Orca Network 

Whale Sighting Report  

In This Issue
Photo of the Day
Southern Residents
Bigg's (Transients)
Humpbacks whales
Gray 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?

Click here  

to order YOUR copy!



  David Kirby  

The bestseller about orcas in captivity


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orca Lolita/Tokitae,

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Tokitae looking up at us from her tank in Miami, FL in the late 1990s 

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February 22,  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.
With this report we bring news of welcoming the first of the returning Gray whales of 2016! On Wednesday the 17th, while out searching for a reported entangled humpback off Edmonds,  blows of a whale seen foraging off south Whidbey Island were checked out and found to be that of gray whale #723, one of the returning "Saratoga" grays.
Peninsula Daily News reports on a Gray whale off Pt. Wilson Tuesday. Perhaps that was Gray whale #723 on the way in to N. Puget Sound? To learn more about Gray whales, visit Orca Network's Gray Whale webpage.

Another update on tagged Southern Resident male K33 Tika tells us he (and presumably all of K pod) continues to spend time  moving up and down the Washington Coast. Last report had them of the mouth of the Columbia River on the 16th. NOAA-NWFSC's  2016 research cruise on the NOAA vessel Bell M. Shimada is underway where they will  try and locate and follow the whales during their winter coastal movements.

A couple of family of Bigg's killer whales were encountered around the San Juan Islands while humpbacks were making their way around Puget Sound.

On the 17th we received reports of an entangled humpback off Edmonds waterfront, but that whale could not be relocated after a search by land, sea, and air. Thank you to everyone who helped look for the entangled humpback: Aaron Simpson for doing an overflight of the area, Stu Davidson who searched on the water and took us along, and all our Sighting Network volunteers and Facebook followers for looking from the land. Please do keep an eye out for this whale over the next days or weeks in case it needs help, and report to us at 1-866-ORCANET if you see it. If possible please get photos and try to describe the location and direction of travel.

Upcoming Event:
On Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17, don't miss the annual "Welcome the Whales Parade and Festival" in Langley to honor and celebrate the arrival of Gray whales to Whidbey Island. Welcome the Whales Festival is sponsored by Orca Network and the Langley Chamber of Commerce. See our Facebook event page for more details.
We'd love to have you join us in welcoming the whales.

Orca Network
Photo of the Day
February  17 
"Sarataoga" grays have arrived. Here is the underside flukeof #723 while on a dive just off Possession Point, south Whidbey Island the afternoon of February 17, 2016.
Photo by Alisa Lemire Brooks, Orca Network 
Southern Residents
February 16 
16 February update - As of the last update on the morning of 9 February K33 and the rest of K pod were near La Push on the outer Washington coast heading south. By the evening of the 10th they were off the entrance to the Columbia River, where they turned north. They gradually continued north reaching the Quinault Canyon area off the Washington coast on the 13th. Here they turned south again such that by the morning of the 15th they were off Willipa Bay. As of this the morning (16th) they were off the mouth of the Columbia River. We are hopeful that K33's tag continues to remain attached into the near future as the NWFSC cruise on the NOAA vessel Bell M. Shimada to locate and follow the whales during their winter coastal movements is scheduled to get underway 20 February.
Map courtesy of Brad Hanson, NOAA-NWFS
NOAA-NWFS 2016 Southern Resident killer whale satellite tagging 
Bigg's (Transient) killer whales
February 20 
4:00 p.m. - T18s -  heading up President's Channel, west side of Orcas Island. 
Photo by Capt. Jim Maya, Maya's Legacy Charters, February 20, 2016 


February 15 
...Orca got on scene at 1142 about a half mile southeast of Turn Island mid-strait just a little closer to the SJI side than the Lopez Island side. The whales were the T60's and T2B again. T2B, T60, and T60F were actively engaged in the attack on a harbor seal who was trying to take refuge by a stray piece of kelp....The whales exited Cattle Pass and headed southeast in a loose group. Orca ended the encounter at 1452 about three quarters of mile east of the Salmon bank buoy. Read full CWR Encounter #11 report.
Dave Ellifrit , Center for Whale Research

T60C engaged in a headstand.
Photo by Dave Ellifrit, Center For Whale Research, February 15, 2016 

Steady rain but at 9:00 AM news of a pod of Orcas off of Eagle Pt., headed toward America's Camp. We had scheduled a 10:00 AM trip, rather than the usual 1:00 departure, thankfully. By 2:30 we had searched down to the southern tip of Lopez Island, with no luck. Figuring that we had either passed them, or that they had turned up San Juan Ch., we turned around. Twenty minutes later I spotted the T60s near Whale Rocks, heading east. They must have turned up the channel, into an ebb tide, and decided to go into the quiet waters off of South Lopez. Shortly after spotting them they made a kill, and we were so fortunate to be able to watch them as they fed off the kill. I would guess perhaps a couple of seals were on the menu. Here are a few images from the day.
Capt Jim Maya, Maya's Legacy Charters 

The T60s - a family of five - T60 and her 4 offspring T60C, T60D, T60E, T60F.
Photo by Capt. Jim Maya, February 15, 2016 

Photo by Capt. Jim Maya, February 15, 2016  
Photo by Capt. Jim Maya, February 15, 2016  

Photo by Capt. Jim Maya, February 15, 2016  
Humpback whales
February 21 
1:25 p.m. - A sighting of very small fluke of what looks to be whale at Devils Head - South Sound (Anderson Island/Key Peninsula) Looked like it was alone. We could not see it going toward Johnson Point, so guessing it went back toward north side of Anderson Island. Very eye catching activity of water disruption and then fluke - over and over. (unconfirmed species, but we've had several humpback sightings in the south Sound the past weeks)
Robin Matthews


February 19 
4:13 p.m. - Humpback traveling north in Colvos passage mid-channel off Prospect Point, Olalla.
Clif Alferness


February 18 
11:00 a.m. - Our homeschool group thinks we saw a humpback from Owen Beach at Point Defiance/south Vashon around 11am this morning! Definitely saw a tail and maybe it's back.
Jess Bennett Hogan


February 17 
UPDATE -- we heard back that the possibly entangled humpback was traveling NORTH - so those of you onshore north of Edmonds & in the Mukilteo/Clinton area please keep your eyes on the water for a whale trailing an orange buoy. (Humpback not seen again, see Intro summary for more details)
10:38 a.m. - Taking train south from Edmonds. Looks like a humpback close to shore dragging what looks like a crab pot bouy. Wednesday 2/17 10:30am. Can anyone assist?
Paula 'Skippy' Purcell
10:35 a.m.  - Whale fouled in crab pot. Just offshore between Edmonds and Mukilteo. Looks like it is caught up in crab pot gear with orange buoy.
Richard Purcell


February 16 
Amy Carey just relayed a report of a Humpback whale spotted by Aimee Demarest near Dilworth, Vashon Island, heading north, then turning south at a little after 3 pm.


February 15 - south Puget Sound 
12:51 p.m. - We saw it (a humpback whale) again. Today out front Johnson point. In Case Inlet. (confirmed via short video unable to include - SB)
Beth Vendehey

February 15 - north Puget Sound 
9:37 a.m. - Spouts off Marina Beach in Edmonds. We think it's a humpback. Very exciting! It seemed to be headed north, but now from Sunset Ave we saw a whale seemingly headed south.
Tara Bergin


February 14 
9:18 a.m. - Just saw what looked like a humpback from the ferry heading to Fauntleroy. Mid channel, right next to the ferry, on the north side, closer to Lincoln park than Vashon.
Anna Tucker Sander  
Gray whales
February 17 
Approx 2:00 p.m. - Stu and I launched from Edmonds marina to search for the reported entangled humpback. We decided to check out the blows we had seen earlier off Scatchet Head to rule out that whale. We reached the spot of the last blow with no luck so headed northwest towards Useless Bay and could not find the whale. We doubled back and just as we were off Cultus Bay about 2:50 p.m. I spotted a whale off Possession Point. We slowly made our way over to confirm it was a gray whale. We watched it surface and fluke several times back and forth By 3:30 the gray was northbound just east of Possession . Pt. Buoy Whidbey. This whale was not entangled and from video and Stu's photos confirmed this as one of the returning grays, #723.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Orca Network

Gray whale #723 foraging near the green buoy off Possession Point, south Whidbey Island.
Video by Alisa Lemire Brooks, Orca Network
February 17, 2016 


Gray whale #723 surfaces off Possession Point, Whidbey Island.
Photo by Stu Davidson, February 17, 2016 

Cascading waterfall off #723's fluke.
Photo by Stu Davidson, February 17, 2016 

Gray whale #723 fluke topside.
Photo by Stu Davidson, February 17, 2016 

Gray whale #723 fluke underside.
Photo by Stu Davidson, February 17, 2016 

1:18 p.m. -  the whale blows I'm seeing are just west of the long row of waterfront homes on South East Scatchet.
1:16 p.m. -  just spotted a blow just off of Scatchet Head Whidbey island.
Stu Davidson 
9:45 a.m. - Lynn Malecki called to report either a gray whale or a humpback off Columbia Beach, near the Clinton ferry dock on Whidbey Island, in mid-channel, heading south. 

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.