Orca Network 

Whale Sighting Report  

In This Issue
Photo of the Day
Bigg's/Transient orcas
Fin whale
Gray whales
Undidentified whales
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Puget Sound Whales for Sale: The Fight to End Orca Hunting, by
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This important volume recounts the people whose determined efforts ultimately succeeded in ending the captures.


The Lost Whale, by
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Suzanne Chisolm
  An intensely personal story...but this person is a young orca.  

Lost Whale book...ver scaled



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Orcas in Our Midst,

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February 7,  2016

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.
In our last report we included the most recent update (Jan. 27th) from NOAA-NWFSC on tagged southern resident K33 which had him (and  presumably all of K pod) off the northern Washington coast, there have been no updates since or reports to us on J or L pod's whereabouts either.

Bigg's (Transient) killer whales have been roaming around Puget Sound the past several days, unfortunately we have no solid IDs. Friday the 4th a pod of 4 were seen from the Clinton/Mukilteo ferry run and tracked throughout the day by another Sightings Network volunteer as they traveled up into Saratoga Passage. It was probably that group, hooked up with another, that were seen the next morning (Feb. 5th) off Edmonds traveling southbound. They continued at a quick pace and by all reports, split up somewhere around Elliot Bay. One pod was seen further south off Fauntleroy (West Seattle) while the other pod was perusing Elliot Bay along downtown Seattle's waterfront. Beautiful video by King 5 News SkyKing of the pod in Elliot Bay.  It wasn't until late in the afternoon the next day (6th) that we received word of a pod in Saratoga Passage, and a second report of a late night encounter far to the south near Blake Island. Perhaps both pods stayed in. No reports today in Puget Sound.

The T101s were encountered in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the first. Several reports of a gray whale and two reports a week apart of what both reporting parties believed to be a fin whale, all encountered in Puget Sound. 

Orca Network
Photo of the Day
February 4 
One of the four Bigg's (Transient) killer whales traveling northbound in Saratoga Passage, passing the seaside town of Langley, Whidbey Island, home of our Langley Whale Center.
Photo by Marilyn Armbruster, February 4, 2016  
Bigg's/Transient orcas
February 7 
This afternoon at 3:30 I saw two orcas (a male and a female) off the Amphitrite Lighthouse in Ucluelet. Frustratingly, despite scanning for half an hour, they only surfaced ONCE!
Monika Wieland


February 6 
Saw one breaching and moving slowly at 11:30 pm Saturday night. About 100 yards from the shore in Yukon harbour and west of Blake island. Snuck up on us while we were having a fire near the beach! Neighbors on both sides of us called us after they saw it too. Large dorsal was clearly visible.
Sam Wempe
4:30 p.m. - Watching a pod of orcas in Saratoga Passage today = happy! There seemed to be four whales (one big one, two medium sized and a smaller one). They hung out in the area between Greenbank and Penn Cove for a couple of hours, seemed to be fishing. We last saw them heading south quickly around 4:30pm. The water was totally smooth so we had great viewing!Fran Farley Kendall


February 5 
1420 - by Duwamish Head marker.
Adella Mae Boyar
1417 - they are in Elliot bay near the ferry terminal!
Alicia Toney
3:00 p.m. - Orca whale sighting off of the Fauntleroy ferry dock. Four orca traveling southbound in a determined manner.
John Rogstad WSF
3:00 p.m. - Pod of orcas in Elliott Bay at 3 pm today. Heading north from the grain elevator about 200 yards from shore.
Shelly Richer Edwards
2:30 p.m. - Bainbridge to Seattle ferry.
Katie Flynn
2:11 p.m. - 4 orcas that in Elliott Bay right now on the south side of the bay, a couple hundred yards east of the floating barge
Joey Duwe
1:53 p.m. - 4 orcas in Elliot Bay right now!!! (Office says, two are babies?!)
Colleen McDevitt
1:45 p.m.  - DJ Mar at Eco-Elements near Pike Place Mkt reports customers just saw four orcas only 100 yds from the ferris wheel, next to the Seattle Aquarium, in Elliot Bay, breaching, etc.
1:30 p.m. -  a friend of mine reported seeing 5 or so orcas off Alki. She was on the BI ferry east bound, orcas were west bound. I'm looking from Rockaway, but not seeing them.
Susan Marie Andersson
An orca spyhops near Discovery Park.
There were at least 7 in the pod that passed by the South Bluff Trail.
Photo by Steve Smith, February 5, 2016 

12:25 p.m. -  I saw the bay south of Discovery light, followed by small red boat which has now headed north.
Photo by Steve Smith, February 5, 2016 

Noon hour- While walking Discovery Park myself and several others saw a good sized pod (at least 6) with babies halfway between Discovery Park and Bainbridge Island in the Sound. They seemed to be playing and feeding, active then quiet as a whale watching boat came nearer. They resumed play and then circled a speed boat, surrounding it,  jumping, and spouting. noon hour Feb 5th.
Adrienne Villa-Stanley
12:05 p.m. - Just spotted a pod of orcas of the Discovery park south bluff trail, Heading south. 500m from shore. South of the lighthouse. Traveling fast when we last saw... An Argosy cruise ship was heading towards them.
Pwint Htun

1030  - Faye Bainbridge S. Medium travel...coast guard boat behind them.
Bethany Ryals
10:55 a.m. -  I gotta go. Last seen transect Golden Gardens/Shilshole and Faye Bainbridge park...still southbound steady clip east of mid channel.
10:40 a.m. - they are haulin. Now approaching Golden Gardens/Shilshole. I cannot keep up.
10:15 a.m. -  they are powering along southbound. Carkeek would be next..soon. They are just east of mid channel in choppy seas.
10:00 a.m. - quick glimpse too far for IDs..they are out from Richmond beach transect approaching Jefferson Head, Indianola. Southbound good clip. Adult male in group.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Orca Network
9:12 a.m. - line of sight to the Pod is between north Edmonds and north of Kingston
9:04 a.m. - looks to be a baby with this Pod...Definitely a small one and unique the way it surfaces.
8:53 a.m.  - looks more like 5 or 6 orcas.. Still heading south, still just north of Edmonds / Kingston ferry route.
8:47 a.m. - several + orcas closest to Edmonds side.. Just north of Edmonds / Kingston ferry run. They are heading south at a quick pace!!
Stu Davidson


February 4 - Juan de Fuca 
Orca Pod hunting sea lion east of Sequim - A pod of five orcas was hunting a sea lion at Diamond Point yesterday, 4 Feb 2016. This family had two full grown adults and three smaller juveniles. They seemed to be teaching the little ones to hunt. The whole grouping slowly drifted west from Diamond Point to Thompson Spit from 3:30 - 5:30 PM. The sea lion seemed to escape into the shallow waters and the orcas didn't follow it onshore into the shelf area. It got dark, so we don't know if the sea lion finally escaped or not. They were hunting a large sea lion. Breaching, heading, spy hopping, and pouncing. They hunt like cats!
Megan Black

February 4 - Puget Sound 
5:09 p.m. - They have now past Camano State Park still heading north......seemed to me like 3 females and one baby. (Notes by Melisa Pinnow, Center for Whale Research: These ones are probably the T100Bs and T124A1 . They were up at San Juan on Jan 29th.)
Marilyn Arbruster
Pod of 4, traveling steadily northbound up Saratoga Passage mid channel -
Camano State Park in background. 
Photo by Marilyn Armbruster, February 4, 2016 
3:58 p.m. - Passing in front of Dog House, downtown Langely, Whidbey Island -
now mid channel.
Photo by Marilyn Armbruster, February 4, 2016 
3:50 p.m. - They have just passed marina and just this side of Langley east. They are moving somewhat a leisurely pace.
3:35 p.m. - Sitting above Langley they come at Sandy Point just east of Langley, saw one blow.
Marilyn Armbruster
2:43 p.m. - 4 orcas near the Clinton ferry terminal on Whidbey. Just saw them on the crossing. initially headed west. Can't tell if they were going north into Saratoga Passage or south into Possession Sound...First had them right in front of the boat headed west when we were mid channel. then they went under and found them again just out from the Whidbey dock. ...on the way home the ferry captain announced orcas just off the bow. We had a super close and headed straight on pop up within about 5 feet of the stopped ferry then they dove under and didn't come back up.
Amy Carey


February 1 
T101's east bound off of Victoria.
Photo by Mark Malleson, February 1, 2016 


January 25 
Saw two maybe three orcas south Camano Island west side. About 3:00pm. Second time I have seen orcas first time in my kayak. They where traveling south then came in close to shore maybe looking for something to eat. Picture was taken with a point and shoot water proof camera, south end of Camano Island west side just off shore of Wilkes Gary Hts Road. It is about a half mile up from the south tip of the Island.
Andrew Dillon

 Pod of orcas  southbound Saratoga Passage with Whidbey Island in the back ground.   
Photo by Andrew Dillon, January 25, 2016 

Photo by Andrew Dillon, January 25, 2016  
Fin whale
February 1 
Had to google it to ID it. Fin whale spotted off Duwamish Head, Elliott Bay, on Monday, Feb. 1 about 2:30 p.m. Moving very slowly, gradually headed north. Someone in a row boat (!) was standing up taking pictures. Hope someone sent one to you. I saw a huge back, what I thought was a back. Rounded and gray. At first I thought it was a humpback, and that's what I was googling for today. What threw me was that 'in front' it had a sharp dark 'thing' stick out, so at first I thought it was a gigantic sea lion. Then I realized that I didn't know what it was, but it was large enough to be a whale, just one I hadn't seen before. When I saw the picture online of the fin whale in September that's when I knew what it was. I saw nothing else. Slowly moving north.
Robyn Fritz


January 23 
I want to report what I think was a fin whale sighting. I've done a lot of research and cannot find that it would be anything other than the fin whale. The color, length and serpentine-like shape tic all the boxes for a fin whale. It was sighted by the lighthouse on Vashon Island last weekend. Feeding and traveling. My friend and I saw the whale, light brown or light grey in color, long and serpentine in appearance, maybe 30 to 35 feet in length, and solitary. The length is a rough estimate of course. It came up a couple of times for air as it slithered along almost snake like, blowing spray from his (or her) blow hole, and then came up a third time and dove deeper, as its body rose up with greater undulation and disappeared. Maybe feeding? We didn't see it after that.
Thought you might like to know. Exciting,
Celia Reno
My name is Tom. I am a friend of Celia's and I was with her when we sighted
the whale from the eastside of Vashon Island. He was about 200 yards off
shore. I've seen sea lions before and harbor seals, especially when I was
living in Everett. I had a kayak and I would see them down by the Everett
Waterfront. I know what we saw on the 23rd was nothing like those mammals.
I've also seen Orcas in Puget Sound and Grey Whales and the whale we saw
was different. This one was longer and its body undulated as it swam along.
I saw it take a couple of breaths from his blow hole on top of his head and
the spray, judging from distance, was about 7 to 8 feet high. He dove
deeper after seemingly filling his lungs, and when he did dive below the
undulations of his body (there were 2 or 3 bumps breaching the water)
compressed more tightly so that I could see air between his body and the
top of the water. If he had a dorsal fin it was smaller, certainly not the
size of an Orca's dorsal fin. I don't recall seeing his fluke come out of
the water when he disappeared. If it did it wasn't very dramatic. I just
remember that he seemed long, almost snake like, and his coloring was light
brown to grey. Hope this helps!
Tom Hodie
Gray whales
February 4 
Gray whale also reported by the WS Ferries at 4:15 outside Eagle Harbor, headed west.
4:15 p.m. - Gray whale seen from Bainbridge ferry at mouth of Eagle Harbor, near ferry marker bouys south end.
Daniel Lipinski
One of the monitors spotted a Gray Whale between Vashon and Fauntleroy at 12:55 today. It was closer to Fauntleroy. It surfaced twice and showed it's fluke before diving. We have completed pile driving for the day. No pile driving is planned tomorrow or this weekend.
Burt Miller, WSF  
Unidentified whale
January 31 
9:43 a.m. - Just noted spray and tail north of Johnson Point, Case Inlet, southeast of Harstine Island, southwest of Key Peninsula, heading west....too far away and mostly spray. Hump was dark and we did see a tail once.
Tina Davis  

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.