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Whale Sighting Report  

In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Photo of the Day
Southern Residents
Bigg's/Transient killer whales
Coastal killer whales
Humpback whales
Gray whales
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Orca Network recommends:
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, volume 3, by Howard Garrett

Orcas in Our Midst,

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May 18,  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.
Spring in the northwest brings with it a plethora of Bigg's/Transient killer whale encounters and this week is no exception. We've daily reports of pods all over the inland waters of the Salish Sea, many of which consist of gatherings of multiple pods in large numbers. We are fortunate to live in a place where so many humans take an interest in these wild roaming beauties, know these families well, and share their observations of these magnificent beings. Such a blessing.  

Exciting to have the K12s & K13s show up along with J pod & L87 who travels with them the morning of May 13th off Victoria.  They headed east very spread out and spent time around in Haro and eastern Juan de Fuca Straits. You can find CWR's full detailed accounting from their time with Js & Ks & L87 at  Center for Whale Research Encounter 44.

Gray whale #723, the first to arrive on February 17th,  appears to be the last to stay. We received a report of him in north Puget Sound yesterday. We feel very fortunate to have this unique population come so close and share our home waters each year, we wish them well until we meet again.

Cascadia Research Collective has posted their information from the necropsy on the Gray whale that had been drifting around Puget Sound for several weeks, unable to dive. The necropsy revealed what was suspected, that there was air inside the chest cavity that prevented this poor young female Gray from diving, which means it couldn't feed. More will be known when lab test results arrive. CRC's Necropsy information and photos.

UPCOMING EVENT: The San Juan Island Naturalist Program is looking for outgoing volunteers (who have completed the Marine Naturalist Training or equivalent, or have extensive knowledge and experience with Southern Resident orcas and the marine life of the Salish Sea) who are interested in sharing their knowledge and passion about whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem with visitors at Land Bank's Westside Preserve. Please join us for a volunteer orientation and training at the Friday Harbor Fire Station meeting room on West St. on Sunday May 22nd at 2:00 pm. REGISTER for the training or ask any questions by emailing

Orca Network
Photo of the Day
May 17 
Whale watching aboard the Washington State Ferries at it's finest.
"Transient orcas chasing Dall's porpoise. When you get back on the ferry to go home and you are met with sights like this right before you enter the harbor of your tiny island paradise!"
Photo by Katie Jones, May 17, 2016 
Southern Residents
May 13 
Excerpt from Center for Whale Research Encounter 44 Summary: The morning started before 9am with Jane Cogan calling to relay an earlier report of 20+ whales coming in off the Victoria waterfront and that she was now hearing them on the Lime Kiln Hydrophone. Mark Malleson got out on the water and found the whales in Mike 1 and then reported to us that the K12's and K13's were present along with J pod and L87...

K33 westbound south of Discovery Island on the evening of May 13th.
Photo by Mark Malleson 

All the stars aligned, and I was able to spend the evening on the water with my family, , and members of J & K pod.
Photo by Rachel Haight, May 13, 2016 

Photo by Rachel Haight, May 13, 2016 

Photo by Rachel Haight, May 13, 2016 

Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca as many J's and a few K's foraged and socialized between Salmon Bank and Hein Bank. So great to see them having some down time with each other! Southern Resident Killer Whale, J19 Shachi, born in 1979, decided she was going to give us a really close "swim by" off our stern! Sometimes, these animals are just as curious about us, as we are of them. Moments like this are so short lived.
Renee Beitzell

Southern Resident Killer Whale, J19 Shachi, born in 1979.
Photo by Renee Beitzel, May 13, 2016 

J19 Schachi
Photo by Renee Beitzel, May 13, 2016 

L87 Onyx
Photo by Renee Beitzel, May 13, 2016 

Exciting to see the Js and the Ks today off the south side of San Juan Island. Good to see that Scoter, K25 is doing well, despite having been tagged by NOAA. Note scar on side of his dorsal fin.
Photo by Capt. Jim Maya, May 13, 2016 

K33 Tika.
Photo by Capt Jim Maya, May 13, 2016 


K33 & J34 north of Discovery Island headed for San Juan Island in the morning.
Photo by Mark Malleson, May 13, 2016
(Taken under permit # MML-001) 
Bigg's/Transient killer whales
May 17 - San Juan Islands
I had a delightful sunset encounter with the T75Bs and T77s tonight in San Juan Channel, just outside of Friday Harbor.
Photo by Traci Walter, May 17, 2016 

Transient orcas chasing Dall's porpoise. When you get back on the ferry to go home and you are met with sights like this right before you enter the harbor of your tiny island paradise! YES! What an incredible 'welcome home'! (see photo of the day)
Katie Jones

May 17 - Puget Sound 
6:52 p.m. - still there, line of sight Double Bluff from Brackets Landing North in Edmonds, several miles away.
Sherman Page
6:31 p.m. -  pod on kill (looks like!) line of sight middle of Admiralty Inlet between Point No Point and south Whidbey. Lots of thrashing.. Breaches.. Etc.  After spending most of the day cruising the far reaches of Puget Sound, taking in this beautiful day - And, all the while keeping an eye out for reported Orcas - It wasn't until we returned home that I spotted an Orca Pod many miles west in Admiralty Inlet. Spotted this Pod of Transient Orcas this evening line of sight well east of Point No Point and South Of Useless Bay (South Whidbey Island). The behavior of the Orcas seems very likely they had made a kill and became very active! Long distance video from north Edmonds shoreline to subjects 4-5 miles out.
Stu Davidson

Spotted this Pod of Transient Orcas this evening line of sight well east of Point No Point and South Of Useless Bay (South Whidbey Island). The behavior of the Orcas seems very likely they had made a kill and became very active!
Video by Stu Davidson, May 17, 2016 

5:58 p.m. - 1 orca passing Apple Tree Point, Kingston. Was out towards the shipping lane, northbound. Only saw 1 and only surfaced one time.
Sara Frey
1:34 p.m. - At Alki light house. See 3 dorsals between me and Southworth through binocs. Can't confirm orcas. They were slowly making their way south then vanished.
Charles Vednley
12:37 p.m. - Orcas Southworth, northbound slowly , some milling , one large male wavy dorsal, two smaller whales and one juvenile..Inside Blake and Port Orchard.
Wayne McFarland, WSF

Unidentified Bigg's/Transient with a Harbor porpoise near Southworth ferry terminal, Puget Sound.
Photo by Wayne McFarland, May 17, 2016 

12:20 - Charlie on the Sealth ferry from Southworth saw at least three orcas go after a harbor porpoise about 1/4 mile from shore near the ferry terminal. They seemed to leave then suddenly they were back and the porpoise got hit. They were slowly trending northward.
10:36 a.m. - One orca just seen going north from Reddings Beach.
Lark Pelling
9:37 a.m. - Seeing sprays off Owens Beach...still in Colvos, closer to Gig Harbor side (with location help from Melissa Burke)
JJ Davern
8:01 a.m. - Southbound. Just passed Reddings Beach, we saw 3. One might have been young. Seemed smaller than the others. They were diving quite a bit but moving steadily down the passage. (southbound)
Lark Pelling
5:50 a.m. - I saw three orcas entering Colvos Passage, between Vashon Island and Kitsap Peninsula (Southworth) just before 6am May 17. Traveling south. At least one juvenile. Photo is of the largest whale of the group; taken from Southworth ferry dock.
Photo by Kelli Gracia, May 17, 2016 


May 16 - San Juan Island 
We had the T36As, T65As, T65Bs, T93, T97, T99s, and T123s,  in San Juan Channel and then Speiden Channel. From about 12:30-2:45.
Sara Hysong-Shimazu

Line of whales in front of Spieden Island.
Left to right:  T65A, T99B, T36A3, T65A4, upside down whale don't know who?, T65B1 (tail slapping), and T65B behind him.
Photo by Sara Hysong-Shimazu, May 16, 2016 

T65A power porpoising through Spieden Channel, Spieden Island in the background.
Photo by Sara Hysong-Shimazu, May 16, 2016 

Breacher unknown,  middle whale is T99, and the whale on the right is T99B.
Photo by Sara Hysong-Shimazu, May 16, 2016 

Bigg's killer whale encounter! It's such a humbling experience sharing this ecosystem with some of the most sentient beings on this Earth. We spent the day with nearly twenty mammal-hunting Bigg's killer whales and watched as they made predation event after predation event, and entered into a period of very social bliss towards the end of the day.
Watching that many individuals, listing to the phonemail vocalizations through our hydrophone, and witnessing that kind of tactile behavior from this eco-type of killer whale is incredibly rare!! They're usually very quiet, inconspicuous, and stealthy to exploit their intelligent marine-mammal prey ...Pictured here are the T036A's, T065A's, T065B's (sisters who were also seen here exactly a year ago to the date), T093, T097, T99's, and the T123's.
Heather MacIntyre

Nice tight traveling families.
Photo by Heather MacIntyre, May 16, 2016 

A moment of serenity...
Photo by Heather MacIntyre, May 16, 2016 

T123A cartwheel.
Photo by Heather MacIntyre, May 16, 2016 

Present were the T036A's, T065A's, T065B's, T093, T097, T099's, and the T123's.
Video by Heather MacIntyre,
Maya's Legacy Whale Watching, Friday Harbor, Washington

May 16 -  Puget Sound 
8:22 p.m. -four rounding north corner north at lighthouse.
7:47 p.m. - Two orca between Dash point pier and ferry. Close to Vashon side by barge.
Meghan Davis-Van Horn
7:28 p.m. - they are right next to the barge off Maury island headed north still.
Brittany Gordon
7:00 p.m. - 2 at least heading east between south end of Maury and Ruston Way.
John Troup
6:54 p.m. - they are right around this spot (google photo shows south end Maury Island)... lots of thrashing and tail slapping. Sharing meal (s) with multiple Eagles.
6:28 p.m. - milling/feeding still near ferry lane trending towards Quatermaster Harbor.
Melissa Burke
6:28 p.m. - looks like they are heading back up the east side of Vashon Island heading north. 6:18 p.m. -  at the ferry landing three Orcas close to Vashon moving towards Tacoma sort of.
Bill Clogston
6:09 p.m. - milling directly behind ferry inbound for Tacoma. Looks like they made a kill. Small boat with them at respectful distance.
Photo taken from shore about 2.5 miles away by Melissa Burke, May 16, 2016 

6:00 p.m. - Elizabeth called from Dash Pt. State Park in Tacoma reporting a small pod of orcas heading east very close to the pier.
5:25 p.m. - Amy Carey relayed a report of orcas traveling back and forth in the ferry lanes off the south end of Vashon Island.


May 15  - Strait of Georgia 
T99s in Georgia Strait. Gorgeous eye patches!
Photo by Gary Sutton, May 15, 2016

And speaking of gorgeous eye patches...T97.
Photo by Gary Sutton, May 15, 2016 

T99C, T99, and T36A3 Georgia Strait.
Photo by Tasli Shaw, May 15, 2016 

May 15  - Puget Sound 
Around 2:00. Found these guys inside the Sound, north of Kingston. I saw 3 adult males, at least 3 little ones, 2 juveniles and a lot of adult females. Was 3:30 when they quit and headed back to Admiralty Inlet. (Yep thats T137A, T137, and T137B - Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research)
Mike Potts

T137 leads her family through familiar waters of Puget Sound, near Kingston.
Photo by Mike Potts, May 15, 2016 

Her 14 year-old son, T137A...
Photo by Mike Potts 

and her 10-year old T137B.
Photo by Mike Potts, May 15, 2016 

Photo by Mike Potts, May 15, 2016 

2:51 p.m.  - they seem to be back in a "on a kill behavior".. Lots of breaches, tail lobs, air twists, back-n-forth'ing etc. They are still well south of Useless Bay between line of sight to Point No Point from north Edmonds.
Stu Davidson

North Puget Sound Transient Orcas visit today - May 15th, 2016. First spotted heading north between Eglon and Point No Point - nearer to the Kitsap Side (although east of Shipping Lanes). The Pod then crossed and went more north and in the direction of Useless Bay (South Whidbey Island). Half way through this viewing the pod again turned and went back towards the Kitsap Side and headed south.
Video by Stu Davidson, May 15, 2016 

2:30 p.m. - Saw a small active pod of orcas (3) off Whidbey, we were heading towards Edmonds. Swimming- tail slap, breach, 6 in a row.
Russ Glaser
2:19 p.m. -  Orcas breaching and tail slapping etc. Line of sight now between north Edmonds and double bluff. I would say maybe five.. Saw large dorsal
2:00 p.m. -  they are now north of my line of sight of Point no Point from north Edmonds. They are well east of Point no Point. Maybe on a kill.. Stalled and lots of gulls overhead. Got long distance video going
1:36 p.m. - Got Orcas (seen a couple so far) between Eglon and Point no point... Moving north towards Point no Point. Going to try long distance video.
Stu Davidson

May 15 - Hood Canal 
4:48 p.m. - They're still there. North of Salisbury Park. You can see them in the distance just hanging out off of Point Hannon.
Pat Johns
3:43 p.m. - Still off of Salsberry Park can see them in the distance from the dock.
Jenny Williams
1:54 p.m. - Just passed Salisbury point park. Heading north.
Stacey Smith McCracken

11:00 a.m. - Orcas in Hood Canal today, I observed 4. Off the Spit south of Bangor, heading north towards the bridge.
Photo by Randal Kimball, May 15, 2016 

May 15 - San Juans 
Listened to Transients vocalizing on OrcaSound from  9:35-11:25 a.m.
Alisa Lemire Brooks, Orca Network
9:35 a.m. -Transient orcas vocalizing on OrcaSound hydrophone. Thanks to Melissa Howes for posting (9:17 a.m.) and Ed Brooks for the heads up.


May 14 -Strait of Georgia 
T93 and T97 hanging out in the Straight of Georgia.
Photo by Tasli Shaw, May 14, 2016 

May 14 - Puget Sound 
5:00 p.m. - (photo below) This was taken about 1/2 mile due west of Golden Gardens...I'm sorry that we couldn't better capture the feeding frenzy which was taking place right before our eyes! We estimate 4-5 orcas.
Regards, Jaimeson Keegan

Bigg's off Golden Gardens, north Seattle.
Photo by Jaimeson Keegan, May 14, 2016
(Fromd Dave Ellifrit, Center for Wahle Research: "The male looks like it could be T137A but it's a little tough to confirm.") 

May 14 - Hood Canal 
7:15 p.m. - I wish to report the sighting of at least 4 orca on May 14th at approximately 7:15pm across from Sisters point about 200 yards off the south shore of lower Hood Canal past the heading rapidly in the direction of Twanoh State Park.  I assume these are the same Transient Orca which were observed Friday the 13th south of Dewato.  They were fairly spread out and appeared to be hunting.
Mark Dennison

6:13 p.m. - Just spotted 4+ orcas (including what appeared to be a large male) during a walk on the beach, approximately 3 miles south of Dewatto Bay. Orcas were a couple hundred yards offshore, and heading south.
Photo by Tristan Peter-Contesse, May 14, 2016 

4:50 p.m. - Saw them  heading south past Ayock Point.
Lindsay Plethe
1:55 p.m. - Triton Cove heading south.
Josh Cihak
1:20 p.m. - Orcas, 5 including 1 male-long fin, 2 med size, 2 smaller. ... One would separate, then slap flukes or tail with others in group 100-150 ft away. First saw off Lofall. Group proceeded slowly up to Hood Canal Bridge. Much blowing and huffing. Male had very long, skinny dorsal with no droop at tip.
Caroljean Mitchell
We had a great day on the Chilkat Express, heading into Hood Canal to find the group of Transients that have been hanging out there. We found not 4 (as reported) but 6/possibly 7 orcas! T75B and her one year old T75B2 were there, but so was another smaller calf (with a different female, I think T77)! Could it be a new one? Thanks Sara Hysong-Shimazu for helping me ID the T77s.
Justine Buckmaster

Hood Canal, male is T77B
Phhoto by Justine Buckmaster, May 14, 2016
(ID by Sara Hysong-Shimazu) 

Photo by Justine Buckmaster, May 14, 2016 

Chilkat Express, Puget Sound Express, with the T's in Hood Canal just south of Hood Point in the middle. 1200. Heading north at 4kts.
Rob Anderson
We saw three orcas in Hood Canal at noon off the girlscout camp (mile marker 317 ) about half way up the canal. They were heading north. Two females and a small one.
Debbie Harrington

11:48 a.m. - Just saw 3-4 come up for air across from Triton Cove, Hood Canal closer to the Kitsap side.
Paul Nelson Jr
Photo by Lori Jane Nelson, May 14, 2016 

For the past several weeks, Bigg's Killer Whales or Transients have been hanging out in the Southern Hood Canal area. Well, we were finally able to get a peek at them. Unfortunately, we were at Triton Cove, and they were on the opposite side heading North between Frenchmans Cove and Hood Point. The distance across the water is greater than two miles at this point, which made it difficult for my wife to get any shots, even with her 600mm lens. But even so, here's a couple of the best she could get, even at that distance. (Photo by Lori Jane Nelson above)
Paul Nelson Jr
10:00 a.m. - Passed Ayock Point heading north.
Jourdan Bates
8:30 a.m. - Orca sighting on Hood Canal. Saw at least four Orcas near the public dock in Hoodsport at 8:30 this morning. Playing.
Kenneth Conrad
8:30 a.m. - Group of 4-5 spotted near western shore of Hood Canal between Potlatch and Hoodsport headed north just before opening of shrimping season many boats around. Some splashing and feeding, but mostly in direct transit north. One large male, several smaller females.
Daniel Nye

Bigg's traveling north in Hood Canal, between Hoodsport & Potlatch.
Photo by Daniel Nye, May 14, 2016 

6:15 a.m. - We saw 6-7 orcas, three adult size orcas (one male very large) and three dolphin size babies, three miles west of Twanoh State Park/boat launch in Hood Canal WA today at 6:15am. Heading northwest. Playing with three small babies. Very small. Please note that is opening day for Hood Canal shrimping and boat traffic will be very high in the area today.
Mike Sly

A family of Bigg's deep in the reaches of Hood Canal, three miles west of Twanoh State Park/boat launch.
Photo by Mike Sly, May 14, 2016 


May 13 - Hood Canal 
8:41 p.m. - Just saw them passing Ayock point heading north! So happy they are still here
Jourdan Bates
7:14 p.m. - Several orcas in Hood Canal observed from Cougar Spit to Dewatto bay heading north at a solid clip. Looks like a male and family(?) with at least two small ones. Defiantly orcas. Not Dolphins
Brad Lambert

Mid channel tonight - around 7:10 pm - off of Dewatto with Lillewaup in background.
Photo by Brad Lambert, May 13, 2016 

May 13 - Puget Sound 
5:35 p.m. - Large pod enjoying a family dinner together viewed north from the 440pm Seattle Bainbridge ferry! What a treat!
Chelsea Morgan Ramsey
A friend on the 4:40 ferry from Seattle to BI saw at least 3 orcas near Blakely Rock, heading south.
Amy Fowler
Orcas just spotted from the 4:40 Seattle to Bainbridge ferry..can't say which direction they are traveling..lots of birds enjoying the scraps.
Sue Surowiec Larkin
Just got an email from a birder friend at Richmond Beach. At least four Orcas headed north at 10:45.
Josh Adams
On the 9:40 Kingston to Edmonds ferry and we passed at least three to four orcas a male female and a calf. North of the ferry lanes headed towards Kingston side.
Kendra Baird


May 12 
Transient orca's passing Lagoon Point.
Taken from shore looking over towards Port Townsend and Marrowstone Island.
Photo by Marilyn Armbruster, May 12, 2016 
Coastal killer whales
May 14 - Oregon 
10:00 a.m. - Whale sighting off the coast of Oregon. 4-5 orcas (possible male as one bigger than the others). North end of Heceta Bank 44*11.779'N   124*48.721'W.  Birds and seals were feeding on a bait ball. Then the Orca's showed up and were eating the bait. Some of the seals left immediately. When the bait was gone the whale turned their attention to the seals. Most of the seals were able to get away except of a group of 25.
These the Orca's seemed to be teaching the baby's (2) how to herd the seals into a tight ball. Then one of the adults would come out of the water and land on them. Then the seals would run and it would start all over. We didn't see the whale eat or bite any seals. There was no blood in the water. We were about 1/2 miles away halibut fishing.
Larry Smith

May 14- California 
Received a call this morning reporting a sighting of two killer whales attacking a gray whale calf off Bodega Bay CA on Saturday, May 14. He was fishing off Carmet when he saw the gray whales and the orca predation. He says he has video of the event.  
Dave Wannell (sp?)
Humpback whales
May 13
Spent part of the evening on the water with my family & the humpback Split Fin BCZ0298 (2006 calf of Big Mama BCY0324) at Eastern Bank around 6:00p.m.
Photo by Rachel Haight, May 13, 2016 
Gray whales
May 17 
10:16 a.m. - Gray #723 still hanging around just north of Possession Point about midway in the channel. Spotted from the Chilkat.


May 15 
ID'd by Renee Beitzel who was on scene as Grays 723 and 21.
9:53 a.m. -  Stu Davidson reports seen whale blows, surfacing, and flukes. South of Scatchet and Possession Point - Chilkat nearby.
Stu Davidson
May 14 
1:09 p.m. - With a large gray whale moving north at Camano Head.
Peter Hanke


May 13 
Gray #723 east side of Gedney Island around 4:00 p.m.
Photo by Ron Reeves, May 13, 2016 


May 8 
6:20 p.m. - 4 gray whales passing Pt Arena Lighthouse.  That's naked eye. May be more. This is late in the season.
Meg McDonald


May 4 
CA coast whale report here. 2 gray whales lingering at mouth of Klamath River.
Meg McDonald

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.