan
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7:40 am - Orcasound and Lime Kiln hydrophones - Southern Residents - Faint SRKW (S16/19) calls and whistles auto-detected this morning at Orcasound (7:30-7:35) and Lime Kiln (7:46), implying southbound direction of travel in Haro Strait.
Scott Veirs
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S. Peterson reported four orcas, one male and three others, at 12:50 pm near April Point on Quadra Island in northern Georgia Strait, headed toward Seymour Narrows.
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Here are some pics of the T002C Gang with the new calf! These were taken during our encounter starting at 1030hrs and ending at approx 1300hrs. They were travelling up Discovery Passage Northbound then went right thru Kanish Bay at the top of Quadra Island (north end of Georgia Strait). There may have been a seal kill near the end as there was some feeding activity and birds around after. The calf is the smallest I have seen for sure, looking more like a dolphin! They are my favorite gang of T's, love that T002c had the new calf.
Nick Templeman, Eagle Eye Adventures
Note: Many researchers are now using the term "Bigg's killer whales" instead of "transients" in honor of the late Mike Bigg, who pioneered field studies of orcas beginning in 1972.

September 27, 2011

Hydrophone reports:
12:25 pm: May be hearing transient calls on the OrcaSound hydrophone.
4:29 pm: Heard one call on the OrcaSound hydrophone. Transients?
4:30 pm: Definitely hearing resident calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone. Ks.
5:15 pm: Hearing vocalizations on the OrcaSound hydrophone.
7:44 pm: Hearing some calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone. The same odd call I was hearing earlier on the OrcaSound hydrophone.
8:30 pm: Still hearing vocalizations on the Lime Kiln hydrophone.
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After 2 days of howling wind and sporadic downpours it seemed as though mother nature decided to give us a break. It was a beautiful day. There was sun and there were whales. We even saw a Minke surface as we were watching Steller's Sea Lions at the south end of Cattle Pass. The residents were spread out on the south/ west side of the island. They looked to be moving a little bit offshore but were generally milling when we arrived. The first whale we encountered was L21 traveling (or hunting) with a female and juvenile male. There were whales everywhere but toward the end of the trip we ended up with a group that included K20.
Laura, Naturalist
Note: The Center for Whale Research was with K pod on September 28 and did not see a new calf.
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5:30 pm - Beautiful, clear, echoing calls from K pod.
Meg McDonald
5:30 pm - oh, they are really starting to get chatty. Sounded like it was just one whale for a little bit now theres quite a few!
Rose Hite
6:04 PM Lime Kiln
5:26 PM Orcasound
Lon Brocklehurst
4:07 pm - Could have sworn I heard one little call at Lime Kiln a minute ago. Now I just hear a lot of boat noise..
Meg McDonald
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Beam Reach students were with resident orcas near Hannah Heights, southwest San Juan Island, beginning at 1:03 pm to just off Open Bay, northwest San Juan Island, at 5:11 pm.

September 26, 2011

Michael Rader called Orca Network to report a sighting of 3 orcas, at 1:20 pm , about 4-5 miles offshore of Punta Gorda CA (just south of Eureka), heading south, including one adult male.
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1:20 pm: Orcas vocalizing on the OrcaSound hydrophone. Orcas northbound past Mitchell Bay in rough seas. 4:50 pm: Orcas southbound past Mitchell Bay in a pouring rain. Some calls on the OrcaSound hydrophone. Hard to make identifications, but I think I'm seeing Ls heading south. Not hearing obvious J or K calls on the hydrophone.
Jane Cogan
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Hydrophone reports
5:45 pm - they moved down south to Lime Kiln @ 5:35pm.
Alisa Lemire Brooks
5:32 PM - Orcasound
5:31 PM - Lime Kiln
Robo Lon
4:46 pm - Calls at Orcasound!
Meg McDonald
12:55 pm - Lime Kiln and Orcasound hydrophones - Southern Residents calls (S/3/4/19/42) auto-detected at Lime Kiln (1255-1313) and then Orcasound (1319-1345) in 40 knot winds and nearing max flood (peak was at 1430). See/hear recordings and read more here.
Scott Veirs
12:55 - Hearing faint calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone.
Gayle Swigart
12:16 pm - Calls at Lime Kiln again!
Meg McDonald

September 25, 2011

6 pm - Traveling more steadily although they were active at Lime Kiln!
Melisa Pinnow
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5 pm - Orcas headed south from False Bay. Its a superpod!
Melisa Pinnow
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Hydrophone reports
4 pm - The calls at Lime Kiln are still sweet. This is simply an amazing day for enjoying the Southern Residents via hydrophone!
Meg McDonald
3:58 pm - There are calls on the lime kiln hydrophone now :)
Charlotte Foster
3 pm - Calls are clear at Lime Kiln again--sounds like the whales have moved south!
Meg McDonald
2 pm - Still chatting away on Orcasound hydrophones.
Kara E. Clayton
1:54 - I think a little super pod action is happening.
Alisa Lemire Brooks
1:29 pm - Still calls on the orcasound hydros. They are having an orca party.
Vickie Doyle
12:51 pm - Orcasound hydrophones now.. very chatty!!
Vickie Doyle
12:26 pm - Wow - tune in to the Lime Kiln hydrophones on the link above, great calls right now!
Orca Network
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4 pm - Went out for several hours this morning. Lots of great waves, winds, and [orcas] playing in the waves! Back and forth...
Traci Walter
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September 25 - sights and sounds
9:30 am: Faint vocalizations on the Lime Kiln hydrophone.
12:15 pm: Orcas once again vocalizing on the Lime Kiln hydrophone. Ks and Ls? Calls are getting quite loud.
12:45 pm: Orcas vocalizing on the OrcaSound hydrophone. Orcas parading northbound near Mitchell Bay in very rough seas. Some porpoising. Some foraging. Some swimming just below the surface with dorsal fins visible above the surface Many about 0.25 - 0.50 mile from shore. Some farther out.
1:12 pm: Ls audible at Lime Kiln.
1:13 pm: Orcas audible on the OrcaSound hydrophone. More orcas slowly headed north past Mitchell Bay toward Kellett Bluff.
1:30 pm: Lots of orcas southbound, not all at once, but a few at a time. Many within 500 yards of shore. Some foraging. One playful little one who was cartwheeling in the rain.
3:10 pm: Still hearing vocalizations on the Lime Kiln hydrophone, mostly Ls.
Jane Cogan

September 24, 2011

Here is a Breaching Humpback west of Race Rocks. We also encountered T31 & T49c off Victoria as well as all 88 Resident Orcas returning to the Salish Sea! It was the best trip of the season:)
Andrew Lees
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Joe Carlson called Orca Network from Victoria to say that at 3 pm he saw 2 orcas headed east about 100 meters from shore off Dallas Rd., Victoria. He said others had seen more.
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Yup, Js Ks and Ls! Breaching, mating, relaxing .... AWESOME. Saturday at 5:59pm
Tasli Shaw
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Yeah, residents, transients, and even a humpback or 2, all in close proximity, wow!! Saturday at 6:07pm
Carrie Sapp
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We were out on the water by race rocks with residents every direction, transients and 2 humpbacks. Amazing day
Krista Larson Billinghurst
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Shanna Newell is reporting Transients off Sooke, BC, and Js, Ks & the L12s in the Victoria BC vicinity as well!
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My my what a day! Dense fog, heading West on a hunch, finding Transient Orcas, Resident Orcas, and two Humpbacks. I've never seen such fog, lasting all day long. I had heard from my buddies from Victoria that the skies were clear out West, and that if we got there we might be able to see a Humpback. So, after delaying our departure for an hour, and proceeding with great care through the pea soup fog, we headed for Victoria. Finally the fog lifted and out near Race Rocks we got our reward. First we saw two Transients, the mammal eating Orcas. Then we went to see two Humpbacks. Then we spent the rest of our time with the Super Pod, Js, Ks and Ls as they headed toward San Juan Island. And we were the only boat from the San Juans. An amazing day!
Capt. Jim Maya

September 23, 2011

Around 2pm we found a single Minke north of Turn Point in Boundary Pass. Dall's were out in the middle of Haro, but pretty elusive.
Mike, San Juan Safaris

September 22, 2011

L Pod was pretty much at South Beach when we first came upon them They were spread out over a tremendous area. Once again the calm water made for easy identification of the saddle patch. Among the first whales we saw were L2, L79, L72, and later L41 (Mega). We also had an amazing encounter with two juvenile whales who shot up, out of nowhere, in front of the boat, while we were shut down and proceeded to swim laps around us while we watched in amazement. The water was calm and clear and we could see the white flash from their bellies as they scooted in past us in a blur and then darted out to regroup before doing it again. In my whole summer out here I have not seen behavior like that from orca whales until today. Orcas may pop up near a boat and pass by at close proximity, but it is always with an air of dignity, as though they are on a mission and could care less about boat or the people on it. They always keep their composure and when they do let loose a little it is typically in the company of other orcas with boats watching from afar. Today was different. There was no breaching or rolling upside-down. No tail slapping or lollygagging at the surface. These two little guys were behaving, totally and completely, like a couple of hooligans. It was awesome. Even Capt Mike had to leave the wheelhouse and squeeze up to the railing to get a better view. It was one of those exceptional moments that makes you want to do a fist pump and yell, "Yessss!"
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Beam Reach students were with [orcas] from 3:02 until 4:02, along the southwest side of San Juan Island.

September 21, 2011

Members of all the pods, J-K-L, out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, off of San Juan Island, between 3:10pm to 4:25pm. We identified the big guy sighted first; L-41 Mega with sister L-77 Matia, heading toward Salmon Bank. They turned back and we noticed L-25 Ocean Sun. Well, 83 year old L-25 Ocean Sun jumped out of the water, she breached 2 times!! A magical moment... We see a group closer to shore porpoising, speed swimming, had they all decided to travel northwest? Then some L-Podders closer to shore, lunging, hoping they caught a Chinook Salmon! We are also listening to J-K-L vocalizations, with the lighting and wildlife an extraordinary encounter!
Caroline Armon, CMN, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions
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We just got back from a 5 day kayak trip in the Southern Gulf Islands today. I wanted to report an Orca sighting. On Wednesday morning the 21st we were paddling around Taylor Pt on Saturna Island when we spotted a couple distant Orcas to the east. After watching for about a minute, we proceeded on in and landed at the beach inside the point. We then climbed up the stone stairs and followed the path out to Taylor Point hoping to spot more whales. It was around 11AM. Once we got out into full view numerous Orcas were feeding in the vacinity of Java Islets. For the next 15 minutes we watched what must have been a pod of about 20 whales feed...probably on salmon. They gradually moved in a westerly direction heading into Plumper Sound and out of sight. I would be curious which pod we might have seen?
Jim Benson, Sequim
We had a report of J pod heading south in Haro Strait a little later that day, so that's probably who you saw.
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We encountered 4 transients off Hein Bank around 12:30 pm, one male and 3 females, heading south-east, perhaps another visit to Puget Sound? Then we headed north-west and were accosted by Dall's porpoise, then found the L12's coming south along SJI, very spread out, with L41, L79, L89, L94 and L113 easy enough to identify. They were still heading south when we left them around 3:30 or so. The weather was picture perfect, mill-pond like seas and beautiful clouds. Magic!
Jill
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Beam Reach students were with [orcas] at 1:50 pm in Haro Strait north of Henry Island, and at 3:48 at Open Bay between Henry Island and San Juan Island.
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I went out with Island Adventures again today. We saw the T30s west of Whidbey/south of Lopez and then L25 Ocean Sun, Skanna and Alexis off San Juan Island. All of these photos are the T30s except the sideview spyhop, which is L25.
Cathy Scott
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We left the harbor today and headed north. Half way up the San Juan Channel we encountered Dall's Porpoise. As we were leaving the Dall's we saw a large male ELEPHANT SEAL. The large, protruding nose was a dead giveaway. Out in Haro Strait we shut down and watched a small group composed of J16, J26, and J42 and 36. They looked to be just traveling. There were no long dives and their pace was slow and steady. We could hear each and every breath from whales near and far away from us. A single female surfaced off our other side and we watched her glide gracefully past us. There were so many whales in all directions that we dropped our hydrophone to take a listen. It was as if we had stepped into the middle of a crowded party. It was so calm that we could even hear echolocation clicks. While we were sitting, watching, and listening to the orcas something big exploded to the surface about a quarter of a mile away from us. It was like watching a submarine shooting to the surface. It happened two more times. In that time I was able to gather my wits and identify the large, torpedo-like object as a breaching Minke Whale! I have never seen a Minke breach before. It was awesome!
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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7:40-8:10am - two orcas travelling slowly off Flint Beach, South Lopez. First spotted headed west-to-east. Last seen going back toward the west.
Tom Reeve
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Saw a large group (25 or so) of Harbor porpoises about 200m off of Suquamish Monday morning. They had been milling about there for about an hour according to others who were watching them. They were gone later that afternoon when I passed through there.
Casey Burns
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We received a report from Colleen Bennett of 3 - 4, possibly more, orcas on the south side of Mendocino, CA heading south on Sept. 21st.
Susan

September 20, 2011

Another wondrous, memorable trip out into the Salish Sea! Calm, clear waters, like a pond with a minimal ebbing tide. More sun and many, 50+? whales heading northwest from about 3:15pm to 4:30pm, past Spieden and Stuart Islands. J-Pod and L-Pod Orcas spread out, some males further out in Haro Strait, while females with youngsters closer to shore. L-55 with the newest calf L-118 and the rest of her family were the trailing group, so they sped swam- 'porpoised' to catch up! All the groups gathered together as they had to decide which way to go at Turn Point. I guessed they were going to turn right, into Boundary Pass, and sure enough they did! L-Podders don't go the other way through Active Pass, as much as J-Podders do. They spread out again, heading toward Saturna Island, surfing the wake of a large cargo ship, and a parting breach. Breathtaking to see the whales and waters, island and mountain backgrounds.
Caroline Armon, CMN, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions
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I went out to Lime Kiln Lighthouse after hearing the amazing calls...most of everyone went north. A small group (likely L12's) stayed south. A mom and a couple young animals came from the north out of nowhere and surfaced at the light 3 times before continuing to head south. Beautiful afternoon out there!
Traci Walter
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hydrophone reports
1:40 pm - the orcas have moved north, amazing calls can now be heard at the "OrcaSound" hydrophone at the link above - listen in! They've been going at it in this location for an hour now, and calls are still clear and constant!
Susan, Orca Network
1:32 pm - Nice calls, clicks and whistles on Lime Kiln Hps.
Cathy Bacon

September 19, 2011

Another sunny, beautiful September summer day, with a minimal ebbing tide and slack water, I think the whales enjoy it too! J-Pod and L-Podders spread out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Salmon Bank to Middle Bank, all the way out to Hein Bank, a favored fish hunting region. From about 3:25pm until 4:30pm, the Orcas were slowly milling about, making direction changes, chatting-vocalizing! Young, 16 year old J-30 Riptide and 21 year old L-84 Nyssa seemed to be goofing off, playing, and frisky, as they swam close together and we saw J-30 going on his back, flashing his 'pink floyd'! Maybe he was showing off, competing with L-84?!
Caroline Armon, CMN, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions
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We came across L41 swimming by himself near Hein Bank around 2pm. Shortly after that we encountered more of L pod a little farther north, but a few miles offshore from South Beach, San Juan Island. Breaches, tail slaps, and spy hops. On the way in we stopped for Stellers at Whale Rocks, and a nice group of Harbor Porpoise in San Juan Channell!
Mike, San Juan Safaris

September 18, 2011

Claudia Ellis called Orca Network after seeing a poster put up by Ken Balcomb on Main Street in Mendocino CA, to report 15-20 orcas heading south fast to mile offshore, seen from the north end of Mendocino Bay. Unfortunately no photos were taken.
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One minke off Waldron Island in Cowlitz Bay. There were a few T's westbound at Otter Point, but I never saw them, so don't know which individuals they were.
Tasli Shaw
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9:30 am Sunday, minke whale 1/2 mile between Ebey's Landing and Pt. Partridge heading NW -sighted here 3rd day in a row.
Al Luneman, Techo-man

September 17, 2011

September 16, 2011

It was late in the day, or at least felt like it. Everyone had left but one boat well to the south with a humpback. We shut down and did our 1700 count. Jaeda noticed a female trailing the last group we had watched pass by. The group with young ones was very active. There were other whales to the north and south of us all heading west, except for moments of surface activity and fishing. Since we had seen L-92 pass along that line a mile or so ahead, we thought she was the most likely candidate. We moved in to check on her, and yes, it was L-90 swimming alone steadily.
John Calogero
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Superpod super spread out, we were hanging with some L's - positive id on L92, L54 and L117. Then! on our way back to victoria we were lucky enough to run into some T's not far from Trial Island!! No id on them but some of our guests said they'd email us their photos. Great day! We were very lucky :)
Mercedes Powell
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Concerning my moms Wendy Pinnow post earlier, I talked to her and we have come to a conclusion that the whale she saw with the orcas was indeed a humpback, 15 foot long pecs with bumps on the edges and a small lump of a dorsal fin fits the description. She was concerned of odd behavior as it looked like it was behaving like it was stressed. When she last saw it, it was heading south following the resident orcas. Could it be Canuck struggling to still get free from the fishing gear? Did any of the whale watching boats see the humpback with the orcas today?
Melisa Pinnow
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Hydrophone reports
9:22am - still hearing intermittent calls & echolocation on LimeKiln hydrophone, calls been streaming for past hour. Have heard what sounds like calls from all 3 pods during that time (hoping Wendy's possible humpback sighting is accurate, would be nice to hear a humpback too).
Alisa Lemire Brooks
9:13 am - Calls still loud and clear at lime Kiln hps.
Cathy Bacon
8:20 am - Lime Kiln - Calls and clicks can now be heard on Lime Kiln too. Nice and clear.
Laura Swan
7:42 am - I sure am loving the acoustics on the orcasound hydros I've been listening to. Very loud clear vocals!
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo, Florida
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At 6:20 pm yesterday I encountered 7 transient killer whales - the CA51s - about 3 miles off the Los Angeles Harbor. This matriline, including 2 small calves, is often VERY boat friendly. A sea lion was taking refuge under the whalewatching boat Christopher, and then switched to our boat, pressing against the hull. Several whales repeatedly spyhopped - especially the calves. They rested and rolled nearby, making long dives as the sea lion peered downward. When the sea lion drifted from our boat a few times, the killer whales immediately approached it. One juvenile breached on it and tail-slashed; the sea lion immediately returned to the safety of our boat. The transients ignored a fast-moving group of common dolphin that passed nearby. When we left them due to darkness, the killer whales and sea lion were still there.
Alisa Schulman-Janiger

September 15, 2011

Off of South Beach we came across members of L pod cruising off shore for a bit. We identified 'Mega' with some of his family, as well as 'Spirit' and 'Racer'. There were even some Dalls porpoise mixed in with the Orca. They seemed to be traveling together for a little bit. By 4:30pm we were headed back up San Juan Channel and found some Harbor Porpoise as well.
Mike, San Juan Safaris
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11:30am - Still around: orcas at south end of Lopez. Now there are orcas going east to west, hanging around off Flint Beach, south end of Lopez, a few breaches. 10:30am - Orcas at south end of Lopez. Pod traveling west to east. Some porpoising, some feeding.
Sally Reeve
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Hydrophone reports
13:25 - Lime Kiln - Fast heading South. J pod has turned on the weakening ebb and is now heading south 500-1500m offshore of Orcasound. Beam Reach students are again hearing calls at Lime Kiln.
Val Veirs
11:57 - Orcasound hydrophones - J pod traveling north fast. Starting to hear clicks and calls at Orcasound hydrophones. Beam Reach students report last J pod whales have passed Lime Kiln traveling north.
Scott Veirs
10:36 - Lime Kiln - Southern Residents heading north calling and clicking as they travel past Lime Kiln. No salmon only forage and bottom fish on underwater camera.
Robin, Beam Reach student
10:17 AM - Echolocation at Lime Kiln.
Meg McDonald
03:50 am - Lime Kiln - they're back! SRKW calls.
Jeanne Hyde
3:47 am - Kiln hydrophone - Southern Residents. Two automated detections of SRKW calls (S2s mostly) in the wee hours this morning --
Scott Veirs

September 14, 2011

Today San Juan Safaris had Transients in the middle of Haro Strait heading out. We also encountered Dall's in the middle of the strait, Minkes near Salmon Bank, Stellers at Whale Rocks, and Harbor Porpoise in San Juan Channel. Mike, San Juan Safaris
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Monday the residents headed back out to the Pacific, and sure enough transient families are noticed! We went to Canada, south of Discovery Island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, from about 3:55pm to 4:25pm, although a 4' flooding tide, the water was smooth, the sun came out for a bit! Reports were of 33 year old T100 and her 3 youngsters, 38 year old T101 with her 2 youngsters, and a 27 year old male T102. We also saw a third group I think may have been 44 year old T30 with her 3 offspring, as that male looked like her son, 25 year old T30A. Nice to see the youngsters from 5 to 14 years old, and the mature transients, all 12 killer whales, traveling close together. Unusually, one whale kept coming up sideways, showing its belly! No porpoise or seals out there- maybe they got the word! Back towards Salmon Bank and San Juan Channel appeared Dall's Porpoise, Harbor Porpoise and Seals, and Steller Sea Lions.
Caroline Armon, CMN, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions
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7:52 am - Hearing faint clicking now at Lime Kiln
Laura Swan

September 13, 2011

Awesome day with both humpys and Orca's. Morning spent with J's and K's by point no point BC (west of Sooke in Strait of Juan de Fuca), we had breaches, cartwheels and even a baby breach!... and spent the afternoon with several different groups of humpy's south of Race Rocks, who were doing great flukeing and a great breach from one of them too :)
Mercedes Powell
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8:20 am - Just got word of over 40 Resident Orcas off Sooke BC heading West.
Sooke Coastal Explorations

September 12, 2011

T137s with T046a + T046a1 heading westbound. Sighted 4 km north of Ediz Hook at noon today. Minke sighted 3km north of Ediz Hook at 2pm.
Michelle Savoie
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Over the years I have noticed something about the Orcas, porpoise, migrating marine birds, Steller Sea Lions, Harbor Seals and pups, all the life of the Salish Sea, that September is special. We see more gatherings of the pods, more active above surface behaviors, in some of the warmest, nicest conditions. Are the whales well fed from the spring and summer salmon? Are they planning their expanded travels to find enough salmon to sustain them in the fall and winter? Are they socializing, saying their goodbyes, like we are to them? Off of Hein Bank in a fairly strong 7' flooding tide at about 4:00pm to 4:30pm, we were awed by J-Pod, K-Pod, and some L-Pod families energetically spyhopping, breaching, cartwheeling, headstands-tail flukes held in the air!, tail fluke lobbing and slapping the water, pectoral fin slaps on the surface, and some whales moving upside down on their backs!! Wonderful to see J-2, 100 year old Granny just as active, and hear their chatter on the hydrophone. The kitten like K vocalizations are distinct and J's S-1 call! We saw salmon jumping out of the water on our way back in, so hope the whales found the kings- Chinook Salmon, and are feasting well!
Caroline Armon, CMN, SSAMN, San Juan Excursions
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On our way home from fishing Saturday night we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by 5 (or so) gorgeous orcas. We took this at 7:10 pm, 200 yards south of Bush Point lighthouse in Admiralty Inlet. They fished for a while, slowly making their way southeast across the channel, until the sun set and we had to skedaddle home.
Mike and Patti Anderson

September 11, 2011

We ran into the T30's just north of Gooch Island and also ran into the T100's in the Strait of Georgia, just a great day. Here's a picture of T30 and T30A and another of T30.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver
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We were on the Port Townsend Keystone crossing on the ferry. We left PT on the 3:45...the boat was slowing and then stopped about 4:20 we all got to see at least 2 if not 3 beautiful Orca whales...they were dipping and diving pretty close to the shore where the fisher men and women were fishing for salmon...I have never seen them in that close to shore before I am sure they were enjoying a good salmon run. I took a few pictures.
Peggy Darst-Townsdin
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I'm very curious to know who the baby I saw is. Such a little cutey. It was a wonderful day to be out on the water - watching the whales from a safe distance. It was nice to see soundwatch there keeping an eye on the boats who weren't as respectful of the whales space. I've done whale watches in the past that really felt more like chasing the whales. I really enjoyed that we just stopped, shut down and watched and listened to the whales.
Connie Bickerton
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We were out with J's, K's, & L's on the south end of San Juan Island, then later in the afternoon we were with them at Hein Bank.
Traci
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Three orcas were reported heading north in the Edmonds/Kingston ferry lane at 6:00 pm by Bert Miller, a ferry worker.
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About 5 pm - 3-4 orcas headed north toward Pt. Monroe and Jeff head. Traveling fast northbound.
Lance King
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Donna Sandstrom called to say she was watching what she believe to be 5-8 orcas going north off the south side of Bainbridge at 2:36 pm, probably heading up the east side.
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2:20 pm - 1/2 mile northeast of Blake Island. 2 orcas heading north.
Peter Bulthuis
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They just passed my house on Glen Acres (a bit north of Dilworth, Vashon Island) about 40 minutes ago, about 1:30. They were heading north and FAST! probably even passed ferry by now. There was a small boat escorting them.
Lisa Stuhley
*
[Orcas] came by our place on Dilworth heading south in late morning, then turned around and were headed north a couple of hours later -- both times they were very close to the beach -- maybe 150' off-shore, so we had a great view of them without needing binoculars.
Steve Salonen
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When kayaking from Vashon, we saw three orca swimming south about 1 mile south of Faultleroy and 1/2mile offshore. I saw from about 1/2 mile away with binoculars. One large fin surfacing and then one small right behind it. Not sure of the size of the third. Each surface and the big one spouted really well. Very exciting to the two others paddlers in our group.
Jeff Miller.
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Amy Carey just called and said the Transients in Puget Sound turned around - at 1:10 pm she got a report of them off Glen Acres, Dilworth, Vashon Island, heading north. They had been close to shore off Vashon Island all morning heading south, but turned around and headed north while no one was looking.
*
10:50 am - Amy Carey is watching orcas off Vashon.
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10:27 am - 4 plus orcas southbound in (Vashon) ferry lanes.
Jeff Hogan
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9:47 am - WA State Ferries called with a report of 3 or 4 orcas headed south between the Vashon and Fauntleroy ferry docks.
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Stephanie Raymond reported a Southern Resident superpod in Haro Strait at 12:50.
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12:18 pm -L pod is at False bay milling and socializing, while J and K are up farther maybe by Lime Kiln. There is alot of spy hopping, breaching, lunging and tail slapping and a TON of above water vocalizing from L pod!
Melisa Pinnow

September 10, 2011

L pod in all of its glory. Our whale encounter began with Mega. We were just south of eagle point with no other whale watching boats in sight and out of no where a huge dorsal fin came to the surface. We stopped and waited to see where he was headed. He was moving south toward us so we shut down and waited. It was glassy flat, calm and quiet until his exhalation cut the silence like a jet engine. He meandered in our direction and then slowly swooped around and took a 90 degree turn out away from us. He milled back and forth for a while until he was several hundred yards away from us. We started up again and continued north. Up toward the north end of San Juan we encountered the rest of the pod. They were very spread out. They looked to be fishing. There was some surface activity here and there but with long dive times. We got a few looks at a couple of females and juveniles and one other large male.
Laura, San Juan Safaris
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7 pm - L12s are at False Bay heading south, Mega L41 looks beautiful in the sunset!
Melisa Pinnow
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2:33 pm - The whales seem to be northbound and are now audible on the Orcasound hydrophone.
2:14 pm - L pod is there too!
2:02 pm - Js and Ks at Lime Kiln.
Meg McDonald
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Lime Kiln hydrophones - 1:45 - Southern Residents, S16 (K pod) and other calls and lots of loud clicks now at Lime Kiln hydrophones. No detections earlier at Orcasound, so they are likely northbound.
Scott Veirs
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Arlene Solomon called from Mayne Island to say there were six orcas headed north into Active Pass.
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We spotted a small pod of about 5 or 6 orcas all females and young ones. One calf was so small and appreared grey in colour. I can't find any info on grey infant orcas. Is this common for newborns? The time was 5:30. The orcas were heading east towards Race Rocks and sticking within feet from shore. We noticed the large female would stop moving for a minute or so and just float. Is this possibly nursing the calf?
Thanks Sylvie
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The T30's were off Sydney Island at 12:10, heading north. Two kills witnessed (one harbor porpoise, one unknown).
Tasli Shaw
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7:10 pm - Five orcas just reported heading south 1-200 yards off the beach from Bush Point, Whidbey Island, called in by Linda Watley. There could be more out there.

September 9, 2011

The most exciting thing was seeing 4 [orcas] porpoising. They were coming up behind the boat so we were able to see them for awhile as they came towards us and quickly passed by. Blackberry came by for awhile too and we had one orca breach right next to the boat at the back.
Cathy (Scott)
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We rounded Cattle Point and started to see blows around Eagle Point. There were definitely K's and maybe some J's heading up the coast. Minutes later they were heading down the coast. They were spread from us in toward the rocks and on the other side, miles out toward the Olympics. Salmon were leaping everywhere and although there may have been some hunting taking place, one group with baby K and several other juveniles seemed to be enjoying a mid-afternoon play session. One juvenile breached about 10 times in a row!
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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1:50PM - Whales vocalizing at Lime Kiln.
John Boyd
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9:23am - Just saw 4 orcas from ferry, north end of lopez, just east of terminal, saw open saddle, either J26 or L79??
Heather Hill
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Likely is a record of this already but for the just in case - looks like, at 32, T002B has her first known calf. Images over several surfacings over 1:13 show them surfacing together.
Rod (Palm)
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We had an awesome day with the T30's! Got to see them make a kill and a small celebration just north of Gooch Island.
Gary Sutton, Wild Whales Vancouver

September 8, 2011

Orca Network received a call from Annette at 7:18 pm, reporting a single adult male orca with a gigantic fin off North Beach, Pt. Townsend, heading towards Pt Townsend from the Pt. Angeles area - looking like he was heading into PT for the Wooden Boat Festival!
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Orcasound hydrophones - 15:40, Suthern Residents, S2 calls over boat noise as whales head north. Auto-detections at Lime Kiln started at 15:00.
Scott Veirs
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3:20 pm - Orcas passed by Lime Kiln at 3pm today. Sweet!
Mary Hulbert

September 7, 2011

The whales were about 1.5 miles south of False Bay, basically making a giant circle as they milled about. There were two distinct groups, and Js and Ks were interspersed between the groups. We saw J28 Polaris and her calf J46 Star swimming alongside J30 Riptide J22 and her clan, J34 Doublestuff and J38 Cookie were also in this same group. The other group had L87 Onyx (honorary J Pod member) hanging out with K21, K25 and lots of K females. We also saw J26 Mike and J27 Blackberry swimming about. The whale groups would coalesce and separate and then come back together again. The water was flat calm, so you could hear the blows from a long distance away. We saw 3-4 spyhops, but what was intriguing was the whales would make almost choreographed turns but we never heard them make a call, so we wondered what the non-verbal signal (or out of range of our hydrophone?) they were using. The whales pretty much held this pattern for about an hour before deciding to head towards shore. Since we limit our time with whales to no more than 1/3 of our trip time (so about an hour and 10 minutes max), it was perfect timing for us to head back. There were also reports of the T30s about 4-5 miles further south of the SRKWs but we didn't have time to head over to see them this trip. Lots of Stellar Sea Lions on Whale Rocks now as would be expected (more than 20), and they were fun to watch as they growled and snarled at one Stellar who had had enough swimming and was ready for some sun bathing.
John Boyd (JB), SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince
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We had an amazing encounter with resident whales today that started with them spread out all over the south west side of the island, merging into small groups, and ended with them meeting up, West Side Story style (without the violence), and then all swimming off into the sunset together. There were somewhere between 20 and 30 whales out there. We identified K's (baby in tow) and J's (Blackberry and L87 were hanging together with a bunch of juveniles and females).
Laura, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
*
John Boyd on the Western Prince reports Js & Ks are doing the "westside shuffle" today off San Juan Island, and some Transients are 4 miles offshore of SJI.
*
5PM - T's near Race Rocks as well.
Andrew Lees

September 6, 2011

Probable offshores off Vancouver Island - 20+ Kawkawin [orcas] heading up the coast, 12nm off Lennard Is. (west coast of Vancouver Island). Acting like res. Images tomorrow AM.
Rod (Palm)
Looks like offshores to me. I would be interested in any other photos from this encounter. Cheers, Graeme

September 5, 2011

6:20 pm - Lots of resident orcas heading north from False Bay! Everyone to Lime Kiln!!
Melisa Pinnow

September 4, 2011

[Orcas] passed Eagle Cove at 7:45 heading south!
Lodie Laurieanne Gilbert Budwill
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A humpback just outside of Port Angeles Harbor from the 3PM Coho sailing.
Laine Hogle
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This evening between 6:00 and 6:30 PM members of all three pods headed south past Lime Kiln Lighthouse. Many of the whales were close to shore, thrilling me and all the other visitors gathered along the shoreline on this holiday weekend. More photos of the encounter will be on my blog. It was good to see that L90 was present, traveling a little ways behind L26 and L92. She seemed to be surfacing normally and though by herself, was not the last whale to pass by.
Monika Wieland, San Juan Island
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John Boyd at Western Prince called at 1:10 pm to report Js, Ks and some Ls are north of East Pt, aiming west.
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12.45AM - I heard some large splashes flukes and fins last night at approximately 12.45AM from the south end of Marrowstone - approximately mid channel west across from Whidbey. Thought it was probably whales - and then just saw this email :)
Heather
*
Shannon McGraw called today to report that he was fishing 35 miles out from Depoe Bay OR and saw three orcas. A male at least as big as their 22' boat approached and passed by them in the fog. They also saw an apparently injured dolphin struggling to swim about the same time.
*
About 4PM or so, out of Victoria MV Coho crossing to Port Angeles was slowed and stopped midway in the Strait of Juan de Fuca by a lone humpback slapping its tail for many minutes, breaching and flopping down onto its side. Long elegant flippers waving, tale slowly splashing. An incredible treat.
Monica Fletcher

September 3, 2011

The orca in the photo below was encountered in Admiralty Inlet off of Port Townsend around 6:00 p.m., ID'd as T90B (a subadult male) by Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research.
Gayle Swigart
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We talked to some fisherpersons at Ft Casey, who saw the orcas off Ft Casey around 7:30 am , likely as they headed into Admiralty.
Orca Network
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A caller reported 5-10 orcas heading north out of Admiralty Inlet at 7:30 pm.
Orca Network
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Southern residents (members of all three pods) off Saturna at 1.00 pm. Porpoising, spy-hopping, breaching, full of life on a truly glorious day. Thanks, Soundwatch and Straitwatch, for being out there to help draw attention to the regulations and protect the whales
Sandra Pollard, SSAMN, Freeland, Whidbey Island
*
We ended up in the Strait of Georgia, just south of the city of Vancouver, with orcas spanning over a quarter of a mile lined up in smaller groups and heading north. As we paralleled them for a while, we were able to identify J-27, "Blackberry," as one of the more recently-matured whales of the community. He had a juvenile--possibly his little brother "Mako"--and two females and/or larger juveniles. The orcas engaged in just about every surface behavior they have in their repertoire, from tail slapping to spy hopping to even breaching, it was all there! Welcome back, resident orcas!
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
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Lots of orcas northbound along the west side of San Juan Island earlier this morning. Some foraging. Some porpoising. And some very playful little ones.
Jane Cogan
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8:52 am - ORCAS just north of SJ County Park, headed North!!!!!
Trish Randolph
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6:12 pm - orcas bet. PT & Ft Warden, hdg N toward the Port Townsend Marine Scienc Center - also saw 2 - 3 Harbor porpoise just off Ft Casey.
5:30 pm - watching from Ft Casey St Pk, orcas N of Ft Flagler, close to PT side, porpoising N. boaters, please stay 200 yards from them - thanks!
4:50 pm - the orcas are nearing Marrowstone Pt, still heading north.
4:30 pm - porpoising, lunging, breaching, tail lobs - some hunting going on! too far off for IDs, hoping some of our photos will turn out.
4:25 pm - 6 - 8 orcas now heading NORTH in Admiralty Inlet.
4:20 pm - seeing at least 3 orcas in Admiralty Inlet off Lagoon Pt, heading SOUTH. Susan and Howard, Orca Network
*
3:40pm - at least three orcas are heading north about a quarter mile from Bush Point, Whidbey Island.
Mirka Mandich

September 2, 2011

Two orcas seen exiting Victoria Harbour at lighthouse at Ogden Point at about 6 pm while a cruise ship was backing in.
Pat Gregory
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5:42 pm - Resident orcas inbound from Sooke, bout time!! :D
Melisa Pinnow
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4:56 pm - YUP! Residents off Sooke 20 min ago!! :o)
Erin Corra
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4:25 pm - Reports of orcas inbound at Sheringham Pt, BC - west of Victoria - hopefully some of the Southern Residents returning!
Orca Network
*
Four to five orcas, one a juvenile, were seen cruising around the rocky outcrops near Iceberg Point off Lopez. They were of the transient community with solid saddle patches and wide dorsal fins that angled further toward their posterior than the residents. We left them as they slowly started making their way north. On our way back, we noticed that Whale Rocks were crowded with gigantic Steller sea lions and encircled by a few harbor seals. This happened to be not far, and in the same direction the transients were moving towards. We wondered if a pinnipede smorgasbord was in the making.
Kirsten, naturalist for San Juan Safaris Whale Watching
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Nancy Black of Monterey Bay Whalewatch (MBWW) reports that she saw 9 transient killer whales this afternoon. MBWW got on them at about 3:30 pm, along the south edge of Monterey Canyon. These were the CA51s and the CA50s, including two young calves that played together. They were breaching, spyhopping, lobtailing, rolling around and partying. Yesterday marks the 20th anniversary of the first identification of CA51 in Monterey Bay!
Alisa Schulman-Janiger, California Killer Whale Project

September 1, 2011

We had heard about a minke beyond Cattle Pass and so we went to investigate. After five minutes of searching--with the distraction of sea lions nearby for any short attention spans--the Captain of the Sea Lion spotted the tell-tale curved Minke whale dorsal fin. And another two minutes after that, passengers noticed it too! It appeared a little on the small side--a juvenile perhaps?--and continued swimming in what looked like foraging maneuvers.
Serena, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris




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