Orca Network 

Whale Sighting Report  

In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Photo of the Day
Article Headline
Coastal Orcas
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Find a wide range of books related to orcas at the Orca Network Amazon store.
Orca Network recommends:
The Lost Whale, by Michael Parfit and Suzanne Chisolm  
An intensely personal story...but this person is a young orca.  

Lost Whale book...ver scaled  

 To learn more about orcas: 

Orcas in Our Midst, volume 3, by Howard Garrett

Orcas in Our Midst,

Vol. 3: Residents and Transients, How Did That Happen?

Click here  

to order YOUR copy!


The bestseller about orcas in captivity.

Death at SeaWorld, by David Kirby 


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orca Lolita/Tokitae,

captured in Penn Cove,

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in 1970, somehow surviving in a small tank at the Miami Seaquarium ever since.

Tokitae looking up at us from her tank in Miami, FL in the late 1990s 

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December 1, 2013

We are watching and visiting the whales in their home~

Please observe, love and respect them from a distance.

Having trouble viewing this Sightings Report? Archived Reports can be found HERE.
About 70 members of J, K, and L pods may have been foraging all over the Salish Sea for the past six days. November 26 and 27 a small group of about ten, not identified as residents or transients, were south of Whidbey Island and out Admiralty Inlet. Then on Thanksgiving Day, November 28 a superpod made up of all of J pod and K pod and most of L pod (except the L12 matriline) meandered up Haro Strait, some passing very close to the rocks at Lime Kiln State Park. There was no sign of them Friday, but on Saturday November 30th the same three pods showed up in San Juan Channel going south a few hundred yards from the Friday Harbor marina and out Cattle Pass. The last reports had them heading south toward Admiralty Inlet, and sure enough overnight they traveled deep into Puget Sound. Today they were first seen just west of Seattle before noon, and last seen in late afternoon off Maury Island, still heading south.

Only a few Transients/Bigg's whales have been reported lately, and not much lately about humpbacks, after an amazing summer and fall with possible record numbers and the first recorded close to boat behavior. One humpback has been seen in Saanich Inlet, Vancouver Island, for at least three days in a row.

If you are looking for presents on this Monday now called "cyber-Monday," you might find some jewelry or books at the Orca Network on-line store HERE, or maybe at the on-line Orca Network Amazon store HERE (hint: that's where you'll find Blackfish on DVD and BlueRay). And/or on "giving Tuesday" you might visit the Orca Network Memberships and Contributions page.

Looking forward to meeting some folks on December 5th at 6:30 to see Lolita, Spirit in the Water at the Admiral Theater in West Seattle. And Sunday December 8, from 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM at the Edmonds Theater, to see "Blackfish," the film that's rocking the captive orca entertainment business, both followed for Q&A with Orca Network's Howard Garrett. Thanks to Dawn Clark and her daughter Keely for sponsoring both of these showings.
Photo of the Day
Slick J16 (41 years old), and Granny J2 (102 years old) pass a thrilled crowd at Point Robinson on Maury Island today. My photographs also show that at least some members of K pod (Spock K20 and Scoter K25) are traveling with J pod.
Photo by Meg McDonald, Wild Northwest Beauty Photography, December 1, 2013.

Southern Resident orcas
December 1
Note: we don't have IDs on this group of orcas near Point No Point.
3:40 - Three orcas just passed Point No Point, heading south
- closer to the Edmonds side now.
Amber Brust

December 1
2:15- 2:30 - We just videoed 3 Orcas playing in Skunk Bay between Whidbey Island and Hansville. Normally, they are closer to Whidbey Island, but today in the still waters, they came much closer to the Hansville shore (about 1/2 mile), heading generally south toward Point No Point at 2:30.
Debby Replogle

December 1
3:55 - They are just nearing gold beach on maury island, mid channel in a pretty tight group. Went around the point about 3ish. I left them half way down maury still moving south. It will be a few hours before they would hit the entrance to colvos if they go there. Also not uncommon for them to go all the way there then turn and head back the way they came.
Amy Carey

December 1
2:58 - perched on a road south of Three Tree Point/Burien can see pod. Going to be a sweet pass by for all at Pt Robinson. From this vantage pod seems to be bunched up...there are a lot of whales!
Alisa Lemire Brooks

December 1
2:56 - Sounds like the orcas are reaching Maury Island, headed south toward Pt Robinson. Will they circle up the west side of Vashon Island, keep going south toward the Tacoma Narrows, or turn around and head back north?
Orca Network

December 1
Video from phone, posted on Facebook.
My first time seeing whales today. Saw on Facebook that these guys were on the north east end of vashon so we hopped the ferry from Tacoma over there and stopped at the first park we found. Saw whales way out in the water (barely) and as they swam past us we met some nice folks who told us a better spot to see them down the road. Went over to the other spot and waited, and sure enough they swam less than 50 yards away from us. This shit was dope. The video sucks because it's from my phone but man it's rad to know these dudes are in our backyard.
Alex Fazekas-Boone

Here's another beautiful photo of the SRKWs passing Point Robinson this afternoon! This is a mixed group of youngsters and adults from J and K pods: Suttles J40, Se-Yi-Chn J45, and their mother Samish J14, with Ripple K44 and his mother Deadhead K27. Many thanks to Melisa Pinnow for identifying these orcas!
Photo by Wild Northwest Beauty Photography, December 1, 2013.

One more photo for tonight of the SRKWs at Point Robinson today! Here's Scoter K25, who was satellite tagged about a year ago. The tag barbs broke off in his dorsal fin and are still stuck there in what appears to be a depressed area of his fin. Also in this photo are Scoter's mother Skagit K13, his sister Deadhead K27, and Rainshadow K37. Thanks to Melisa Pinnow for identifying Scoter's companions!
Photo by Wild Northwest Beauty Photography, December 1, 2013.

December 1

11:50 - Still heading southbound by Blake Island. Strong wind and waves on their dorsals is creating large sprays, making them stand out a bit amid the white caps.
Tanya Hunnell

December 1
11:15 - Jeff Hogan sees at least four orcas heading south between the north end of Blake Island and Alki Point, in windy, wavy water.

December 1
11 am - Fast moving pod of perhaps 6 to 8 southbound Orcas, spread out, mid-channel, between Alki Beach and Blakely Rock.
Seen from North Admiral
Dan Ciske
Skippering for James Mead Maya today included humpback, who appeared to be lolligagging off Snug Harbor, and Southern Residents breaching as they cleared Cattle Point light.
Photo by David Howitt, November 30, 2013.

Southern Residents heading past Cattle Point.
Photo by David Howitt, November 30, 2013.

An inverted tail lob as Southern Residents pass Cattle Point.
Photo by David Howitt, November 30, 2013.

Southern Residents in San Juan Channel.
Photo by David Howitt, November 30, 2013.

SRKW Today
J, K, and L pods heading through Cattle Pass between San Juan Island and Lopez Island and out into the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca. The splashing activity was probably herding salmon out into open water where they can be circled and herded.
Video from Orca Survey, Center for Whale Research, November 30, 2013.

Family of orcas off south side of Stuart Island midday Saturday. Five or six, including at least one baby. Headed toward Spieden Channel.
Photo by Tad Sooter, November 30, 2013.

Family of orcas off south side of Stuart Island, headed toward Spieden Channel.
Photo by Tad Sooter, November 30, 2013.

Family of orcas off south side of Stuart Island.
Photo by Tad Sooter, November 30, 2013.

Family of orcas headed toward Spieden Channel.
Photo by Tad Sooter, November 30, 2013.

A young sprouting male orca off Stuart Island.
Photo by Tad Sooter, November 30, 2013..

November 30
So we take off this morning. It's raining and blowing and foggy. I ask Capt Carl where we're going. He says "inner island" meaning up through the middle of the San Juan's where it's less windy. That makes sense. Get out of the weather. We cruise awhile with nothing happening. While we were driving along past Orcas Island I figure we're headed for Haro Strait and maybe across into Canada. I go and order some nachos and suddenly we make a hard U turn and started hauling back the way we came. I know we have something because they usually don't just make hard U turns. I go up and ask Carl what he has. He says there is a report of "a couple Transient Orca off Friday Harbor, I'm going there" I think Yay! A little while later we get there and up pop 3 Orca. I'm happy. Then suddenly there are 5 more behind them. Now I'm confused, thinking 8 Transients, that's weird. They usually travel in pods of 2-5. Then suddenly there are 4 more and then several on the other side of the boat including one that breaches right next to us. Now I know, it's Residents. Then suddenly they are everywhere. A superpod. Capt Carl said we had 60. I don't know. There were alot. What a day.
James Gresham

November 30
We finished off November with another great day on the water.  I received a report of killer whales off of Friday Harbor mid day. Thanks Hobbes! They turned out to be members of J, K, and L pod heading south down San Juan Channel.   We watched them exit Middle Channel with a frenzy of breaching and cartwheels before they fanned out in Haro Strait on a southerly line for Admiralty Inlet.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales
J's, K's and L's off  Cattle Point, San Juan Island.
Photo by Mark Malleson, November 30, 2013.

November 30
3:07 - Approx 60. Off Cattle Point now. Headed west. Just left them.
James Gresham
Note: It turned out to be about 71 orcas.

November 28
SUPER POD swam by and gave the west side of San Juan Island a Thanksgiving treat. Members from all 3 pods were present, but not all of L Pod was there.  They headed north past Kellett bluff around 2-3pm.  Hope they come back down tomorrow when it's daylight!
John Boyd

November 28
Just an awesome day on the water with all of J Pod, K Pod and over half of L Pod. On the way in I picked up a Humpback in Saanich Inlet who breached twice while I was just getting on scene unfortunately my camera wasn't out... But after the breach it cartwheeled and was tail lobbing. This Humpback has been in the inlet for over 2 weeks now!
Simon Pidcock
J Pod, K Pod and over half of L Pod in Haro Strait.
Photo by Simon Pidcock, November 28, 2013.

J Pod, K Pod and over half of L Pod in Haro Strait.
Photo by Simon Pidcock, November 28, 2013.

J Pod, K Pod and over half of L Pod in Haro Strait.
Photo by Simon Pidcock, November 28, 2013.

Better than SeaWorld on so many levels - a pair of wild orcas breach in synchrony this morning off Lime Kiln Point State Park.
Photo by Monika Wieland, November 28, 2013.
Still feeling the high of a superpod - nothing like a whale fix to lift the spirits! Here's K20 Spock and K44 Ripple.
Photo by Monika Wieland, November 28, 2013.
I wasn't expecting Granny for Thanksgiving! J2 off Lime Kiln Point State Park.
Photo by Monika Wieland, November 28, 2013.

Best. Thanksgiving. Ever. Superpod at Lime Kiln! The rocks at the bottom show you how close to shore they were.
Photo by Monika Wieland, November 28, 2013.
Happy Thanksgiving SRKW. What a great way to kick-off the festivities! Quick pic from San Juan County Park.
Photo by Nishan DeSilva, November 28, 2013.

Transients (Bigg's whales)
T123A east bound in the Juan de Fuca Strait.
Photo by Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales, November 29, 2013.

Coastal Orcas
November 27
About noon I observed three killer whales swimming around the bouy at the NW corner of Mendocino Bay. 39.19 N They were hunting for sea lions
They made a lot of splashes and spouted regularly. After about 20 minutes they swam south (toward Pt Arena).
Alan Stein
Humpback whales
December 1
Humpback spotted in Saanich Inlet this morning, Sunday, at 10:30 am. Must be the same one we saw the other day. We have lived here 5 years now and have never seen this many sightings before
Karen Gray

November 29
Humpback spotted in Saanich Inlet at 1:30pm.
Karen Gray
Orca Network is a 501 c3 nonprofit organization, dedicated to raising awareness about the whales of the Pacific Northwest, and the importance of providing them healthy and safe habitats.

Orca Network's Whale Sighting Network involves citizens in helping researchers track the movement of whales, and encourages people to observe whales from their homes, businesses, ferries, and beaches.
Whale reports are sent in to our Sighting Network and emailed out to researchers, agencies, and citizens on our network, and posted on our website (MAP of sightings also on website). Whale reports and observations are sent in by a variety of sources, and Orca Network does not guarantee the accuracy of any report or whale identification.


TO REPORT WHALES, CALL: 1-866-ORCANET (1-866-672-2638), email, or post sightings on our Orca Network Facebook page.



 "The new rules prohibit vessels from approaching any killer whale closer than 200 yards and forbid vessels from intercepting a whale or positioning the vessel in its path. This doubles the current approach distance of 100 yards. The rules go into effect May 16 and apply to all types of boats, including motor boats, sail boats and kayaks, in Washington"


For more information on the new Federal Regulations, visit the NOAA Fisheries website


To report harassment of whales in US waters
, call NOAA Enforcement: 1-800-853-1964;

In Canadian waters, call DFO's Observe Record and Report (ORR) Violations Hotline: 1-800- 465-4336

Report the boat name &/or a description of the boat, & get photos if at all possible.