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In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Photo of the Day
Southern Resident orcas
Bigg's whales (transients).
Coastal orcas
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 

   DeathatSeaWorld


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

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January 3, 2014

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.
Many folks along miles of beaches and bluffs have enjoyed two full days with orcas in Puget Sound and Admiralty Inlet for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. J and K pods even partied with the revelers on boats in Elliot Bay just before midnight Dec. 31. Hazy gray skies diffused the lighting on the 30-40 orcas, spread from shore to shore on glassy water from Admiralty Inlet to Elliott Bay, then back up Admiralty the next day, spread out for miles, scanning every nook and cranny in the canyons beneath the waves, in ones and twos and small groups, foraging, cartwheeling, tail-lobbing, surfing, and occasionally just logging.

Only a few Bigg's/Transient whales have been seen lately, but don't miss the Coastal Orca reports below to hear about some unusual action out in the Pacific.

There are still seats for the 2014 Ways of Whales Workshop in Coupeville, Whidbey Island, on January 25. You can register for Ways of Whales HERE.
Photo of the Day
Watching J and K pods heading north up Admiralty Inlet from Point No Point.
Photo by Connie Bickerton, January 1, 2014.

Southern Resident orcas
January 3rd, 2014 by Chris Dunagan

Killer whale researchers are using satellites to track the movements of J pod this year, as part of an ongoing effort to understand where Puget Sound's orcas travel in winter.

The day after Christmas, a satellite transmitter was attached to L-87, a 22-year-old male. The whale, named "Onyx," has been traveling with J pod for at least three years.

Researchers caught up with the pod Dec. 26 in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where the satellite tag was attached by shooting a dart into L-87's dorsal fin.

The track of L87 and J pod from December 26, 2013 to January 1, 2014.

January 1

Still hearing orcas at 9:46. Ship noise drowning out sound at 9:47.
Micki Pacific

January 1
At 9:45 hearing some calls.

January 1
At 9:34, I'm hearing lots of clicking and a few calls.
Shelby Tilden

January 1
9:26 - I can hear them! That's amazing!!
Melissa A. Smith-Janicek

January 1
9:10 pm - Sounds like the Southern Residents have reached San Juan Island - you can hear them on the Lime Kiln hydrophones right now! - what a wonderful day they gave so many of us in the Salish Sea~
Orca Network

January 1
8:50 - OK, for sure hearing calls again on Lime Kiln.
Pam Ren

January 1
7:36 pm - Some calls on LK hydrophone...
Vickie Doyle

January 1
5:08 - Just left Point Wilson after waving goodbye to at least 25 whales. Happy new year!
Chrissy McLean

January 1
4:30 - from Ebey's Landing been watching them stream out of Admiralty with what I believe to be tailenders just passing, quietly into the night. Such a Happy New Year with Resident orcas and many whale loving humans.
3:30 - Whales are bunching up as they approach Port Townsend. Many breaches, cartwheels, tail lobs ..getting really close to whwhere hydrophone is.
3:15 - from Ft Casey ...Keystone/PT Townsend ferry has stopped, orcas on either side
Alisa Lemire Brooks

4:16 PM - Orca sighting from Coupeville-Pt. Townsend ferry; pod heading north.
Photo by Tom Moench, January 1, 2014.

January 1
Watching them from the beach in Pt Townsend. Ferry goers got a good view.
Tom Stephens

January 1
Just spent 4 1/2 hours at Ft. Casey, waiting for the whales, then watching a lovely group (10-12+?) finally group up and meander by Ft. Flagler, in front of the ferry (it had to stop), and past Pt. Townsend...they were very slow, zig-zagging back and forth at the south end of Marrowstone....a few nice views of a big male right in front of beautiful Mt. Rainer....quite a few breaches, tail slaps, etc....very lovely, but a long day....saved from starving with a granola bar from Alisa Lemire Brooks...thanks!!! A big crowd of orca-holics there, and a few people who were having their very first encounter! Also heard there was a protest at the Rose Parade by the SeaWorld float....good!!! NOAA boat on scene all day as well.
Bonnie Gretz

January 1
4:00 pm - faint calls on PT hydrophone.
Susan Marie Andersson

January 1
Saw them from Fort Casey, what a great way to start the new year.
Canda Lepage

January 1
What a beautiful day out there! and best was to share with awesome orca peeps...saw everything, tail slapping, breaching, foraging, logging, ok, no didn't see spy hopping and surfing! totally orca blessed! Happy Orca New Year.
Marilyn Armbruster

January 1
3:43 - This is the first time I have ever seen them where they belong in the wild. SO COOL!!!
Tom Stephens

January 1
Just passing the ferry lane between Coupeville and Pt. Townsend between 3 and 3:30. Ferry was stopped out there with whales on both sides. They put on quite a show! We watched at bush point, lagoon pt and from fort Casey! Great whale watching day!
Kari Habeck

January 1
It was an amazing afternoon watching orcas from east side of marrowstone and from fort flagler with lots of other watchers. we saw one spy-hop and a few breaches. I jumped up and down like a giddy boy when I saw the breaches! you may have heard me screaming and hollering all the way over at bush point. what a GLORIOUS treat to see them on this first day of 2014!
Shane Farnor

January 1
Spent the day on Marrowstone ...lots of Orcas.
Jennifer Backen Matchem

January 1
2:30pm - Leaving Fort Flagler but whales still slowly moving north past the light house mid channel. Some foraging. NOAA with them.
Sara Hysong-Shimazu

January 1
Ft Flagler 2:30 - looks like they have finally all headed north of us. Very slow, leisurely travel with lots of foraging behavior. Hope they are getting lots to eat. Jamie said urgently - what was that? Turn around! We turned, and there in my Binoculars were three black dorsals, and their blows. It was the most beautiful day, as I spent it watching them leisurely travel north, first from Point No Point, then all afternoon from Fort Flagler with friends on both side of the sound. I was once again reminded what a special place this is, and it's our responsibility to keep it that way. No one else is going to do it - WE have to do it.
Connie Bickerton

They traveled in ones and twos.
Photo by Howard Garrett, January 1, 2013.

They surfed on the wakes of ships.
Photo by Howard Garrett, January 1, 2013.

Sometimes they just stopped and logged for a while.
Photo by Howard Garrett, January 1, 2013.

They slapped their flukes on the water with a loud crack.
Photo by Howard Garrett, January 1, 2013.

The meandered slowly but steadily northward.
Photo by Howard Garrett, January 1, 2013.

They chased salmon around in circles.
Photo by Howard Garrett, January 1, 2013.

They cartwheeled high in the air.
Photo by Howard Garrett, January 1, 2013.
Before leaving Admiralty Inlet they delighted passengers on the Port Townsend ferry.
Photo by Howard Garrett, January 1, 2013.


January 1
2:17 - Yep, also hearing very faint calls on PT hydrophone.
Mike Russell

January 1
1:40 pm, it looks like all the whales are past Lagoon Pt and Marrowstone pt, still spread out across the Inlet and slowly heading out while they forage.
Orca Network

We ended our 'encounter' watching a huge farewell breach as the whales disappeared towards the hazy horizon.
Photo by Sandra Pollard, January 1, 2014.

January 1
New Year's Day - what a start to the New Year! J and K pods in Admiralty Inlet ALL day, mostly well spread out, grouping up occasionally. With Howie Garrett on board, they kept us guessing as they headed slowly north, sometimes milling, sometimes turning back south, frequently zig-zagging across the glassy water of the shipping lanes. Passengers on board the Port Townsend ferry enjoyed a rare treat with spy-hops, breaches, cart-wheels, tail-slaps, a little logging and a spot of surfing. We heard some 'raspberry' blowing among surface chitter-chatter. Wishing our precious Southern Residents safe passage through the months ahead.
Sandra Pollard

Orca watchers lined up along the bluff at Fort Flagler State Park. What a great new year treat for many people!
Photo by Shane Farnor, January 1, 2014.

January 1
1:09 - Andrea called from Lagoon Point to report four orcas heading north in Admiralty Inlet.

January 1
Quite a nice gathering at Fort Casey. They are headed our way finally!!!
Jamie Grundhauser

January 1
On our boat off Foulweather Bluff and passed about 6-8 Orcas heading north to Admiralty Inlet. Males were on the wings and females and at least one young one in the center.
Donald J. Leu, Ph.D.

January 1
10 am - I have fins at double bluff!
Elyse Sollitto

January 1
9:33 - We are seeing them from Pt No Pt. Spread out, breaching, and other activity. In front of useless bay!
Connie Bickerton

January 1
9:20 - Brad Hanson reports L87 is in Possession Sound between the south end of Whidbey Island and Point No Point this morning, probably heading up Admiralty Inlet.

December 31
New years eve 23.30 to 23.45 in Elliott bay just NW of pier 70, a pod of at least 4 Orcas swam along with the sail boat as we navigated through the party boats. We had opted to sail in the light wind while waiting for the fireworks. They appeared and seemed to follow around the boat as we transitioned through the party boats till we reached clear(er) water. Then we saw them no more. They appeared to be swimming calmly around us as we traveled at about 3 knots. We saw 4 fins at one time, but the pod was probably larger than that. We saw several tale flukes and heads. They seemed calm. Their accompaniment lasted about 15 min. We gave notice to the other mariners of their presence on Marine VHF Ch 16.
Brian Scally

December 31
Rebecca Sherwood reported being visited by 8-10 orcas in Elliot Bay while aboard their boat for New Years Eve celebrations last night at 11:30pm. She reports they saw the pod leaving them heading to the north. Everyone keep your eyes on the water and let us know if you catch sight of the whales. Fog has lifted in some areas revealing a beautiful New Years day.

December 31
New Year's Eve Orcas. The 11:35 p.m. sailing from Bainbridge to Seattle was filled with New Year's revelers and slowed for much of the sailing for orcas reported in the area. One passenger I spoke to saw at least 3 fins. A great way to end 2013.
Cathy Warner

December 31
I too was on a boat in Elliott bay last night. Right at midnight an entire pod started swimming around us. It was the best way I could have imagined to ring in the new year!
Michelle Walker

December 31
4:55 - in waning light (after a day of office work) I am watching dorsals of at least a dozen of them spread out west side of mid channel south and north of Baindridge/Seattle ferry lanes.
Alisa Lemire Brooks

December 31
About 8 orcas came up all around the Bainbridge ferry at about 4:50.
Rachel Haight

December 31
More Orcas off president point at 4:50-pm heading south, close in, at least three.
Joanne Graves

December 31
4:40 - The Orcas are in Elliot Bay. My husband is saw them just now from the 4:40 pm Seattle/Bainbrige Ferry.
Kari Wright

December 31
4:32 - Watching from Manitou Beach on Bainhbridge, looking towards ferry lane, several spread out, Seattle side...
Kimberly Sylvester-Malzahn

December 31
4:26 at West Point: whales took over an hour to pass southbound, very spread out and far from the point.
Meg McDonald WildNorthwestBeautyPhotography

December 31
4:22 - I just heard one and saw it as it passed heading south heading towards Jefferson Head near Pres. point Road.
Julia Miller

December 31
3:50. Making their way south. Kitsap side, lead orca just south of Rolling Bay.
Susan Marie Andersson

December 31
NOAA researcher Brad Hanson saw only K pod today, but they were so spread out so there were many others he didn't see. They left them about 3:30 near Shilshole.

December 31
3:25pm - still at Fay Bainbridge seeing single whales far across on east side of the channel every once in a while.
Sara Hysong-Shimazu

December 31
3:23 - My friend just posted on FB that she is watching the orcas from the Edmonds Ferry!!
Sara Young

December 31
3:20 pm - 3 orca mid channel off of Pt Edwards in Edmonds. Heading south at a leisurely pace.
Dave Golner

December 31
2:53 - I am in north beach and they're straight west from me. Across the shopping lane by the shore of bainbridge. Still close to the small boat. Looks like at least 5.
Robin Reinhart Harnish

December 31
2:52 - the docked Kingston ferry. 2 headed south now.
Megan Campbell-Miller

December 31
2:45 - straight out from Faye Bainbridge can see 1-2 very distant blows close to NOAA.
Valorie Clausen

December 31
2:46pm - one female off Richmond Beach Park almost mid channel. Southbound.
Jack Nolan

December 31
2:22 - Seeing fins across the channel from Carkeek Park!!
Marina Halverson

December 31
2:05 - At Edmonds ferry dock. Just saw full breach about mid channel straight out from dock.
Chris Allen

December 31
2:00 - Beautiful full breach from the male. It looks like one male and a few smaller females over by the RIB (red inflatable boat) closer to the Kingston side, just south of the mid-channel buoy. There are a hand full of females further to the east. They are all still moving south but very slowly.
1:46 - The Kingston ferry just slowed down to a crawl. Looks like everyone on board is outside on the bow watching the orcas. The orca's are just south of the Ferry closer to the Edmonds side.
Hays Clark

December 31
1:59 - The whales are now past President Point on the Seattle side of the channel marker.
Connie Graves

Spock K20 and son Comet K38 were two of the orcas right by the 1:30 Kingston ferry.
Photo by Rachel Haight, December 31, 2013.

December 31
1:43 - They're still north of golden gardens. Right in the Kingston/Edmonds ferry lane currently.
Jennifer Greiner Clark

December 31
1:40 - Visible from President Pt., mid channel and heading south.
Connie Graves

December 31
1:40 - They are mid channel, still north of the channel marker. They might be going deep or just chasing prey underwater for longer periods. There is a a RIB zipping around near them.
Hays Clark

December 31
Drove on to the 1:30pm Kingston ferry today to see if I could catch up with the whales heading south....the ferry slowed to almost a stop and we watched 4-6 different orcas travel through the ferry lanes....what a wonderful day. Happy New Year!
Sue Surowiec Larkin
From the Kingston ferry as So. Resident orcas travel south.
Photo by Sue Surowiec Larkin, December 31, 2013.

L87 Onyx breaching from Pt. No Point at 1:10pm. You can see the tag is still on too.
Photo by Sara Hysazu Shimazu, December 31, 2013.

Onyx (L87) at Pt. No Point this afternoon, 1:10pm. He's been spoiling us lately by giving us some great close passes!
Photo by Sara Hysong-Shimazu, December 31, 2013.

December 31
1:06 - we spotted the pod about ~8 miles North of Golden Gardens mid channel around the ferry lanes still heading South. There are two powerboat near the whales, hopefully on is a research boat.
Hays Clark

December 31
12:45 - seeing whales from pt Edwards in Edmonds. Going south. Boat with them.
Whitney Neugebauer
Large group of Orcas swam by Point No Point, Hansville around 12 noon. Happy New Year!!!
Photo by Michelle LeMieux Hall, December 31, 2013.
Orcas at Point No Point, Hansville, around noon.
Photo by Michelle LeMieux Hall, December 31, 2013.

3 Orcas east of mid channel by Edmonds started heading west side by Kingston, giving the Kingston ferry and a charter boat a show! Taken from Marina Beach in Edmonds.
Photo by Janine Harles, December 31, 2013.

3 Orcas east of mid channel by Edmonds from Marina Beach in Edmonds.
Photo by Janine Harles, December 31, 2013.

3 Orcas east of mid channel by Edmonds.
Photo by Janine Harles, December 31, 2013.

December 31
12:38 - all have passed point no point heading south. They are very spread out taking about an hour to all pass. Onyx came in close and put on a show, breaching right in front of us. The big male that was trailing was Blackberry and he came in pretty close too. Yay Orcas!!!!
Connie Bickerton

December 31
11:35 - Starting to see blows and fins north still towards Hansville/Skunk Bay. From Pt No Point.
Sara Hysong-Shimazu

December 31
11:15 - Nicole Luce called, watching the leading whales near Hansville, watching from Double Bluff.

December 31
11:10 am, looks like a small group has stopped to forage just nw of Haysville and Skunk Bay, just south of the buoy.
Orca Network

December 31
11AM - mid channel mutiny bay still heading south...they are staying submerged for a long time...?
Jim Barrett

December 31
And again, at about 11:45, when we were SURE they had all passed, I saw a big male fairly close to the Whidbey side. But we both looked for the last 15 - 20 minutes and have not seen another side of him - he must have gone into "Stealth whale" as Mike & Suzanne used to say of Luna. But he's out there somewhere, should be between Mutiny Bay & Foulweather Bluff by now, or maybe a bit south.
11 am - just as we thought they had all passed by, another group just showed up off south Bush Pt, with another male and several females so far. Saw a neat line up with a breaching whale on one end of it earlier, wonderful whale watching today, most close enough to hear.
Also saw two pods of porpoise traveling NW close to shore, just south of Bush Pt.
Orca Network

December 31
10:50 - Close to N side of Mutiny Bay now heading south.
Jim Barrett

December 31
10:41 - We saw the whales from Bush Point, there was a group very close to shore, spread out in small groups! Our family was able to get some video! I was going NUTS!!! I have been watching and listening for three days waiting for them!!!!!! Happy New Year!
Sherry Joyner

An orca passes close to Bush Point while another breaches.
Photo by Gregory Roeben, December 31, 2013.

December 31
Several Orcas (group of 3 & 4-5 dispersed) heading south into Puget Sound sighted off Bush Point around 10:40 am.
Jody Burns

December 31
Sandra Pollard called at 10:15 am to report seeing 3 from the Bush Pt. area, the whales were over toward Marrowstone Island. Howard also just saw one from our bluff at about 10:18, just south of Bush Pt. - all whales heading south.

December 31
10:03 - Orcas straight it from lagoon point headed south.
Na´na Barnett

December 31
9:30 - Small group of orcas including a male or two, really spread out in Admiralty Inlet! Heading south.
Renee Ramirez, Victoria Clipper

December 31
Saw the stragglers heading south past Lagoon Point at about 0915.
Bob VonDrachek

December 31
Multiple groups of orcas in Admiralty inlet 8:30 am. including a huge male. At least 15.
Capt Dave Drewry

December 31
8:22 - WA State Ferries called to report about 20 orcas spread out in the Port Townsend/Keystone ferry lane, just milling, no direction of travel was obvious, but Lagoon Point and Bush Point folks please check out the water this morning.

December 30
A buddy who is a floatplane pilot saw them between Porlier and Sandheads... We picked them up about 1.5 miles NW of Active Pass. Got to see J and K pod go south through Active Pass for the first time in 12 years. I have seen L Pod do it a couple of times but have NEVER had J's and K's do it. So awesome and super active when they exited into Swanson.
Simon Pidcock
Bigg's whales (transients)
January 3
Spotted two (orcas) between Manette and Port Orchard (south Puget Sound) this morning, heading out of Sinclair Inlet. (We have a couple of reefs here that they seem to like a lot.) Bye, guys! Visit again soon!
L Michelle Gardner

January 1

3:06 - Saw three of them pass our house in Hale Passage (south Puget Sound) across from Fox Island!
Anita Asmussen

January 1
A Pod just passed Toy Point/Fox Island fishing pier at 12:30 headed north but lingering between Fox Island and the (Tacoma) Narrows Bridges.
Glenn Hansen

January 1
Orcas were out in front of the Ferry dock this a.m. Those on the 10:30 boat saw them as did the crew of the Pierce County Ferry between Anderson Island and Steilacoom WA this morning.
Bob Lyden
In Hale Passage across from Fox Island.
Photo by Peter French, January 1, 2013.

December 31
7:29 Bigg's (Transients) calls on Lime Kiln Hydrophones.
Orca Network

T087 and the T090's near Discovery Island traveling north up Haro Strait.
Photo by Mark Malleson, December 30, 2013.

Coastal orcas
January 2
Orcas, along with gray whales and other whales and dolphins, have been everywhere off Southern California in recent days, as told in this highly informative article:

Killer Season: Record numbers of gray whales, orcas arrive in South Bay waters
This holiday season, whale researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger got precisely what she wished for. On Dec. 23, the sun was shining on the South Bay, and the beaches were crowded with people enjoying a mid-winter wave of summer heat. Aboard a boat off the shore of Redondo Beach, Schulman-Janiger was experiencing a moment most humans never will. Looming large, its body upright and arising from the ocean's surface, a female orca peered into her eyes. The encounter was, for Schulman-Janiger, a gift of the most extraordinary kind.

January 1

I'm a commercial fisherman in Northern California and we recently video taped a pod of Orca Whales attacking two Blue Whales in shallow water and presumably a calf as well. If you would like footage of this please respond. The footage is not great and was filmed with a cell phone at a distance, but imagine you can zoom in and possibly identify some of the whales in the video.

Gary Ogle 


December 29
Orca disguised as driftwood.
December 29, 2013, I was sitting by the window at Fely's Restaurant at Sportshaven Beach, Brookings-Harbor, Oregon 97415. The ocean there was calm, with swells, maybe around 4 ft., some sets of larger 6 ft. swells. I was watching what seemed to be a driftwood log that always stayed in the part of the wave that rises up high just before it breaks. It was drifting SE in line with the beach. I wondered if that was really driftwood because some of it projecting out of the water seemed to move slightly. It featured something like a knobby thing sticking up a bit in front, a much higher curving backwards fin shape on top, and some funny looking things sticking up a bit in back. It seemed about 8-10 ft. long. It resembled a driftwood piece of tree battered, with broken limbs, black in color. It is not strange to see driftwood that looks like it has a dorsal fin, but when it floated upwards to the peak of a much larger wave, I saw an oblong white thing that shone in the sunlight, resembling the oblong face mask of a snorkeler. It could not be that. And the black shape had some white showing on the underside. I heard seals barking nearby as this is near the mouth of the Chetco River. Drifting along in the place where the waves rise up the highest, another larger wave showed there sure was an oblong white patch shining in front, and some white on its belly, and it adjusted to that wave as it started to break. I thought that is either some funny driftwood, or a predator disguised as driftwood. A woman was walking along the sidewalk, as though she did not see anything different or exciting. I looked at something else, maybe my coffee. I wondered if I should go out to get a closer look. When I looked back, the "driftwood" had completely disappeared, not washed on the beach or anywhere. Then, I saw two seals diving into a wave around the place I had last looked. Today I searched for what orcas look like, and the horizontal oblong white eye patch gave it away. It is most interesting that an orca seemed to be deliberately staying still to resemble driftwood and deliberately drifting along where the waves were highest before breaking in order to observe everything going on along the beach, people, people with dogs, cars, RV's, restaurant, as well as anything going on with seals. The predator disguised as driftwood suddenly disappeared probably in pursuit of the seals.
Donna Goss
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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.

 

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*BE WHALE WISE! BOATERS - NEW FEDERAL REGULATIONS IN EFFECT AS OF MAY 16, 2011:

 "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.