West Seattle Whale Watch: Orcas spotted here again

December 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 12 Comments

“We live at Alki Point and spotted a family of Orcas this morning at 8:30 am heading south,” reports Jeff Morgante, sharing these photos (thank you!).

According to comments on the Orca Network‘s Facebook page, two groups of orcas have been sighted off Vashon/Maury Islands in the past few hours – this was likely one of them. As always, if you’re near the water, keep an eye out, since they’ll have to head back north sometime!

ADDED EARLY SUNDAY: Alisa Lemire Brooks recorded this video as one group headed back north in Colvos Passage, between Vashon’s west side and the Kitsap Peninsula:

She shared it via the aforementioned Orca Network page.

12 Comments

  1. Nice photos Jeff!!!

    Comment by Guy — 3:00 pm December 29, 2012 #

  2. Darn I missed them again!

    Comment by Rosa2u2 — 3:33 pm December 29, 2012 #

  3. According to the Orca Network on facebook, they should emerging into view in West Seattle from the northwest side of Blake Island headed north any minute now.

    Comment by Kae — 3:48 pm December 29, 2012 #

  4. I think they’re right in front of Manchester now. Getting too dark to see!

    Comment by Kae — 4:09 pm December 29, 2012 #

  5. We missed them too – went down to look but nowhere in sight – but the good news seems to be that they’re making relatively frequent appearances so there’ll be another chance sometime soon!

    Comment by WSB — 4:40 pm December 29, 2012 #

  6. Beautiful animals…thanks for sharing the pics, WSB….

    Comment by Rves — 5:18 pm December 29, 2012 #

  7. In the video, particularly in the last minute, a boat is seen immediately adjacent to the pod. It is not maintaining the required minimum separation distance. It appears to have some type of official marking.

    Can anyone comment on this? This is inappropriate, if not illegal, separation.

    Comment by Pibal — 9:24 am December 30, 2012 #

  8. It’s a NOAA logo, and research boats are often out when the orcas are. While the video certainly appears as if it is traveling virtually on top of the whales, I wondered while viewing if that was a deceptive perspective given that I believe the video was shot from shore, and likely with a significant zoom. I don’t know the specifics, though, of the terms under which they are allowed to operate.

    Comment by WSB — 9:38 am December 30, 2012 #

  9. Pibal- you’re absolutely correct! The symbol on the boat looks to me like a NOAA symbol, most likely one of their small boat being used for research. I guess they’re exempt from the law?

    Comment by Beth W — 9:39 am December 30, 2012 #

  10. This is my video.
    The boat in question is a NOAA Research boat. They are exempt from the 200 yard rule when under research permit so that they can collect poop, prey (salmon), and biopsy samples. These particular researchers on the boat have studied and worked on behalf of these endangered resident orca for 20 plus years and are very skilled at avoiding contact with the orca (who know these humans quite well). Their research boat is close but perspective is always tricky.
    -Alisa

    Comment by seewhatsealionsstart — 3:03 pm December 30, 2012 #

  11. I was hoping that was the case. Thank you Alisa, great video!

    Comment by Pibal — 3:36 pm December 30, 2012 #

  12. Thanks WSB for sharing my video, I quite like and respect your blog. Pibal, thanks…is great when people show concern for the orca, they need all our care and help. Lovely day with them it was.

    Comment by seewhatsealionsstart — 11:23 pm December 30, 2012 #

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