West Seattle Whale Watch: Orcas pass this way, northbound

December 3, 2012 at 10:31 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 18 Comments

(Added: Photo by Mike Scharer)
FIRST REPORT, 10:31 AM: According to a post on the Orca Network‘s Facebook wall, orcas were off Maury Island as of less than an hour ago, headed northbound – which means, headed this way. Let us know if you see them; we’ll be on the lookout too.

(Added: This photo and next one by Gary Jones, as orcas passed Alki Point)
11:49 AM UPDATE: Shirley just posted a comment from The Arroyos saying they’re visible but very close to the Vashon side. So – if you have good binoculars (or find Donna from The Whale Trail – she has extras) – you may be able to see them from Lincoln Park, Beach Drive, etc. soon.

1:23 PM UPDATE: Donna called a few minutes ago to say there were two groups, one off north Vashon, one passing Blake Island. Commenters are seeing them too, including Gary Jones seeing some near Alki Point. For our part, we just came back from a shore check from the point to Jacobsen Road, and apparently just missed them.

18 Comments

  1. We’ll be down there, with extra binoculars! See you on The Whale Trail (starting at Lincoln Park, then moving north to Me-Kwa-Mooks and Alki). It generally takes over an hour for them to get from Pt Robinson to West Seattle…

    Comment by Donna, The Whale Trail — 11:16 am December 3, 2012 #

  2. Glad to hear that, because I have to finish at least one entirely unrelated story before heading down the hill to look :)

    Comment by WSB — 11:18 am December 3, 2012 #

  3. Can see the orca from the Arroyos but need binoculars. They are very close to Vashon

    Comment by Shirley — 11:47 am December 3, 2012 #

  4. Saw single orcas a few times from Lincoln Park, way over on Vashon side, still south of the ferry line when I came back into protect my optics from the rain. I could barely see them even with binoculars once the fog rolled in. Will check again shortly and let you know.

    Comment by Trileigh — 12:41 pm December 3, 2012 #

  5. Have seen 20 or more from Vashon Ferry Dock over the last 15 minutes. Could see them without binoculars, although better with. Heading northbound, closer to West Seattle.

    Comment by Chuchacho — 12:53 pm December 3, 2012 #

  6. Orcas N of Vashon at 1:00 pm, heading north

    Comment by bn — 1:00 pm December 3, 2012 #

  7. Easily visible off n Lincoln Park! Can see w naked eye!

    Comment by Trileigh — 1:03 pm December 3, 2012 #

  8. Orcas heading north just south of Alki Point.

    Comment by Gary Jones — 1:17 pm December 3, 2012 #

  9. Just passed La Rustica and heading north to the lighthouse!!!!

    Comment by montanapup — 1:36 pm December 3, 2012 #

  10. We spotted at least three Orcas midway between Alki Beach and Bainbridge Island just a few minutes ago. They seem to be slowly moving northward up the Sound. Can be easily seen with binoculars, near a small boat that is following their passage.

    Comment by Patrick Binns — 1:48 pm December 3, 2012 #

  11. Spectacular orca show today off the south tip of Alki! Maybe 10-15 whales breaching, tail lobbing, spy hopping, plus mom w/baby, a few big males – absolutely beautiful. Thanks to out of town visitors (Paul and Anne?) for keeping me in the loop while we waited for the whales and to Mike for sharing beautiful pics of our big black and white buddies. Also thanks to WSB and Orca Network for putting out the word. This is the kind of thing that makes me really love West Seattle.

    Comment by enviromaven — 2:59 pm December 3, 2012 #

  12. Great fun! The whale trail folks were there and allowed me to borrow binoculars. The whales were visible to the eye at places.

    Comment by scout 1 — 3:12 pm December 3, 2012 #

  13. How I’d love to see them but I must work… :>( so keep the pictures coming!

    Comment by DPM — 4:38 pm December 3, 2012 #

  14. I saw 10 or so. Beautiful sight to see.

    Comment by Guy — 6:03 pm December 3, 2012 #

  15. My husband and I moved to the are this past July. A super culture shock as you can imagine. Through course of conversation we were introduced to your site. Thank you so much for posting pictures of the area and of wonderful sightings as the Orcas. I haven’t been able to make it to see the beauty and wonder, but I get so excited and giddy seeing the photos and knowing the creatures are just around the corner. Thank you so much!

    Comment by Katherine Rintoul — 7:14 am December 4, 2012 #

  16. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwiDKi7JqD4&sns=em

    Comment by WhatThe — 7:39 am December 4, 2012 #

  17. Yeah, the Vashon videographers have been putting up some great clips lately. I’m wondering if the tail-lobbing is a tactic to corral the fish (they did it in the clip we added last week from the same area), something like the bubbling used by humpbacks in Alaska …

    Comment by WSB — 7:47 am December 4, 2012 #

  18. I wondered the same thing, but one of our regional orca experts said she didn’t see any feeding behavior in this…more like they were socializing and playing. I’m definitely NOT an expert, but I’ve never seen the kind of display we observed yesterday. I hope it means the orcas are healthy and happy!

    Comment by enviromaven — 10:17 am December 4, 2012 #

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