Orca Network 

Whale Sighting Report  

In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Photo of the Day
Southern Resident orcas
Transients/Bigg's whales
Gray whales
Coastal orcas
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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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Tokitae looking up at us from her tank in Miami, FL in the late 1990s 

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January 30, 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.
A group of three orcas, probably Transients/Bigg's Whales, were seen heading south from Edmonds/Kingston late this afternoon. It's very hard to predict where they may be tomorrow but if anyone sees them please post on the Orca Network facebook page, email a report from the ON website or to, or call 866-ORCANET.

The tag fell off L87 Onyx January 26 after 30 days transmitting his path as he traveled with J pod to the far northern reaches of Georgia Strait several times, back into Puget Sound and out to the Pacific, with the last transmission 30 miles west of Neah Bay.

Ways of Whales 2014 went very well, with a near-capacity audience, a wide array of environmental organizations on display, a full roster of speakers outlining the vital importance of the orca/salmon relationship, a panel of eight experts discussing questions from the floor, and the special treat of "The Great Salish Sea" sung by singer/songwriter Dana Lyons. The talks were taped by Dick Snowberger are (or soon will be) available online here.

Lolita may be one breach closer to home after January 24, when NOAA Fisheries announced their agreement with a petition by her team of attorneys (joined by Orca Network and others) to finally include her with her family under the Endangered Species Act. This doesn't guarantee she'll be coming home - there's a 2 month comment period and up to another 10 months before a final decision - but it clears the way for NOAA to decide whether she is safer in the tank in Miami where she's gone around in circles for over 43 years, or back in contact with her family in a retirement seapen in the waters of the Salish Sea, where she was born and raised. You can find the links to the decision, how to make your comments, and our list of important points to make, and her Retirement Plan HERE .  
Photo of the Day
T123's feeding off Sooke (about ten miles west of Victoria).
Photo by Mark Malleson, January 24, 2014.

Southern Resident orcas
January 26
As you may recall, on December 26, 21-year-old L87 Onyx was tagged with a satellite transmitter just south of Point No Point in Puget Sound. On January 26 his tag seems to have fallen off.
The red line shows the track from the transmitter worn by L87 Onyx between January 22 and January 26, when the tag apparently fell off about 30 miles west of Neah Bay.
Graphic courtesy of NOAA's NW Fisheries Science Center
L87, who has been traveling with J pod for the almost five years, remained in the western Strait of Juan de Fuca or just off the coast since the previous update on 22 January. L87's tag stopped transmitting part way through its transmission schedule on 26 January. The 30-day duration of signal contact obtained for L87 was very near the average deployment duration with killer whales. It was programmed to run for over 3 months, so this outcome suggests that transmissions ended because the tag detached from the whale rather than a battery failure.
From Watching Our Waterways: VIDEO - Check out the animated video of L87's movements throughout the Salish Sea this past month.
Transients/Bigg's whales
January 30
5:19 - they're way over on the Kitsap side and the light is failing. I've pretty much lost them from Richmond Beach in the low light.
5:16 -  All three back together, moved south at a faster pace, now approaching the pier at Jefferson Beach Park. Some thrashing water, with the big male pushing / chasing something (seal? sea lion?) up out of the water with his rostrum. This is in the same area I watched a transient male do this same sort of thing a month or two ago...
5:13 - The big male disappeared, while the other two continued heading south. And now all three have gone stealth mode. *poof!* I'm guessing these are transients. Looks like they're working an area of water over and over again... perhaps chasing some prey.
4:47 - I have them just west of mid-channel buoy, heading south, between Kingston and President's Point. One big male, one smaller female/kiddo, and possible sprouting male. They're well over towards the Kitsap side. Maybe mile out. Some short-term directional changes, but all three appear to be heading south again now.
Dave Haas

January 30
4:20 -  3 orcas - large one, medium size, and little. Ferry from Edmonds had to swing wide. Closer to Kingston moving southwest. Couple, three miles from ferry dock.
Erin Kallal Johnson

January 30
4:10 -  Three spotted off the Edmonds-Kingston ferry heading south. One seems little
Robbin Rae

January 24
Rush and I came across the T123's feeding off of Sooke in the afternoon. Just before spotting them we saw a group of harbor porpoise moving quickly west and a series of large slicks left in the water. The whales carried chunks of flesh around during our 25 minutes of observation.
Mark Malleson, Prince of Whales
Gray whales
January 25
Saw gray whales today at 15:00 west entrance to Deception Pass. Appeared to be two adults and one yearling. Whales were swimming against the current, the latter flowing west out of Deception Pass. Watched the whales in this area for about 45 minutes at the west entrance to Deception Pass o.4 miles west of bridge north side of channel, appeared to be feeding or slowly traveling.
Kent Doughty

January 25
Maribeth Crandall reports seeing a large whale, possibly a Gray whale, swimming east through Deception Pass at 3:50 pm today.

January 21
845am.  Saw a gray whale very close to shore next to water taxi dock and fishing pier on alki side of Elliott bay.
Coastal orcas
January 26
4:30 pm - Carrie Newell called the Center for Whale Research to report seeing a large number of Southern Resident orcas heading north off Depoe Bay, Oregon. She took photos and will send those to the Center soon. These may be members of K and L pods, because J pod with L87 was recently off eastern Juan de Fuca Strait.
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.