West Seattle Whale Watch update: Orcas in the distance

September 21, 2013 at 10:12 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 21 Comments

(WSB PHOTO ADDED 4:30 PM: Caught 2 in the distance!)

10:12 AM: Just got a text (206-293-6302 any time!) that orcas are heading southbound from the Edmonds area, so you’ll want to keep an eye on our waters. Let us know if you see them – we’ll be on the lookout too.

10:31 AM: Text update says this group has about 20 orcas! Mid-channel.

12:15 PM: They’re not moving all that fast, apparently – newest text has them off Port Madison in north Kitsap County (map). But still southbound.

(PHOTO ADDED SATURDAY EVENING: Trileigh Tucker‘s photo shows orca & freight, research, WSF vessels)
1:52 PM: Finally coming into range, according to our text update – Bainbridge ferry lane. Let us know if/when you actually see them from here!

(WSB PHOTO ADDED 4:30 PM: Whale watchers at Emma Schmitz Overlook)
2:58 PM UPDATE: The orcas are now visible with binoculars looking north in that direction from Alki and Beach Drive, per commenters.

(PHOTO ADDED SATURDAY EVENING: Susan Coles‘ photo shows Donna Sandstrom, next to TWT sign)
4:24 PM UPDATE: We’ve just heard from Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail, who’s watching from south of Alki Point and says the orcas appear to be turning northbound, between Blake and Vashon. Doesn’t mean they won’t change direction again, she warns. Still far from this side, so bring binoculars.

SATURDAY EVENING NOTE: We’ve added photos. As for the whales – we got to go back and watch them as they headed northbound, and last saw them after 5 pm just going past Alki Point, though still close enough to the other side to require binoculars.


  1. New to the area, where is the best place for observing the possible sighting?

    Comment by rick — 10:55 am September 21, 2013 #

  2. Hi Rick,
    Since the whales are headed south, we’ll start watching from Alki Beach looking north, then move to the Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint, just south of the Alki Lighthouse on Beach Drive. If the whales keep heading south (likely) other good spots are Emma Schmitz Memorial Viewpoint (aka Me-Kwa-Mooks), and Lincoln Park.
    These are all clearly marked with Whale Trail signs. Watch for the gathering crowds, and bring binoculars if you have them. (Check our website for details – http://www.thewhaletrail.org). See you down there!

    Comment by Donna, The Whale Trail — 11:30 am September 21, 2013 #

  3. Rick – One good place would be on Alki. I checked the Orca Network’s Facebook page, and as of 11:15 this morning they were still just south of Kingston – so start off on the north side of Alki. Hopefully if they get closer you’ll see people out there with spotting scopes and binoculars.
    Then if we’re lucky enough that they continue south along West Seattle, you can just follow them along Beach Drive to Lincoln Park and beyond.

    Comment by Trileigh — 11:36 am September 21, 2013 #

  4. Orcas now reported south of Shilshole! Keep on coming, gang!

    Comment by Trileigh — 1:00 pm September 21, 2013 #

  5. FYI: A comment on orca network’s FB page has them “south of Rockaway beach, south of discovery park. Looks like maybe there is a research boat with them now. 1:45″

    Comment by Kelly — 1:48 pm September 21, 2013 #

  6. Yes, we just got a text update – and our texters are at the heart of the whale-expert group around here – adding the info. Spotted near Bainbridge ferry lane.

    Comment by WSB — 1:52 pm September 21, 2013 #

  7. J and some of L pod!

    Comment by Kelly — 2:06 pm September 21, 2013 #

  8. At Alki – we think we’re seeing them north of Winslow!

    Comment by Trileigh — 2:07 pm September 21, 2013 #

  9. They are going to pass by while we are covering something we have to do inland shortly, I just know it … ALWAYS happens this way. If anyone gets a photo, please consider sharing … TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:08 pm September 21, 2013 #

  10. Sitting behind our house at the 4800 block of Beach Drive. Can see the Orcas with our telescope shooting straight toward the Bainbridge Ferry.

    Comment by Mendy — 2:49 pm September 21, 2013 #

  11. lots of them just south of Bainbridge Is. – small boat with them, you need a scope or binoculars for a really good view

    Comment by Amanda Gilbert — 2:59 pm September 21, 2013 #

  12. Lots of cheering watchers on south side of Alki!

    Comment by Trileigh — 3:09 pm September 21, 2013 #

  13. Just got back in from watching them (with binocs) from Sunset viewpoint in N.Admiral. We watched as they moved south from just north of Eagle Harbor into the channel south of Bainbridge Island. They are very far over to the Bainbridge side. If they keep heading that way, people on the Vashon/Southworth ferry should get an eyeful soon!

    Comment by Kim — 3:12 pm September 21, 2013 #

  14. They are now visible from Emma Schmitz just north of Blake Island.

    Comment by hj — 3:21 pm September 21, 2013 #

  15. Front row seat from kayak!!!

    Comment by betsy bertiaux — 4:00 pm September 21, 2013 #

  16. Still visible just east of the north side of Vashon

    Comment by Orca — 4:08 pm September 21, 2013 #

  17. Just finished watching them from Lincoln Park. They were milling around the central part of Blake Island, east side, drifting gradually north when I left a few minutes ago.

    Comment by Trileigh — 4:22 pm September 21, 2013 #

  18. Watching from Beach Dr – a group is northbound pasing Eagle Harbor.

    Comment by WSB — 5:30 pm September 21, 2013 #

  19. SOOOO happy WSB got to see them!

    Comment by k — 7:51 pm September 21, 2013 #

  20. Weren’t they beautiful? You really needed binoculars or a scope to see them from Bainbridge too.

    Comment by Connie — 8:28 pm September 21, 2013 #

  21. THIS is why I want to move to Seattle! I love how excited everyone gets to see the whales :)

    Comment by Michelle — 10:49 am October 10, 2013 #

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