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Whale Sighting Report  

In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Photo of the Day
Southern Resident orcas?
Transients/Bigg's killer whales
Coastal orcas
Norway calf
Humpback or Gray whales
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Orcas in Our Midst,

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Death at SeaWorld, by David Kirby 


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February 27, 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 about 5 or 6 orcas were seen in Possession Sound this morning and early afternoon. First they just south of the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry lane heading north for about an hour, then they turned southwest. They then went around Possession Point and turned northwest up Admiralty Inlet and were last seen off Mutiny Bay, still northbound. No ID'able photos were taken, but from the number and the erratic movements it's likely these were Transients/Bigg's whales, and were probably the same ones seen Wednesday in Admiralty Inlet and later off Bainbridge and Blake Islands.

J pod went north in Haro Strait Wednesday, spread out from shore to shore, apparently searching for food and hopefully finding enough. As we wait a few more years for Chinook to return in good numbers to the newly restored Elwha River we can only hope there are enough of the big, high calorie fish to keep the So. Residents well fed over the rest of the winter and spring. Prospects for next fall look surprisingly good however. A combination of court-mandated enhanced spills over Columbia River dams and beneficial ocean conditions have contributed to predictions that 2014 Fall Chinook Returns Could Be Biggest On Record. Fall Chinook that tend to spawn in the mainstem Columbia and Snake rivers, and would likely return in even greater numbers if the four lower Snake River dams were removed.


 The new Langley Whale Center will open March 1 at 11 am. The Center will describe and celebrate the natural history of local orcas and the "Saratoga Grays," a small group of gray whales that feed on sand shrimp and other invertebrates buried in the mudflats of Saratoga Passage and Possession Sound. The entryway will feature a 16-foot blue whale jawbone. Admission is free. 

Photo of the Day
Heading south from Clinton ferry very close to Whidbey Shore.
Photo by Heather Lopaschuk, February 27, 2014.
Southern Resident orca
February 26
Ken Balcomb reports photographing about 8 members of J pod in Haro Strait as they went north from Open Bay, near Snug Harbor, San Juan Island, to Turn Point, Stuart Island between 11:40 am and 1:05 pm. The whales were spread out over miles and many others were also present.

February 26
4:15 - Orcas at East Point. Just saw about 8 - 10 orcas heading east in Boundary Pass at East Point, Saturna Island. 1 very large fin male, 1 baby, plus others. They came very close to shore, pec slapping, tail lobbing, moving at a leisurely pace.
Maureen Welton

February 19
Ken Balcomb reports orcas, possibly J pod, heading south down the west side of San Juan Island just after 10:30 this morning.
Transients/Bigg's killer whales
February 27
3:45 - last seen from Pt No Pt headed north/northwest on the west side of Whidbey. North and west of the yellow bouy and shipping lanes. Mutiny Bay or north of that.
Lila Pharis
Far from us on the Mukilteo Beach at 11:30 but zoomed in all I could see was two dorsal fins.
Photo by Heather Lopaschuk, February 27, 2014.
February 27
1:27 - In the shipping lanes about a mile south of Pt No Pt, still no definitive direction
1:10 - They're still there. Acting like T's.
1:03 - I'm at Shipwreck just north of Picnic Point. Whales are still just south of Skatchet Head buoy. Ever so slowly moving west and maybe south.
12:40 - Whales are milling around halfway between the Possession & Skatchet buoys, no boats with them.
Rob Miller

February 27
12:35 - The whales just hightailed it around the point headed southwest. There is a black coast guard boat to the east of them. The whale watching boat just left.
12:25 - There are two males, two young and at least 2-3 females. They are inside the mooring buoys off Possession beach only about 20 yards offshore. There was a baby with the group that looked very young so not residents I'm guessing since they didn't have any babies this year.
12:13 - They are off Possession beach right now. They were traveling south quickly but now are milling about-lots of tail slaps and breaches. They are very close to the whidbey side.
Nicole Woltersdorf

February 27
12:12 - Just passed 5-6 orcas heading south along the east side of Whidbey near Possession Point. Group included at least one male and two smaller individuals.
Andrea Hennings

February 27
12:03 - Possession bay headed toward Possession point, tail slapping spy hops lots of activity.
11:54 - Eyes on fins still south of ferry 3 miles... Looks like a couple males... Look to be heading southbound but to far to tell.
Tyrone Reed

February 27
11:15 - Spotted mid-channel west of the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry moving toward Whidbey shore. Est. 6-10, including two larger dorsal fins (males) and possibly 1-2 young. They put on quite a show for those of us on the ferry!
Linda Ade Ridder

February 27
10:31 - Some people spotted as many as 10. There was definitely a male with them after my first report. Last seen headed toward Everett.
9:30 - Two more suddenly appeared alongside the three already seen, so now there are five total, and one is an adult male. Still heading north, a little closer to the Clinton side.
9:05 - Dave Davenport in Mukilteo is watching about 4 orcas in mid-channel between the Mukilteo ferry landing and Whidbey Island, heading north into Saratoga Passage. It seems to be a mother and baby and two others, but no males.

February 26
Just a quick note to let you know that a single ORCA went by Blake Island at around 6:15pm this evening heading south. It was moving along at a pretty good pace.
Paul Ruppert, Park Ranger, Blake Island State Park

February 26
Just now (5:20pm) heard from a ferry rider coming from Seattle to Bainbridge they saw orca(s). No idea on how many or direction. Anyone else hear/see anything?
Lynn Batson

February 26
5:07 pm - Marie Waterman of WA State Ferries, relayed a report from the Ferry Tacoma of two orcas headed south near Tyee (just off Eagle Harbor, Bainbridge Island) this evening.

February 26
5:05 pm - Wednesday. At least 3 Orcas surfaced on the north side of the ferry just outside of Eagle Harbor, Bainbridge Island. They were right next to the boat when I saw them but it appears they were headed south.
Tim Cuddy

February 26
At least 1 orca seen heading south from the 4:40 BI ferry from Seattle.
Sarah Telschow

February 26
08:15 - Two male orcas heading southwest along Whidbey, crossing towards Marrowstone. One dorsal appeared to be a bit shorter, perhaps sub-adult? Location: N of Keystone.
Kathryn G
Coastal orcas
February 27
3:43--4:02.......At the Vista Point at Irish Beach, Manchester, California, about 5 miles north of Point Arena. Three orcas, one a male. Approximately a mile and a half NW from us and a mile out, and angling off slowly at a heading of 311 degrees from us. Just an observation....The direction they were moving would put them behind two northbound gray whales.
Scott Mercer

February 25
Departed at 1637 to north. Four to five departed first. Three or four hung around here then abruptly followed. Looked to us like def. two males.
1620. Still watching at Pt Arena.
Males full breaching. At least males looks like. Still right off our location. Move toward us a bit then move back out. Move N then south.
Orcas at Pt Arena.  2 miles off. 8 to 10
. Lot of half breaching. Tail slashing. Saw some come together. Then split off White water. Moving fast. Watching them now thru 15 x binos moving generally to NW. First sighted about 1535. 1553 now. Grays in area. Not associating with grays 
Scott Mercer

February 24
2:25 pm - 7-8 orcas were seen by Don Taylor (541-251-4376) about 16 miles off Gold Beach OR, at 42.2987 x 124.4764, heading north. He saw no adult males.

February 24
1:30 pm - 6 to 10 orcas were seen by Larry Tiller from Bodega Head CA, heading north about 2 miles from shore.

February 23
09:35 AM - Sighting in Copalis Beach (just north of Grays Harbor, central Washington outer coast). A lone dorsal fin spotted just off shore in Copalis Beach. It remained close to shore for about 20 minute. It appeared to be interested in an area with a few floats up (crab traps) and where many seabirds were floating. The dorsal fin was evident and it appeared to move freely in the surf. Out a distance many blows and sprays were observed but I could not identify the cetacean.
I was momentarily concerned it was going to get stranded (our home is just S of Griffiths-Priday State Park and 1.2 miles N of the remains of the whale that sadly washed up last year.) I think it is fine though. The dorsal was easy to identify as it was tall and triangular but there did appear to be a small notch (c shaped cut out) closer to the body on the side closest to the tail.
Tina Albrecht

February 22
Just got a call from Raymond Davis at the Port Orford Visitors Center, a visitor reported seeing 5 - 6 orcas close to shore at Port Orford, heading north, at about 12:40 pm today.

February 18
Had seven or eight at Pt Arena Light peninsula today. Three males. 1300 to 1314. A mile to a mile and a half off. They headed off at a 261 deg heading.
Scott Mercer

February 17
11:00 AM - Orca Pod sighted off Gerstle Cove (Salt Point CA). We sighted a large pod - at least 6-8 individuals heading north at a pretty good clip today. There was some breaching activity but mainly traveling.
Kim Ruiz
Norway calf
February 17
My name is Eve Jourdain, I am a biologist specialized in Orcas and currently in Andenes, North of Norway running a whale-watching season as a guide. You may know that a couple of days ago, a baby orca was found in Alsvag, Oksnes, alone. I've been yesterday to check it out, and as an orca biologist, I would like to share with you what I know from the situation.
I saw this calf for the first time on Sunday at 2pm. The calf is roughly 15 days old and not in a good shape. As you can see on the pictures, it has a really thin layer of blubber, and to me, it seems very skinny. It has been spotted for the first time by locals 5 days ago and some people tried to feed it with fish. Its body needs milk of course, but at least some calories! It is an emergency now and its state was really critical. After getting home last night, I got in touch with the Norwegian Fisheries Department, asking for a permission, at least to try to help this orca. The plan was then to wait for the morning, to find it again, and to invite the authorities and decide about a potential rescue plan with their permission. Unfortunately, even after long hours at sea this morning looking for this calf, we didn't find it. Some people from the North Atlantic Society are still on the spot, looking. I think I built a strong network of contacts (authorities+vet+scientists) here last night, and we are able to organize something to help this orca if we find it again.
The plan has to be discussed if needed, but it would probably be to provide intense cares and feeding as a first step. To do it, we need a small sea pen. Indeed, put this orca in a tank/aquarium is not even an option!! Norway doesn't want to see "Morgan's case" happening again!
I have attached some pictures I took yesterday.
Eve Jourdain
Photo by Eve Jourdain, February 16, 2014.

Photo by Eve Jourdain, February 16, 2014.

Photo by Eve Jourdain, February 16, 2014.
Note: February 19 - the young lone orca calf in Norway has been found dead. At only about 2 weeks old and looking thin, the outlook for this young calf was not good, but the news is very sad.
Humpback or Gray whales
February 26
Humpback or Gray:
A friend in Gig Harbor says her babysitters (who certainly weren't out looking for whales) saw a humpback (probably a humpback, anyway) while crossing the Narrows Bridge this morning around 8.

February 25
9:20 am - WA State Ferries reports a whale was seen in the Vashon-Fauntleroy ferry lane. Possibly a gray whale but not certain, and no direction of travel.
A humpback breaches off Point No Point, Kitsap Peninsula.
Photo by Dianna Durboraw, February 21, 2014.
February 21
This photo was taken at 2:30pm, Feb. 21, 2014. The tide was going out and there was a lot of feed of some sort because there were many Arctic Terns and Sea Gulls feeding. The whale was in about 150 ft. of water off the Lighthouse at Pt. No Pt. He was breaching and sounding and resurfacing for about 15 minutes. The last sound he made he was heading north toward Whidbey Island. He looked like he was Playing..A very Happy Whale indeed.>
Dianna Durboraw

February 19
Sighted a humpback in the middle of Colvos heading south off Prospect Point at 9:30 AM.
Clif Alferness
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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.