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Recent whale sightings in the Salish Sea

(Puget Sound, Northwest Straits, Gulf Islands and Georgia Strait)

Sightings Summaries Archives

Sighting Report Archives
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The purpose of Orca Network's Whale Sighting Network and Education Project is to encourage observation and increase awareness and knowledge about the Southern Resident Community of orcas (J, K and L pods), and foster a stewardship ethic to motivate a diverse audience to take action to protect and restore these orcas' critical habitat.

The orcas' steep population decline of 20% from 1995 to 2001 is a reflection of the problems and issues facing the greater Puget Sound marine and watershed ecosystems: declining salmon runs, PCB contamination, and the effects of a rapidly increasing human population including habitat loss and resource depletion. Through a volunteer Whale Sighting Network, sightings and observations of this orca community are gathered and disseminated to researchers and volunteers, and posted on our website.

Summarized Sightings map HERE


August 9

SOUTHERN RESIDENTS - Sometime between 8:50 and 9:10 one female with a calf close by appeared, followed by two females/juveniles. Very possible that I missed it if there was a male with them, it was almost completely dark over most of the water and they were traveling fast. Female that was with a calf was doing tail lob after tail lob...this was at land bank and they were headed south quickly. -Cassie Barclay

19:04 - Currently seeing some fins down off Salmon Bank/Eagle Cove...Erin Cora

18:57 - echolocation and S6? call - on OrcaSound.
18:47 - super loud S1 call and some nice echolocation..followed by S10s - on Orca Sound.
18:21 - loud S1 call followed minute later by faint echolocation. on Lime Kiln hps. -Alisa Lemire Brooks, ON

18:37 - Hearing them on the OrcaSound hydrophone. -Gayle Swigart

(Only ~7 whales passed Land Bank going north - looked like possibly J22s, J14s, and L87. J16s apparently stayed down south - MWS) 17:50 - 3 whales have passed Land Bank, made it to Lime Kiln northbound. I've got two males milling off Land Bank. , many others well spread to south.
1730 - presumed leaders passing Land Bank northbound. -Monika Wieland Shields, OBI

17:42 - more vocals, some close, but not loud and few calls now more distant.
17:35 - A couple of loud S1 calls on Lime Kiln hydrophone. -Alisa Lemire Brooks, ON

17:21 - One orca at Land Bank norhtbound. -Monika Wieland Shields, OBI

17:17 - Ok... few blows definitely on a north track!
17:03 - N of Eagle Point, some breaches at a distance. Just got to False Bay. Saw a dorsal, but even with binoculars I can't make out a direction. -Cher Renke

14:35 - J pod crossing into US waters in Haro from Strait of Juan de Fuca. NOAA boat with J16's right now. -Sharon Grace

Thu Aug 9 - 22:30 NOAA Update: J50/Scarlet Update (8/9): Progress! Response teams today reached J Pod in Canadian waters and followed them into U.S. waters near San Juan Island. While very skinny and small, J50/Scarlet kept up well with her mother and siblings. Veterinarian Marty Haulena from the Vancouver Aquarium got a thorough look at her and the team obtained a breath sample that will help assess any infection. They also administered a dose of antibiotics through a dart. Next step is to determine whether to proceed with trial feeding, depending on conditions and the location of the whales. Great work by the teams on the water!
15:30 Update: J50/Scarlet (8/9) Update: Teams have refined their stepwise treatment strategy and priorities and are ready if they encounter J50 / Scarlet. They laid out the steps this way:
> Collect breath sample (via long pole)
> Collect fecal sample (scooped from the water)
> Other sampling of mucus and/or skin if practical (via long pole)
> Simultaneously complete visual veterinary health assessment
> Provide antibiotic treatment through pole system or dart
Once all of those are complete, then the teams will consider using live fish as a means to provide medical treatment to support her critical condition. If they decide to attempt that unprecedented step, they would first conduct a trial release of live fish to see if she will take the fish. The team would release fish from a vessel through a chute about 50 to 100 yards in front of J50/Scarlet. If she takes it, the team will discuss delivering oral medications inserted into the live fish based on the outcomes of the veterinary assessment. -NOAA Fisheries West Coast

BIGG'S TRANSIENT KILLER WHALES - Thu Aug 9 - 19:49 - They were crazy active feeding! Heading south again at Bush Point
19:25 - They have changed directions now heading north.
19:00 - They are coming straight towards Bush Point lighthouse. Not too far out. -Marilyn Armbruster

19:13 - orcas milling off Bush Pt, trending south, slightly on the Whidbey side. -Pat Scott

19:11 - there is one male present, they are very active.
19:01 - 7 - 8 orcas headed south off Bush Pt. -Claudia Mitchell

18:53 - Orcas just N of Bush Pt. heading slowly south. -Anna Singao

18:51 - Seem to appear closer now to Bush pt maybe Whidbey side of mid channel but still in the same general north to south location. I'm sitting at the end of Sandpiper Lane Bush Point and they are straight out from me. To tell you the truth i dont know what they're doing...
17:45 -18:15 - They pretty much have stayed in the same area last half hour. Still of course a few miles north of the south Marrowstone channel buoy...
17:11 - Transients are southbound due west of the southend of Lagoon Point, mid channel. They stayed at Lagoon Pt from at least 4 to 5 pm. -Marilyn Armbruster

16:00 - whales committed to east shore of Marrowstone southbound passing Fort Flagler.
15:48 - seeing blows halfway between Point Wilson and Fort Flagler as seen from Lagoon Point... Just spotted a dorsal but distant still. Appear to be south east bound. -Sandra Pollard

14;21 - Orca Sighting. We spotted several between Whidbey Island and Fort Worden near the lighthouse. A report was sent from a boat following them to a person at the marine science center at the fort who told us about them that's when we saw them closer Whidey Island splashing but we didn't see them directly only them splashing. -Zach Hickerson

14:18 - Orcas just passed Point Wilson, Whidbey side continuing south bound. -Jonathan Crossman

13:22 - T46D just showed up as we are leaving.
13:11 - NW of Point Wilson, Port Townsend with T46's (minus T46D) and 137's (minus T137A) heading towards Point Wilson currently in a zig-zag pattern for the most part, but trending southeast into Admiralty Inlet. -Renee Beitzel, MV Saratoga

HUMPBACK WHALES - Thu 8/9 Trip Report: In bright, warm sunshine we left Cap Sante and headed northwest through beautiful Pole Pass, through the heart of the San Juan Islands. We found lovely humpback BCZ0180 "Monarch" in President's Channel, generally heading southwest. He/she did some very nice fluke up tail dives, giving us a good look at the beautiful pattern on the underside of the tail fluke, the identifying marks. We then headed to Flattop Island and saw a lot of adorable fat harbor seals, and and eagle family, with two mature mates, and at least one juvenile with a mottled brown and white feather pattern. Beautiful day! -Bonnie Gretz, volunteer naturalist.

August 8

NOAA Update: J50/Scarlet Update: Determined teams from Fisheries and Oceans Canada spotted Jpod again today (8/8), this time in U.S. waters off the Olympic Peninsula northwest of Neah Bay, Wash. They saw J50 with her mother, J16, also known as Slick. It was a bittersweet sighting for the teams to also see J35, Tahlequah, today, and witness the continued heartbreaking sight of her still carrying her dead calf, some two weeks since its birth. Our teams from NOAA Fisheries, DFO, and many other essential partners are ready to respond as soon as they are within range and conditions allow them to reach the pod and assess J50's condition. -NOAA Fisheries West Coast

Wed Aug 8 - Another special day with Transient Killer Whales...(T037's &T046's, T46E, T137A) South of Race Rocks Light House (am) west to south off Sheringham Lighthouse (pm) with humpback whales too. -Paul Pudwell

~ 18:30-19:30 - A ton (literally and figuratively lol) of humpbacks in eastern Juan de Fuca Strait yesterday evening (Aug 8). Between about 6:30 and 7:30 we watched around five or six different animals feeding, traveling, resting. This was just west of Victoria. I have one fluke shot. Only two opportunities to get any sort of fluke ID the whole time. As an aside, while ON gathered at Penn Cove and had a meditation moment at 6PM I concurrently visited the spot where Talequah gave birth to her daughter at Clover Point for a moment and offered a small token of flowers to pay my respects. Thanks to Maya's Legacy for offering me the opportunity to take a moment there. -Debbie Stewart
(BCYUnk Scratchy see photo - alb)

Wed Aug 8 - Humpback Yogi (BCY0409) passed Lime Kiln around noon heading north in Haro Strait. =Debbie Stewart

August 7

DFO photo of J50 and her mother, J16, off Port Renfrew, B.C., on Tuesday (8/7). Ks & Ls have been seen off Port Renfrew by their teams past couple of days. Photo by Brian Gisborne, Fisheries and Oceans Canada. -(Courtesy of NOAA Fisheries West Coast)

Tue Aug 7 - NOAA Update: J50 Update: Good news! Fisheries and Oceans Canada spotted J50 with her pod off Port Renfrew, near the west entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The promising news ends this day of important preparations and anticipation as teams searched for the whales. Today, response teams and partners staged supplies and readied themselves for an opportunity to assess J50. We will provide further updates as they become available. In the meantime, all updates, photographs, and video are available at the NOAA Fisheries West Coast website. -NOAA Fisheries West Coast

Tue Aug 7 - Great day on the water making people smile! Humpback whales are in large numbers around Race Rocks and our highlight was an encounter with some transient Killer Whales known as the T018's and T019's, brothers T19B and T19C South/West of Race Rocks heading westbound. -Paul Pudwell

Tue Aug - 12:50 - Humpbacks: 4 whales traveling & playing, East of Whale Passage, in and north of Penn Islands (north end of Georgia Strait). The big guy heading west toward Whale Passage and three others heading north past Penn Islands. -Annie Kurzontkowski

Tue Aug 7 - Great day on the water making people smile! Humpback whales are in large numbers around Race Rocks...Paul Pudwell

August 6

NOAA Update: J50 Update: Response teams continued their search for the J pod of Southern Resident killer whales on Monday (8/6) without success. The whales have not been seen since Saturday night, when they were spotted in open waters on the west side of Vancouver Island. Veterinarians remain on standby to conduct a health assessment of J50, which will inform further steps to support the whale. We deeply appreciate the assistance of many invaluable partners assisting in the search, as well as great public support for the dedicated response teams in the field. We will provide further updates as they become available. -NOAA Fisheries West Coast

GRAY WHALES - Mon Aug 6 - We see this gray in Elger Bay this morning too. Shocking to see them here now. -Tami Fifield
(this in response to gray 2234 post, but this could be 2nd gray who keeps primarily to Possession Sound/S Saratoga/Port Susan and is possibly PCFG 185 - alb)

Gray CRC 2234 off Oak Harbor/North Camano Island area. -Photo by Marilyn Armbruster, August 6, 2018

13:35 - gray whale off Strawberry Point, Whidbey now trending southbound. Had been doing circles, no fluking. -Bonnie Gretz (presumably gray 2234 - alb)

11:25 - gray whale #2234 west of Brown Point, Camano Island, feeding in circles. -Bart Rulon, MV Saratoga

August 5

NOAA Update: Southern Residents have not been seen in the Salish Sea since August 3, which was day 10 that J35 Tahlequah was still carrying her deceased baby. There are indirect reports that some J pod whales were spotted off the southwest coast of Vancouver Island in the past two days but no IDs on which ones were seen, and no reports yet today. -NOAA Fisheries West Coast

Sun Aug 5 - ~16:10 - T19s off Victoria, we left them about 1610, They were headed west, we left them off Trial Islands. -Sara Baldwin

Sun Aug 5 - Here is a Humpback Whale I have not seen before...Today in the fog out west of Sooke. -Paul Pudwell
(BCX0915 Fallen Knight see photo - alb)
(ID by Erin Johns Gless)

Sat & Sun Aug 4 & 5 - We have been seeing a very big Gray whale around Jetty Island in front of Everett. Looks about normal but thought they would all be in Alaska by now. We saw it off Tulalip bay mid July and this past weekend on Saturday and Sunday (August 4th & 5th). -John Ackerman

August 4

20:28 - Reports of Small group of J pod inbound off Otter Point maybe more. -Paul Pudwel

Sat Aug 4 - Flat calm seas and some thick FOG today but that did not stop us from finding 10+ Humpback Whales just west of Sooke, British Columbia - Vancouver Island, Canada. -Paul Pudwell
(includes MERS BCYuk2018#7 see photo - alb)

August 3

Resident orcas were off Port Renfrew about 15 miles on Swiftsure Bank this morning... -Paul Pudwell

Fri Aug 3 - I spotted this one off Orcas Is. NW Coast by Lovers Cove on 8-3. It was traveling slowly in a southerly direction about noon that day as I was headed for Sucia from Friday Harbor. BCY0409 Yogi! -Gary Peterson
(ID by Alisa Lemire Brooks, ON)

Fri Aug 3 - What a fluking awesome day with more than 30 Humpback Whales west of Sooke off shore of Jordan River...WOW! Humpback comeback continues! Tried to get as many ID shots as possible. -Paul Pudwell
(Includes: CS246 (aka: CRC-15995 and MMZ0019) and BCZ0353 - alb)

August 2

11:53 - WOW! Another great day with our Beloved Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales and humpback whales right out front of Sooke, B.C. Looks like they were finding food at times spread out from shore to Traffic Lanes...Some of J and L Pod were present...L123 Lazuli (almost 3-years-old) and mom L103 Lapis. J27 Blackberry off Sooke heading west. -Paul Pudwell
(ID by Sara Hysong-Shimazu)

Residents were still vocal at 12:40AM when I fell asleep - does anyone know how long they were on the hydrophones? (til about 01:15 (fading out at that time - Jeanne Hyde) -Monika Wieland Shields

UNIDENTIFIED KILLER WHALES - Thu Aug 2 - Jervis Inlet/Straight of Georgia - 13:00 - 2 or 3 orcas traveling north up Jervis Inlet (50 miles north of Vancouver BC). Spotted from land traveling close to shore. Location: 49 48.25 x 123 54.67. -Beverly Saunders

COASTAL KILLER WHALES - Thu Aug 2 - 12:07 - Report of 6 orcas heading north about a mile off shore of Cape Mears Lighthouse. -Debbie (no last name provided)

Thu Aug 2 - ...We then headed all the way to/beyond Victoria to catch up with a humpback whale (unidentified) where we had some great views of this whale, but just one fluke showing. -Jill Hein

Thu Aug 2 - BCXUnk Stitch - One of the many humpback whales off Sooke, B.C. -Photo by Paul Pudwell, Aug 2, 2018
(ID by Alisa Lemire Brooks, ON)

August 1

Haro Strait (Js and Ls) - 23:28 - J-Pod and 18 L-Pod whales down from the Fraser River! -Monika Wieland Shields

22:52 - vocalizatons becoming stronger on Lime Kiln hydrophone...They've been audible for more than 80 mins. -Donna Van Renselaar

Wed Aug 1 - Juan de Fuca Strait (Ls) - Great encounter today only 10 minutes from our docks off Sooke, B.C. with some of L pod of our Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (L41, L85, L77, L119 & L25) and a couple humpback whales in the same area! We are so fortunate to sea these majestic and special orca...Paul Pudwell

11:06 - (Orcas) Secretary Island (I'm not on the water. Just getting reports from captain & local residents. I'm sure Paul & others will update with Id's)
10:51 a.m - L pod East Sooke west bound..a few close to shore. -Deanna Brett

Wed August 1 Trip Report: With reports of both Resident and Transient Orcas to the north, we took the beautiful route on the east side of Guemes and Orcas Islands. After a stop at Puffin Island to see harbor seals and five eagles, we caught up with our friends from Monday, the T18/19 family of Transients at Saturna Island. The sun came out as we watched the two females and two big males make giant loops around us. The Residents were headed north, so we made our way back to the marina to end another lovely day in the Salish Sea. -Bonnie Gretz, volunteer naturalist

Wed Aug 1 - Strait of Georgia - 05:30 - Small group of Orcas likely Biggs off Iona headed towards the North Arm (Between the North Arm and Sandheads, Fraser River. Iona jetty sticks out from the airport.) -Scott McLeod

Wed Aug 1 - Great encounter today only 10 minutes from our docks off Sooke, B.C....and a couple humpback whales in the same area! -Paul Pudwell

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