Orca Network 

Whale Sighting Report  

In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Photo of the Day
Transients (Bigg's whales)
Southern Resident orcas
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The Lost Whale, by Michael Parfit and Suzanne Chisolm  
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Lost Whale book...ver scaled  

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Orcas in Our Midst,

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Death at SeaWorld, by David Kirby 


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December 10, 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.
Some or all of K pod came into the Salish Sea past Victoria on Dec. 6, and showed up in Puget Sound the next morning near the Edmonds/Kingston ferry lane. They moved south to Seattle by sunset, and showed up again the next morning, December 8, off Kingston again, this time heading north. Few photos were possible, so not many IDs could be made, but enough to know they at least included K pod, which were heard on the Lime Kiln hydrophones and seen the next morning moving further north up Haro Strait.

Today was a T day, with transients/Bigg's whales seen in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and San Juan Channel, the latter group totaling about 12 whales off Point Caution on the north side of San Juan Island before noon, then about 8 of those going southeast around San Juan Island and out Cattle Pass in the afternoon.

Tomorrow afternoon, December 11, Michael Parfit and Suzanne Chisolm, producers of Saving Luna andThe Whale, will be at The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm to talk about Luna and sign their new book The Lost Whale.

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Photo of the Day
Some of a group of eight Ts from shore today as they headed south out of Cattle Pass at about 1515.
Photo by David Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research, December 10, 2013.

Transients (Bigg's whales)
December 10
Jeanne Hyde and I photographed a group of eight Ts from shore today as they headed south out of Cattle Pass at about 1515.  We saw T35A, T35A1, T35A2, T38A, T75, T75A, T75B, and T75C and they blew by us in one series of surfacings.  Ivan Reiff, who had been out on this group earlier and helped us find them, also reported seeing another group consisting of the rest of the T38s and T35 but they disappeared.  
Dave Ellifrit
Transient Orcas in front of our office (red building).
Photo by Ivan Reiff, Western Prince Whale Watching & Wildlife Tours, December 10, 2013.

A Transient Orcas looks around.
Photo by Ivan Reiff, Western Prince Whale Watching & Wildlife Tours, December 10, 2013.

A Transient Orcas pivots into a cartwheel.
Photo by Ivan Reiff, Western Prince Whale Watching & Wildlife Tours, December 10, 2013.

Transient Orcas heading south in San Juan Channel.
Photo by Ivan Reiff, Western Prince Whale Watching & Wildlife Tours, December 10, 2013.

December 10
Thanks to Captain Hobbes for calling me today about whales in front of his house in San Juan Channel. I hurried down to the marina, hopped on the boat and had a lucky winter encounter right in front of Friday Harbor!  
Captain Ivan Reiff

December 10
Loads of transients out there today with numerous reports.
Report 1: Transients off San Juan Island - two groups were sighted this morning.
Report 2: VMSA Researcher Russ Nicks was off Sooke BC and spotted a lone transient off Beachy head heading towards Victoria at 3:00PM. I am pretty sure from the description it is T103.
Report 3: San Juan Island whale watching and wildlife tours found about 12 transients off Point Caution. T075As were in the large group of Ts off Point Caution.
Josh McInnes, University of Victoria

December 10
11:55 - Maia of WA State Ferries called to relay a report of 3 orcas seen in San Juan Channel near Point Caution, between San Juan and Shaw Islands, just north of Friday harbor.

December 8
We just had one report from this morning, 9 am heading north past Pt. Defiance - it was posted in a thread of reports of the other orcas heading north and Alisa just found it a short time ago - no other reports since.
Orca Network

December 5
On the afternoon of  December 5th I headed out with a group of adventurers after clearing the morning snow off the seats and we followed up a report of killer whales spotted near Speiden Island. We came across  2 groups of Transients in Boundary Pass. Many of them were the same individuals we had on December 2nd along with the T185's traveling
close by.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales

December 5
The snow started falling gently at about 9 am, and with no reports of whale activity and limited visibility Skipper Mark hustled out past the breakwater in the afternoon. He headed north towards Boundary Pass. After just over an hour of searching Mark found a massive group of transient killer whales. Usually these mammal eating whales are in small family groups of 2-5, but sometimes several groups join together. The group Mark found had 15, including the T185s, T75Bs. T38s and the T35s.
Prince of Whales Whale Watching

December 5
Many orcas came through Active Pass, BC heading south.
Mary Greenwood
Note: no IDs are available for this sighting

December 4
I was out swimming at around 2 p.m. off Sunset Dr. (Salt Spring Island, B.C.) when a pod of 5 orcas swam through just off Idol Island. They were headed north through Samsun Narrows! What a great experience!
Maureen Phelan

A couple of the transients I saw from the Dec 4th BC Ferry trip. There were 3-4 of them just outside Active Pass and into the strait around 2PM.
Photo by Tim Green, December 4, 2013.

Southern Resident orcas
December 9
11 am -
WA State Ferries reports a pod of approx. 12 orcas in Haro Strait off Speiden Island, heading north.

December 9
After being alerted by Giles that orcas could be heard on the Lime Kiln hydrophones, we went out to find them. Sounded like residents on the hydrophones. At about 10:30 am we found them about 3 miles offshore of County Park in Haro Strait. The leaders were approaching the Kelp Reefs marker. We saw two groups of at least 6 orcas each surfacing about a mile apart, with an adult male between them, about 1/2 mile from each group. Then both groups disappeared, with only 2 males surfacing together. Next, the 2 males disappeared. It was cold, so we left. There could have been 20 plus orcas. They likely are the orcas spotted by the ferry in Haro near Speiden Island at 11 am.
Sharon Grace

December 9
SRKWs on OrcaSound @ 10:00 am. Sounds like a lot of them!
Gayle Swigart

December 8
Sunday dawned cold and bright, becoming even brighter when the Southern Resident orcas passed Point No Point and headed north up Admiralty Inlet past Whidbey Island. Grace and power merged as they broke the surface breaching, tail-slapping and spy-hopping. Some traveled alone, others in pairs or trios, some grouped together in a spectacular display of family unity, dorsals glinting, vapor from their blows backlit by sunlight as they maintained a steady pace cutting through the quiet water. What a treat on a frosty winter's day!
Sandy Pollard

December 8
At 1:30 pm we saw approx 10 orca in Juan De Fuca traveling east toward Victoria? We were at Point No Point on Vancouver Island.
Jana Johnson
Note: no IDs are available for this sighting.

December 8
Faint vocals on Lime Kiln at 22:14. Ship noise is fading so hopefully will get better quality and find out who they are!
John Boyd

December 8
10:14 p.m. - The K pod calls are still on the Lime Kiln hydrophone now that the ship noise has diminished.
9:32 p.m. - K pod calls are audible on the Lime Kiln hydrophone!
Meg McDonald, Wild Northwest Beauty Photography

December 8
9:04 Pacific - Vocalizations at Lime Kiln. Unidentified chatter faint beginning at Lime Kiln.
Suzy Roebling, Key Largo FL

December 8
3:20 - Watching them from ebeys landing now!
Jeff Arbuckle

December 8
2:52 - north of Port Townsend ferry lane now. Mid channel.
Rachel Haight

December 8
Orca updates - Kit Turner called at 2:20 pm reporting one male orca a little north of Lagoon Pt., heading NW; at 2:30 pm we got reports from Sandra Pollard & Dick Snowberger that they were seeing the orcas from Ft. Casey, and Bonnie Gretz called at 2:30 pm to say she was seeing at least 4 orcas from Ft. Casey, heading NW. There is a ship anchored between Admiralty Head & Pt. Townsend laying cable, we have alerted the CG who has relayed the orca reports to the ship to make sure their project will not impact the orcas.

December 8
Happy me....7-9 Orcas off Ft. Casey between 2:15 and 3:15 p.m, heading north. Nice smooth water, saw a breach, some spy hops, tail slaps...and even heard their blows, faintly, as they were in mid-channel between Ft. Casey and Pt. Townsend....and not nearly as cold as yesterday, though I was layered up!!!! Big Orca smiles!!
Bonnie Gretz

December 8
Today, from approximately 1400-1445, I watched a pod of 6 or seven orcas traveling quite steadily from near the boat ramp at the Coupeville ferry slip, and later, from near the lighthouse at Ft. Casey State Park, as they moved from the north end of Marrowstone Island, moving northward until I could no longer view them, southwest of Ebey's Landing. There was at least one young animal in the group.
Martin Whittaker

December 8
They went past south end of Marrowstone Island at about 1 p.m.
Bob Triggs

December 8
We watched the orcas from about 12:30 - 1:15 pm as they continued west toward Bush Pt. They were out too far for IDs, but hopefully we'll have a photo or two, some of the last groups to go by were coming closer to the Whidbey side. We counted a minimum of 15 orcas, likely closer to 20, with at least 2 adult males.
Orca Network
With the Olympic Range as backdrop, those specs are Southern Residents heading north past Bush Point, up Admiralty Inlet.
Photo by Susan Berta, December 8, 2013.
So. Residents traveling north up Admiralty Inlet.
Photo by Howard Garrett, December 8, 2013.

From Point No Point. The distortion and quality make me cringe but it's a wild orca and any morning spent in the company of wild whales is a good morning.
Photo by Sara Hysong-Shimazu, December 8, 2013.

December 8
10:49 - I see blows south of point no point, but can't see much else because of the water distortion.
Connie Bickerton

December 8
10:35 - from atop bluff in north Edmonds I can see (barely) fins and blows at about Eglon still northbound.
10:00 - have resighted some still northbound, west of mid channel still south of Eglon. Earlier spotted at least a dozen blows. At 9:30 they stalled and started lunge feeding.
9:20 - can see them out from Edmonds due west still moving steadily north.
Alisa Lemire Brooks

December 8
9:08 - Large amount of orcas heading north right now. Just passed Kingston. They are in shipping lanes. At least 8. Appears to be at least one very young one. Probably same ones we saw heading south yesterday.
Ben Abrahamsen

December 7
A most wonderful, frigid, adrenaline rush tells of a dream, some might say an obsession, fulfilled. Kathleen Bean sees orcas from Golden Gardens Park in Seattle, and takes some gorgeous photos.

December 7
About 3:30 this Saturday afternoon, there were a number of orcas spread widely between Seahurst (Burien) and Vashon Island. They were moving south bound. Dorsal fins and blows.
Tom Benedict
Off Alki. This was my first time seeing them. Absolutely incredible!
Photo by Barbara Bonner, December 7, 2013.

K34 Cali (born 2001) passing Dilworth, Vashon Island, today. The rest of Cali's family was beyond that waterline, close to Three Tree Point, as they passed Dilworth. Thanks to Melisa Pinnow for confirming Cali's ID!
Photo by Meg McDonald, Wild Northwest Beauty Photography, December 7, 2013.

They got unusually close to West Seattle, where there were happy crowds (human) at both Lowman Beach and Lincoln Park. I never saw more than about 5-6 orcas at once.
Photo by Trileigh Tucker, December 7, 2013.

Passing close to West Seattle.
Photo by Trileigh Tucker, December 7, 2013.

December 7
2:45 - upwards of 6 just south of Lincoln Park by the Vashon ferry.
Michelle Jensen Rau

December 7
2:38 - Orcas off the port bow on Fauntleroy ferry going south
Noelle Morris

December 7
2:20pm - Numerous, active orcas spotted from the ferry Issaquah leaving Fauntleroy; heading south!
Karen Davis Smith

December 7
1:47 - Lots of southbound orcas between West Seattle and Blake Island right now!
Stephanie Raymond

December 7
1:30 - I happened to be at the whale view walk (go figure!) south of the aki lighthouse near alki beach in west seattle and at least four orcas passed by there apparently heading towards Vashon Island. I couldn't estimate the number but presumably it was the same pod your reports indicate was in Ballard a few days ago. I didn't have a good zoom lens but took a few pictures that I'm attaching. The time is approximate. I have a couple more photos, although all of the same quality from a distance.
vinay krishnaswamy

December 7
12:31 - They're directly west of the magnolia bluff... Saw fins and water spouts... About mid channel.
Brad Johnsen

December 7
12:43 - They are still north of the ferry lanes mid channel heading south. I'm watching from creosote on Bainbridge.
Connie Bickerton

December 7
11:10 - Pod sighted this AM near Meadow Point off Golden Gardens. About 6 near Shilshole Marina. Moving Southward.
Walt & Nan Spady

December 7
11:07 - They were just off north beach neighborhood a few minutes ago...definitely heading south by golden gardens.
Robin Reinhart Harnish

Southern Resident killer whales Puget Sound: Dec 7, 2013
Southern Resident killer whales Puget Sound
Video by Alisa Lemire Brooks, Dec 7, 2013
Short video of K pod (and possibly others) traveling southbound through Puget Sound. Most of the video is from Golden Gardens/Shilshole Marina (Seattle) where 2 of the adult males and a few females swam and foraged near the buoy just out from the point. An icy-frigid beautiful Northwest day with the whales. Enjoy.
Alisa Lemire Brooks
Cropped perspective of K pod male orca closing in on lucky sailors.
Photo by Alisa Lemire Brooks, December 7, 2013.

December 7
1:15 - leaving still seeing them steadily southbound spread out the channel off Restorration Point/Alki.
12:48 - mid channel tho spread out, steady southbound out from Eagle Harbor/Elliot Bay approaching ferry lanes. I am on Magnolia Bluff they are south of me. So pretty.
11:54 - leaders passing West Point/Discovery Park...others spread out foraging mid channel between WP/DP and Shilshole still trending southbound.
11:01 - there's at least a dozen, many passing Golden Gardens with others approaching.
10:45 - saw first big boy from Golden they come out from green buoy off the point.
10:15 - lead orcas nearing Carkeek.
10:12 - Residents for sure..spread out mid and east of mid channel in small groups. at least a dozen, including 2 adult males,  passing Richmond Beach southbound.
9:50 - Saw 1 fin north of Richmond Beach Park. Looking to see if others are trailing.
Alisa Lemire Brooks

December 7
10:16 - Okay so I have at least 6 that are headed southbound just past Richmond beach (Shoreline) now.
10:03 - I have them right now straight out from Richmond beach.
Jamie Grundhauser
Orcas heading south past Richmond Beach.
Photo by Jamie Grundhauser, December 7, 2013.

Orcas heading south past Richmond Beach.
Photo by Jamie Grundhauser, December 7, 2013.

December 7
9:44 - Definitely two Orca off Pt. Edwards now. No idea if they are same or different ones than the blows we saw about 10 mins ago.
9:32 - Blows off Pt. Edwards in Edmonds. Only saw blows....nothing else...heading South...looked like only one.
Dave Golner

December 7
9:30 - It was pretty amazing. We were stopped a ways out from the dock waiting for the other ferry to leave and they swam real close. One was only about 50 yards off our stern. It was best view I had of them in long time.
9:01 - There is at least 5 orcas right now heading south right in front of Edmonds ferry dock.
Ben Abrahamsen
K25 south of Oak Bay.
Photo by Mark Malleson, taken under permit # MML001, December 6, 2013.

December 6

I went out on the morning of December 6th to confirm which killer whales were spotted from shore south of Trial Island. I came across the K13's northeast bound south of Oak Bay and could see several more animals to the south but conditions wouldn't allow me to get any other ID's.  Thanks to George and Gord for initially spotting them.
Mark Malleson
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 "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.