Orca Network 

Whale Sighting Report  

In This Issue
Photo of the Day
Southern Residents.
Transients/Bigg's Killer Whales
Coastal Orcas
Minke whales
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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Click here

to learn about L pod

orca Lolita/Tokitae,

captured in Penn Cove,

Whidbey Island, WA

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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July 29, 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.
Much of J pod, K pod and L pod returned Monday after over two days away. They've been arranging themselves in some unusual groupings lately, but as we've been seeing a lot of in the past few years, only parts of the pods usually appeared in new combinations of matrilines. The pods may seem broken up, but the matrilines remain intact. Matrilines consist of females with one or more generations of offspring nearby. Monika Wieland suggests below that it would be more accurate to keep track of them according to their matrilines than by pods.

Monika's been busy apparently. This graph she shared is the track of June days with whales and salmon around the San Juans over the past 15 years. It's easy to see the drastic drop last year in whale appearances, and the corresponding disastrous near disappearance of Fraser River salmon, followed by the slight uptick in salmon this year along with the return of the orcas to the Salish Sea. No fish, no blackfish.

Sometimes the question of economic values can sway decisions that may help, or harm, the marine life of the Salish Sea. To help establish the value of conserving nature, Surfrider Foundation and WA DNR are asking locals and tourists alike to document their coastal recreation (where it is and how much money they spend doing it). Orca Network has been asked to share this link to some background info and to the survey.

The photo of the day was chosen for its humor and cuteness value, but also because it's amazing to know that orcas come in so close to our local beach at Double Bluff on Whidbey Island.

August 2014 marks the 44th anniversary of Lolita's capture from her family, the Southern Resident orcas, in Penn Cove off Whidbey Island, WA.
In memory of the nearly 40 Southern Resident orcas captured in Washington State, and the 13 orcas killed during the captures, and in honor of Lolita, or Tokitae, the sole survivor, Orca Network is sponsoring several events to commemorate the anniversary of the 1970 Penn Cove Orca Capture on Friday, August 8th.

Thanks to Captain John Stone, we are offering a sail on Penn Cove aboard his beautiful Cutty Sark ketch from noon - 1:30 pm, departing from the Captain Whidbey Inn near Coupeville. The sail will include a wreath ceremony at the orca capture site, talks about the captures from Captain Stone who has many stories, and from Howard Garrett of Orca Network. Tickets for the Cutty Sark sail are $50/person - very limited space is available for this event, though you are welcome to join us on the water in your own boat or kayak.
From 4 to 4:45 pm we will head to Clinton and gather on board the MV Tokitae Ferry as walk-on passengers to learn more about the 1970s orca captures and Lolita. Whidbey Islanders will walk on to the 4 pm Tokitae sailing from the Clinton ferry terminal, and those from the mainland can board the 4:30 Tokitae sailing from Mukilteo for the ride back to Whidbey.

From 5 - 7:30 pm we will meet at the Clinton Community Hall just up the hill from the ferry landing, for food, drink, and presentations including author Sandra Pollard of Freeland who will read from her new book, "Puget Sound Whales for Sale," and Howard Garrett of Orca Network to give us an update on efforts to bring Lolita home to her family in Washington state. Displays, music, and more will be offered during this event; admission is $25.
Contact Orca Network at or call 360.331.3543 to reserve space on the Cutty Sark sail or to RSVP for the evening event, and check for more information and updates for these events.
Photo of the Day
Bill Dunbar's son Jay took this photo July 28 from the beach at Double Bluff. Surprise whale breach in the background as he was taking a picture of his sweet pooch. Oh and Mount Rainier!
Photo by Jay Dunbar, July 28, 2014.
Southern Residents

July 29
Just south of Henry Island, San Juan Islands, WA.
Photo by Capt. Jim Maya, July 29, 2014.

Photo by Capt. Jim Maya, July 29, 2014.

Photo by Capt. Jim Maya, July 29, 2014.

Photo by Capt. Jim Maya, July 29, 2014.

July 29
4:07 pm - Whales on the Lime Kiln hydrophone! L-Pod calls.
Monika Wieland

This is K25, "Scoter" taking a peek at us.
Photo by Traci Walter, July 29, 2014.

L87 "Onyx" showing off his hang time.
Photo by Gary Sutton, July 28, 2014.

K22 Sekiu, born in 1987 and her son K43 Saturna, born in 2001.
Photo by Gary Sutton, July 28, 2014.

July 27
A crazy day. Some Orcas went north, then south, but other Orcas continued north, while some continued south...Very unusual day! We started the day seeing Orcas ten minutes off the dock at Snug Harbor Resort and Marina and ended the day with Orcas, ten minutes from the dock at Snug Harbor.
Capt. Jim Maya
A spyhop and Mt. Baker.
Photo by Capt. Jim Maya, July 27, 2014.

An orca with salmon bits.
Photo by Capt. Jim Maya, July 27, 2014.

July 27
7:06 pm. - Whales on Lime Kiln hydro.
James Gresham

A close-up of L87 Onyx, who has been doing a little bit of wandering of late! See many more photos from yesterday's superpod morning on my latest blog.
Photo by Monika Wieland, July 27, 2014.
The "rogue" L54 sub-group finally decided to make their first appearance of the year in inland waters yesterday! I was surprised and thrilled to see them. Here's L54 Ino and L117 Keta, giving you a perspective of just how close these guys can come to the rocks at Lime Kiln.
Photo by Monika Wieland, July 27, 2014.

July 27
10:45 PM - Ls were northbound past Lime Kiln at 9:30 PM...definitely hearing Ks now, who had gone south when they "hit" the island a couple hours earlier.
Monika Wieland

July 27
9:25am - Calls on Lime Kiln right NOW!
Kim Merriman

July 27
8:50am - pretty sure I heard faint vocals on LK
Alisa Lemire Brooks

July 27
8:45 - Had J-pod with L87 at Beaumont Shoals, south of Victoria.
Corey Vink

K12, daughter K22 and grandson K33 passing Victoria BC on the way to San Juan Island Saturday evening.
Photo by James Gresham, July 26, 2014.
Exhaling rainbows in the beautiful early evening light.
Photo by James Gresham, July 26, 2014.

July 26
Our boat is with members of K Pod and L Pod right now. Reports of J Pod as well. Sounds like a Super Pod of over 70 Resident Killer Whales!! Everyone missed them until right about 4pm. They have been gone for 2.5 days and showed up late this afternoon coming in from the west.
6:05 - K's and L's for sure. K25 was harassing a Humpback whale earlier... J's are probably trailing...
Simon Pidcock, Ocean EcoVentures Whale Watching

July 26
10:30 - Simon reported all three earlier and I've have heard vocals of all pods on LK since 9. They're still audible.

July 26
10:19 - Lots of calls on lime kiln.. Sounds like k pod?
Katie Snyder

July 26
8:55pm - Resident calls, faint & echoing, on Lime Kiln...
Alisa Lemire Brooks

July 26
6:35 - K pod passing Victiria. Inbound.
James Gresham

J2 Granny still plowing up a bow wave at about 100 years old.
Photo by Tasli Shaw, July 23, 2014.

Another view of J2 Granny.
Photo by Jill Hein, July 23, 2014.
3:45 PM - On July 23rd we followed Granny or J2 leaving her group. It was an amazing experience. 7-8 were seen close to Pender island.
Photo by Paola Onorati, July 23, 2014.

Some of "J" pod and "L" pod today off Sooke, B.C.
Photo sent in by Paul Pudwell, July 23, 2014.

Taking a peek! A Jpod Killer Whale takes a little peek above the surface with Cattle Point Lighthouse in the background!
Photo by Traci Walter, July 23, 2014.

July 22
I woke up at 6AM this morning to go look for orcas. No black and white critters until early this afternoon, but I got to share my time with some other creatures. THEN, J Pod group A and the K14's started to file by the lighthouse (with Granny in the lead, naturally). K26 Lobo did a fantastic "buzz" by the rocks just beyond the kelp. What a gorgeous fellow he is...
Katie Jones

K26 Lobo showing off what dorsal fins are supposed to look like...complete with an eel grass flag...
Photo by Katie Jones, July 22, 2014.

July 22
At 1 PM I watched members of J- and K-Pods head slowly south past Land Bank's Westside Preserve on San Juan Island. They weren't making much progress against a strong flood tide! I think it's time we start keeping track of the whales by matriline, because the pod groups just aren't holding up this year. Present on July 22 was J2, the J19s, the J14s, the J16s, and the K14s. Continuing with the theme of different groups of whales every day, by July 23 the J16s were heading west, leaving yet another a new group traveling together in inland waters!Monika Wieland, San Juan Island

July 22
Noon - 15-20 J, K Orcas heading south today at Lime Kiln Point State Park, traveling south, also feeding posted a video (below) of about one minute of two orcas that came in very close to the shore right in front of the lighthouse.
Sherrie Stahl 

Noon - 15-20 J, K Orcas heading south today at Lime Kiln Point State Park, travelling south, also feeding posted a video of about one minute of two orcas that came in very close to the shore right in front of the lighthouse.
Photo by Sherrie Stahl, July 22, 2014.
orcalimekiln 7 22 14
Orca at Lime Kiln.
Video by Sherrie Stahl, July 22, 2014.

We saw K21 Cappucino and K16 Opus and her son at Salmon Bank.
Photo by Mariann Carrasco, July 21, 2014.

July 21
"Group A" of Jpod (J2, J14s, J19 + J41, J16s) with the K14s off Point Roberts almost all day. One very notable missing whale from the group was L87, often seen pasted to J2's side, he was confirmed to be present off San Juan Island's west side with the rest of the Js and Ks.
When we caught up with them in the morning (10:00) they were spread over several NM, presumably foraging. Then they all grouped up and headed toward East Point, but turned around before they got to Boundary Pass and came back up toward the Fraser River.
They spent several hours traveling slowly along with the flood tide, surfacing in large groups. Once they reached the T14 marker they seemed to "wake up," lots of tail and pec slapping then promptly spread and out and, presumably, went on the search for salmon entering the Fraser.
Tasli Shaw
Photo by Tasli Shaw, July 21, 2014.

Photo by Tasli Shaw, July 21, 2014.

Photo by Tasli Shaw, July 21, 2014.

Transients/Bigg's Whales
It looks like T34 with a new nick.
Photo by Gary Sutton, July 29, 2014.

July 28
3:00 PM - between Scatchet Head and Point No Point. There were three whales at a distance feeding we think one was a small whale. One had a light swirl on its back. There was tail slapping and circling. A large Navy ship was going by at a high rate of speed and the whales were gone. Then suddenly they appeared next to our boat having gone a good distance to get there.
Vicky Turner
A spyhop off Scatchet Head, Whidbey Island.
Photo by Vicky Turner, July 28, 2014.

Tail lobbing off Scatchet Head.
Photo by Vicky Turner, July 28, 2014.

July 27
Around 8:00 pm my husband was out fishing about two miles north of Kingston near the shipping lanes and he spotted 5 orcas traveling east towards the Possession Buoy. He observed them traveling in a group and watched them slap their tail flukes on the water and raise them up in the air as they dove down.
Linda Bartlett

July 27
Orca pod on south end of Whidbey Island. I was out fishing at around 8:00pm saw a pod of orcas on the south end of Whidbey Island. There were at least 6 whales, but there certainly could have been many more. It was awesome. They were swimming East towards Edmonds. There were a few minutes when they were jumping and whipping their tails.
Nate Lord

July 27
Amazing encounter when 4-5 Transient Orcas decided to swim east along the shoreline at Point No Point. I first spotted them 200-300 yrds out in the tidal current heading north, then they decided to head in to shore. They came within 20ft of shore and headed east back towards the point. When they rounded the point they headed off south east and seemed to go back into sneaky T mode. When I first started watching them, they appeared to be playing or hunting in the tidal current, moving in all directions. When they moved into shore, there were a couple of breaches, and lots of tail slaps. They were very active at the surface - no long dives. I also saw a couple of dorsal slaps, and upside down tail lobbing. They were not hunting. More likely post kill behavior. Dorsal slaps, upside down tails lobs, logging on the surface. It was pretty spectacular.
Last saw them about 6:50 heading southeast back into the sound, and slipping back into sneaky T mode.
6:42 - They are headed back south and trending east towards mid channel after a very close pass along the beach to the delighted observers.
Connie Bickerton

Photo by Connie Bickerton, July 27, 2014.

T037A, born 1994, and her offspring T037A2, born 2009.
Photo by Connie Bickerton, July 27, 2014.

Chewed up fluke - this is what happens when your food fights back.
Photo by Connie Bickerton, July 27, 2014.

T037, female, born 1979, T037A1, born 2007, and T037A, born 1994.
Photo by Connie Bickerton, July 27, 2014.

Photo by Connie Bickerton, July 27, 2014.

Photo by Connie Bickerton, July 27, 2014.

T037A1, T037A2, siblings born in 2007 and 2009, respectively.
(Uncropped at 400mm).
Photo by Connie Bickerton, July 27, 2014.

T037B (?) I don't think I ever saw T037B1, a 2 yr old calf unless that's who's spyhopping.
Photo by Connie Bickerton, July 27, 2014.

T037 Transient Orcas at Point No Point.
Photo by Connie Bickerton, July 27, 2014.

July 27
Family of Orcas playing at point no point tonight 6 to 6:30 came within 15 feet of shore very exciting.
Mike Woltersdorf

July 27
12:18 - From Edmonds (north of ferry) we can see them mid channel where Rob reported.
Alisa Lemire Brooks

July 27
12:14 - About one mile off Picnic Pt, one red & aluminum colored boat following them.
12:08 - Still heading south towards Edmonds, now off of Picnic Pt.
Rob Miller

July 27
11:23 - Just saw them from Mukilteo heading south quickly. Moving to Edmonds.
Sara Troyer

July 27
10:15 am - WA State Ferries reports 4-5 orcas just north of the Clinton ferry dock, foraging, no direction of travel.

July 20
The two matriarchs T99 and T36 were a solid 0.5-1NM apart from the their offspring (36Bs, 99C), being stealth whales in the currents off East Point. After a period of erratic surfacing and 4-6 minute dives, the two of them came together at the surface, and slowly began heading NW, taking short dives, almost like they were catching their breath. As if on cue, the other whales (36Bs and 99C) came porpoising (like, super duper porpoising, whole bodies out of the water) in a direct line toward T99 and T36. When they all met up they milled about for at least 30 minutes, not going anywhere really, pushing their kill around at the surface, lots of blood visible in the water.
We later saw a pair of tiny fluke poking out of the water, indicating a harbour porpoise kill.
Awesome behaviour to watch. If only we could hear how these two seemingly "called over" their kids for dinner.

T99 and T99C (unable to photo ID T99A and T99B) with T36 and the T36Bs.
Photo by Tasli Shaw, July 20, 2014.

Photo by Tasli Shaw, July 20, 2014.

Biggs killer whales in the lower Gulf of Georgia adjacent to East Point.
Photo by Tasli Shaw, July 20, 2014.

Coastal Orcas
July 24
Mike Maurice saw two orcas about five miles south of Tatoosh Island.

July 13 & 14
I saw an Orca at Kure Beach, North Carolina, on 7/13 and 7/14 while sitting on the beach. Lat 33.9978N, Long 77.9081W. The whale dove out of the water, rotated 360 and dove back into the water. It was black with a large dorsal fin. It had a white underbelly. It was very athletic and graceful. It was very large, much, much bigger than a dolphin or porpoise. Shortly after I saw it, there was a run of fish in the surf. I would say it was out 3 times the distance of the pier.
Lynn Zufferey

July 6
Possible orca. I was looking at the horizon. I saw a large movement of the water. I continued to watch because I was curious as to what would make the water move perpendicular to the wave. I saw something large and black as I watched. I continued to follow the movement when it partially came out of the water. It was large with a black back and white underbelly. I only saw it come partially out of the water. There were a large group of birds landing and darting at the water as if feeding. Location of Sighting: Kure Beach, NC H avenue beach access. They appeared to be feeding. I think feeding because the seagulls came and were obviously feeding near it. I do not think playing because it only partly came out of the water. I researched on the internet and saw a picture of an orca partly out of the water which is exactly what I saw.
Jean Underwood
July 28
10:40 AM - 2 Humpback Whales sighted in Salish sea Between Race Rocks and Becher Bay. Appeared to be feeding. As they returned a couple of times before moving off eastward.
Nieve S

July 25
Humpbacks continued to dominate the strait today, with no fewer than 9 reported in the area! We love seeing humpbacks, and we're really starting to get into our peak season for spotting them. They'll only be more from here on out! We consider ourselves especially luck to be able to see humpbacks at all, given the fact that they were once extinct in this area.
The Ocean Magic crew got their day started in Vancouver with a Grey whale south of Victoria! A few of our Victoria trips managed to spot this elusive creature right off the waterfront as well! It was a teeny tiny specimen, probably only a couple of years old, but we love seeing these guys too. They're not rare, but certainly infrequent visitors to our area.
Prince of Whales Whale Watch

A humpback breaches south of Victoria.
Photo by Mark Malleson, July 24, 2014.

Amazing Humpback Whales jumping and playing only minutes from Salty Towers docks.
Photo by Sooke Coastal Explorations, July 22, 2014.

Limbering up?
Photo by Sooke Coastal Explorations, July 22, 2014.

The perfect humpback ID photo.
Photo by Sooke Coastal Explorations, July 22, 2014.
Setting up a for big slap.
Photo by Sooke Coastal Explorations, July 22, 2014.

Photo by Sooke Coastal Explorations, July 22, 2014.

A fluke waterfall.
Photo by Sooke Coastal Explorations, July 22, 2014.

Minke whales

Photo by Monika Wieland, July 22, 2014.

Alisa Schulman-Janiger writes from California:
MINKE BREACH: open mouth with baleen! Slater Thomas Moore's stunning image from a breach sequence is SO spectacular that it needs a stand-alone post! This minke whale breached 10 times Saturday; EACH time, it opened its mouth during the breach, showing its short yellow baleen! Its rorqual (throat) pleats are not extended , and little water spills out - indicating that this is most likely an exuberant display (rather than feeding lunges). Minkes breach fairly often, but seldom are captured in this detail! They are typically tough to photograph: little visible blow, no fluking, erratic surfacing - but sometimes they make very close approaches to boats! Great view of our northern hemisphere's smallest baleen whale, on Newport Landing Whale Watching. From NOAA surveys in 2005 and 2006, there are only an estimated 478 minke whales in the combined waters of California, Oregon, and Washington! More about minke whales here.
Photo by Slater Thomas Moore, July 26, 2014.

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.