Orca Network 

Whale Sighting Report  

In This Issue
Photo of the Day
Southern Residents
Bigg's/Transient orcas
Humpback whales
Unidentified whales
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Orca Network recommends:
Puget Sound Whales for Sale: The Fight to End Orca Hunting, by
Sandra Pollard
This important volume recounts the people whose determined efforts ultimately succeeded in ending the captures.


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?

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to order YOUR copy!



  David Kirby  

The bestseller about orcas in captivity


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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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December 21,  2015

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.
Welcome J54, the 8th calf born to the Southern Residents in the past 12 months.  J54 was first seen December 1st by several people and photographed by Ivan Reiff, but the Center for Whale Research did not have enough conclusive documentation to confirm it was not J53 being babysat by J28. On the 16th,  J pod showed up in Haro Strait and CWR staff got first hand IDs and photo confirmation they were needing to designate this little one the newest offspring of J28 Polaris and sibling to J46 Star.

"...Mother is J28, a twenty-two year old female Southern Resident Killer Whale in the Pacific Northwest. The mother had a previous baby designated J46, a female, born in 2009 and still surviving. This brings the known births of Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) to EIGHT since last December, and the total population of SRKW's as of now to 84 known individuals."
- Center for Whale Research
(See the full Center for Whale Research J54 Birth Announcement Press Release . We've also included CWR's  Encounter 101 in the report below)

Several people got a peek of the newest calf and other J pod members yesterday afternoon (December 20th) as they made their way through Cattle Pass and continued westbound in Juan de Fuca Strait.

Bigg's T103 was encountered on the 16th and at least a few humpbacks keep a steady presence in Puget Sound and around Victoria.

Orca Network 
Photo of the Day
December 16 
New calf J54 and her/his mom J28 Polaris- Haro Strait - December 16, 2015
Photo by Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research 
Southern Residents
December 20 
J pod west bound south of Discovery Island on December 20th.
Photo by Mark Malleson 

December 20 
Had an awesome encounter with J pod in choppy seas today!...we found them at Goose Island and they took us out to Hein Bank. They had been in San Juan Channel earlier.
Melisa Pinnow

J54 off of Cattle Point, my first time meeting the calf!
Photo by Melisa Pinnow, December 20, 2015
(All photos zoomed in and cropped to show detail) 

Granny J2 breaches in Catttle Pass.
Photo by Melisa Pinnow, December 20, 2015 

J53 off the South end of San Juan Island, my first time meeting this calf too!
Photo by Melisa Pinnow, December 20, 2015 

Eclipse J41 spy hops off the South end of San Juan Island.
Photo by Melisa Pinnow, December 20, 2015
(See Melisa's blog San Juan Orcas for previous encounters) 


December 16 
12:01 p.m. - Resident orca S4 calls (J pod) on OrcaSound hydrophone. A few loud vocals followed my a few minutes of quiet, then again distant S4 calls for 2-3 minutes with some echolocation.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Orca Network

December 16 
(Below is an excerpt from the Center for Whale Research Encounter 101 Report confirming the new calf designated J54)
....Jeanne pointed Dave in the right direction to J28 and the calf and he found them with little problem at 1110 off Smallpox Bay. J28, her new calf J54, and J46 traveled as a threesome for the rest of the encounter. They were surfacing erratically and taking long dives so obtaining good photographs was difficult to say the least. The calf appeared to be in good health and not once during the long dives did J54 surface early before the other two like young calves often will. The J28's moved out to mid-strait while in front of Andrews Bay but moved back inshore by the time they made it to Kellett Bluff....

2015 Encounter 101 - meet J54!
Video by Ken Balcomb,
Center for Whale Research
December 16, 2015 


December 15 
(These two reports called in this afternoon didn't make it into December 15th report) 
3:25 p.m. - Marie Waterman of WA State Ferries called to report a pod including at least 1 juvenile northbound off Restoration Point.
2:43 p.m. -  Edward First called to report a pod of ~ 6 orcas including 1 adult male northbound between the Tango buoy and Blake Island. 


December 14 
J28 and new baby J54 southbound in Admiralty Inlet.
Photo by Rachel Haight, December 14, 2015
(Rachel's observations were included in our December 15th Sighting Report along with other photos she took that day. This photo was not included in that report in the event J28 had a new calf, which we now know to be the case.) 
Bigg's/Transient orcas
December 16 
T103 snacking on a harbor seal off of Victoria harbor.
Photo by Mark Malleson, December 16th , 2015 

T103 west bound off of Victoria.
Photo by Mark Malleson, December 16, 2015 
Humpback whales
December 20 
Humpback south of Discovery Island.
Photo by Mark Malleson, December 20, 2015 

December 20 - Puget Sound 
1:05 p.m. - I just saw two blows from two whales ten minutes ago, maybe a little south or west.
9:40 a.m. - blows from at least two humpback whales between Edmonds and Possession Point (the south tip of Whidbey Is.), are clearly visible with big binoculars from about ten miles away on Whidbey Island.
Howard Garrett, Orca Network


December 18 
11:30 a.m. - We just observed two humpbacks between Kingston and Point No Point from the Kingston/Edmonds ferry.
Robert Woeck
11:19 a.m.  - checked again just now, blows still in same general area.
Stu Davidson
9:30 a.m. - three humpbacks breaching multiple times off of Eglon, a bit north of where Stu last reported seeing them.
Sherman Page
8:34 a.m. - definitely humpbacks, at least three maybe four? Just saw a fluke on a dive. Must be in a feeding pattern as now they are slightly more north than last viewing.
8:26 a.m. - group slowly moving south - behavior appears to be more like humpbacks with large surface blows then dives of several minutes. *viewing from North Edmonds
8:14 a.m. - many blows from several whales in the Rose Point area (south of Elgon north of Kingston) near Kitsap side. I'm guessing humpbacks (again, several at least), but  frequency of blows looks more like Orcas.
Stu Davidson


December 17 
12:10 p.m. - looked again & found another blow from this whale.. Seems to have moved more northerly and closer to Point No Point (as seen from North Edmonds)
11:52 a.m. -  whale blow spotted about a mile south east of Point No Point, close to Kitsap side. Direction and type unknown yet.
Stu Davidson
Unidentified whales
December 19 
John Rogstad of WSF reported seeing 12 orcas near Friday Harbor this afternoon around 1:30 p.m. No direction of travel given but he said they were playing and feeding.


December 18 
1:00 p.m. - Saw a pod of orca feeding and breaching on Kitsap side between Kingston and Eglon.... I didn't see dorsal fins, but a few breaches and tail flukes. I thought they were smaller than the humpbacks I've seen before....I saw a few whales jump fully out of the water. All black, much too small to be humpbacks. Also several tail flukes, again black and smaller than humpback....I suppose they could have been humpbacks, but I've seen humpbacks there many times and the whales I saw yesterday behaved differently. I tried to see them with binocs but didn't get the chance.
(reported as orcas, but we had no other reports and several  humpbacks were in this very location foraging and breaching earlier -ALB)

Amy Schneider McElfresh

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.