West Seattle Blog... » Seen at sea http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 08 Oct 2015 18:05:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 PHOTOS: Orca sightings off West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/west-seattle-whale-watching-orcas-south-of-alki-point/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/west-seattle-whale-watching-orcas-south-of-alki-point/#comments Mon, 05 Oct 2015 00:43:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324965

(ADDED: Photo by Paul Brannan - orca off Fauntleroy)

5:43 PM: Caller says a few orcas are southbound – playfully, not speedily – off Constellation Park south of Alki Point right now. Might be “transients,” which Orca Network says have been in the central Sound today. Let us know if you see them!

7:46 PM: Adding a photo – thanks, Paul!

8:25 PM: And thanks to Araya Casey Photography for sharing these images:

The photos were taken in the Alki area.

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West Seattle whale watching: Sightings reported in Alki area http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-whale-watching-sightings-reported-in-alki-area/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-whale-watching-sightings-reported-in-alki-area/#comments Mon, 28 Sep 2015 17:51:23 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324324

(Photo taken from Alki today, by Trileigh Tucker)

10:51 AM: Multiple reports of whales in the Alki Point vicinity. First, the Orca Network cited a WSF report of orcas; Jeff from Killer Whale Tales says it might instead be the humpbacks that have been in the area. Off to look!

11:24 AM: Breezy morning so lots of whitecaps off both Constellation Park and Alki – hard to see whale spouts unless you’re really close (or have a great eye/telescope). Jeff says the humpbacks have been breaching in the ferry lanes north of Alki Point. (West Seattle-based The Whale Trail offers a species-by-species guide if you’re not sure you’d know the difference between a humpback and an orca.)

12:41 PM: West Seattle photographer Trileigh Tucker saw one from Alki – and has the photo to prove it. Added above – thanks!

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Off West Seattle, cruise season’s about to end until next year http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/off-west-seattle-cruise-seasons-about-to-end-until-next-year/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/off-west-seattle-cruise-seasons-about-to-end-until-next-year/#comments Sun, 27 Sep 2015 22:28:09 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324240 Around 4 pm, Holland America Line’s Amsterdam and Noordam and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl are scheduled to sail out of Elliott Bay, ending the 2015 Seattle cruise season. According to the Port of Seattle‘s media advisory for the departures:

For the eighth year in a row, Port of Seattle cruise terminals welcomed over 800,000 revenue passengers. This year brought 192 cruise ship calls. Seattle’s cruise business — currently leading all cruise homeports on the West Coast in passenger volume — is responsible for over 3,600 jobs, $441 million in annual business revenue, and $17.2 million annually in state and local tax revenues. Each homeported cruise vessel brings $2.5 million to the local economy.

Amsterdam and Noordam are leaving Pier 91 in Magnolia; Norwegian Pearl is sailing from Pier 66 downtown.

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West Seattle whale watching: Sighting near Fauntleroy ferry dock; northbound at sunset http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-whale-watching-sighting-near-fauntleroy-ferry-dock/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-whale-watching-sighting-near-fauntleroy-ferry-dock/#comments Sun, 27 Sep 2015 00:08:13 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324167 5:08 PM: Via Orca Network on Twitter and Facebook, “Washington State Ferries reports a large whale, probably a humpback, off the Fauntleroy dock in West Seattle.” Please let us know if you see it (and which way it seems to be heading)!

6:50 PM: Sheri reports, via Twitter, that she just saw it dive off Lincoln Park, and that it’s heading north.

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More hope for Puget Sound’s Southern Resident Killer Whales: Fifth baby orca in less than a year! http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/more-hope-for-puget-sounds-southern-resident-killer-whales-fifth-baby-orca-in-less-than-a-year/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/more-hope-for-puget-sounds-southern-resident-killer-whales-fifth-baby-orca-in-less-than-a-year/#comments Tue, 08 Sep 2015 05:12:10 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=322104

For the fifth time in less than a year, Puget Sound’s Southern Resident Killer Whales have welcomed a baby. The Instagram-shared photo above and news release below are from the Center for Whale Research:

Today there was another new baby in the L pod! L91 was first seen near Sooke, BC this morning with a very newborn calf, confirmed a few hours later by Mark Malleson off Victoria, BC and CWR staffers, Dave Ellifrit and Melissa Pinnow, and by colleagues Drs. John Durban, Holly Fearnbach, and Lance Barrett-Lennard.

These latter colleagues happened to be in the area conducting a sequel to CWR aerial measurements of all of the SRKW’s (Southern Resident Killer Whales), this time with a very sophisticated hexacopter (Unmanned Aerial System – UAS, or drone). The measurements were accomplished on the US side of the border as Dave and Melissa took numerous identification photographs from the research vessel “Orca” at a respectful distance. The new calf is designated L122, and is the fifth new baby to come into the population since December, 2014. The mother and baby and other L pod whales spent the afternoon and evening in Haro Strait ‘fishing’, and by day’s end were joined by J and K pod members.

In the forty-year history of ORCA SURVEY, a long-term photo-identification study of this whale population, the greatest number of calves born in a year was 9 in 1977, and there were none born that survived in 2013 or 2014. We hope this year’s ‘baby boom’ represents a turnaround in what has been a negative population trend in recent years.

The four babies born in the previous nine months:
*J52 in March
*L121 in late February
*J51 in mid-February
*J50 last December

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West Seattle whale watching: Sighting in Elliott Bay http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-whale-watching-sighting-in-elliott-bay/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/west-seattle-whale-watching-sighting-in-elliott-bay/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 15:46:10 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=321838 If you have eyes on Elliott Bay, watch for spouts. Ian reports via Twitter that he’s seen multiple spouts by an unknown type of whale that’s “made a huge circle of the bay.” (P.S. Our most recent sighting report was last Sunday, humpbacks near Alki Point.)

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West Seattle whale watching: Alki Point sighting this morning http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-whale-watching-alki-point-sighting-this-morning/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-whale-watching-alki-point-sighting-this-morning/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 20:58:28 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=321339

Thanks to Guy and Joy Smith for the photo and this report:

At 9 o’clock this am, we saw 2 marine mammals traveling south off Alki Point. They were exhaling big clouds of steam and we knew they were too large to be either Harbor or Dall’s Porpoises. We grabbed our handy guide, handed out by the Whale Trail organization at the Bath House this summer, and it indicates they were probably Minke whales. They are in the 20 to 30 foot range and that’s about what we guessed. Wikipedia says their dives can be up to 20 minutes. If we had known to wait that long we might have gotten another picture.

Obviously Guy and Joy saw more than just this photo, so they were gauging by more than what’s seen in the photo, but the fin also looks like it could have been a humpback. Anyone else see these whales?

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West Seattle whales: Orcas reported, heading southbound http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-whales-orcas-reported-heading-southbound/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-whales-orcas-reported-heading-southbound/#comments Sat, 22 Aug 2015 21:41:54 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=320609 Three reports of orcas off our shores – most recently, just before 2:30 pm, off Beach Drive in the Me-Kwa-Mooks vicinity, headed southbound. As always, we hope you’ll let us know (comments or text/voice 206-293-6302) if you see them!

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West Seattle whale watching: Orcas reported to be heading this way http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-whale-watching-orcas-reported-to-be-heading-this-way/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-whale-watching-orcas-reported-to-be-heading-this-way/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 19:07:13 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=320269 ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:07 PM: Just texted by Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales: Orcas reported to be in Elliott Bay, headed toward Alki. On our way to look; please let us know if you see them!

1:26 PM UPDATE: We looked from Constellation Park, around Duwamish Head and beyond, no sightings, and we’ve heard nothing further; checked the Orca Network as well, and assuming this is the group of “transient” killer whales their readers spotted, they have no further sightings either, with speculation the whales might have gone into Kitsap waters. Could turn up later!

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West Seattle scene: Tsunami-debris barge has arrived http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-scene-looks-like-the-tsunami-debris-barge-arrived-early/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/west-seattle-scene-looks-like-the-tsunami-debris-barge-arrived-early/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 17:03:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=319093 Last night, we mentioned a barge full of trash including tsunami debris was expected at Waste Management Northwest‘s South Park dock in time for a media event tomorrow morning. Looks like it’ll be there in plenty of time:

Steve just sent these photos from the low bridge as a barge matching the WMNW photos went through, headed southbound on the Duwamish River:

Here’s more backstory – including some details we didn’t have in last night’s story – the barge is the Dioskouroi.

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Barge with unusual cargo that’ll pass West Seattle on Friday: Tsunami debris http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/barge-with-unusual-cargo-thatll-pass-west-seattle-on-friday-tsunami-debris/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/barge-with-unusual-cargo-thatll-pass-west-seattle-on-friday-tsunami-debris/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 01:41:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=319043

(Photos courtesy Waste Management NW)
From the “what you’ll see at sea” file: Waste Management Northwest says the 300-foot barge you see above is on its way to its South Park dock after a trip to Alaska…

… where helicopters were used to pick up more than 3,000 super sacks filled with hundreds of tons of marine debris, each weighing approximately 400 pounds.

A significant amount of the collected debris was generated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and was subsequently deposited by winds and currents along the remote coastlines of Alaska and Canada. … The barge will arrive and unload the super sacks of marine debris on Waste Management’s Seattle dock. In a few weeks, local environmental volunteer groups will sort the material for recycling at an event coordinated by Parley for the Oceans, a national non-profit focused on addressing threats to the world’s oceans. Material Innovation company Bionic Yarn will then transform the sorted marine debris plastic into high-performance textiles and polymers. All remaining debris will travel via train to the Columbia Ridge landfill.

WM isn’t sure yet exactly when the barge will enter the Duwamish River; it’s hosting a media briefing at 11 am this Friday (August 7th) and the barge is expected to be docked by then.

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Also happening today: Seattle Grind canoe races, from Alki http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/also-happening-today-seattle-grind-canoe-racing-from-alki/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/also-happening-today-seattle-grind-canoe-racing-from-alki/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 18:12:42 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=318588

Thanks to Kathryn Schledwitz for sharing photos from Alki with news that the Seattle Grind canoe races are under way this morning. The women/mixed long-course racers are paddling from Alki to Blake Island and back right now.

The Lake Union-based Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club organizes the races. This year they’re running a short course too, 4 miles along Alki, scheduled for a 2:30 pm run, after the 12:30 pm long-course men’s race.

P.S. A different group of paddlers will be racing from Alki later this month – the Great Cross-Sound Race on August 22nd.

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AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Seafair Parade of Ships, visible from West Seattle shores, after Blue Angels flyby http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/happening-now-seafair-parade-of-ships-visible-from-west-seattle-shores/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/happening-now-seafair-parade-of-ships-visible-from-west-seattle-shores/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:31:41 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=318328

(ADDED: Photo by David Hutchinson)
12:31 PM: We’re on the shore at Duwamish Head as the Seafair Parade of Ships fleet comes into view to the northwest, passing Bainbridge Island, with the amphibious-assault ship USS Boxer (looks like an aircraft carrier, but isn’t) in the lead. And, as also previewed this morning …

(WSB photo by Tracy Record)
… the Blue Angels have just flown by, after buzzing the Mariners-game crowd at Safeco Field, now en route to a Whidbey Island flyover.

(ADDED: Photo by Robert Spears, post-Safeco, pre-West Seattle)
Still time to get to the Alki/Duwamish Head/etc. shore if you want to watch the ships. More to come.

(ADDED: Photo by Gary Jones)
1 PM: Right on time, the lead ships are making the turn at Alki Point and heading along the north/northwest-facing West Seattle shore.

1:25 PM: USS Boxer is now fully in view from Duwamish Head, with two destroyers to follow, fireboat Leschi ahead of it, and a Coast Guard patrol escort alongside it.

(ADDED: USS Boxer photo by Lynn Hall)

(ADDED: Photo by Monica Zaborac – USCGC Midgett and HMCS Brandon)

1:48 PM: The parade continues; USS Boxer is now turning northward along the downtown waterfront, right behind the water-spouting fireboat Leschi.

More spectators out here than in years past, on the shore and in the water via kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. If you’ve missed earlier coverage – the ships will dock on the waterfront at Piers 66, 69, and 90, where they’ll be open for tours the next four days.

HMCS Whitehorse is next, followed by HMCS Brandon.

2:03 PM: And that’s it – at least from West Seattle, though we can still see the ships on their “official” downtown passes. Thanks to everyone who’s sending photos – we’ll be adding (and substituting) shortly!

(ADDED: Photos by David Hutchinson – CGC Midgett, above, USS Boxer, below)

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Seafair in West Seattle: Fleet arrival before parade tomorrow; Blue Angels technicians @ South Seattle College on Friday http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/seafair-in-west-seattle-fleet-arrival-before-parade-tomorrow-blue-angels-technicians-south-seattle-college-on-friday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/seafair-in-west-seattle-fleet-arrival-before-parade-tomorrow-blue-angels-technicians-south-seattle-college-on-friday/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 20:53:45 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=318237 Two Seafair/U.S. Navy notes:

FLEET ARRIVING, PARADE TOMORROW: Thanks to Lynn Hall for that photo of the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) arriving today in advance of the Seafair Parade of Ships tomorrow and tours Thursday-Sunday. As first previewed here last week, the Dewey is one of seven ships (U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Canadian Navy) you’ll see in the seagoing parade, which should pass West Seattle’s north-facing shores around 1 pm tomorrow.

BLUE ANGELS TECHNICIANS AT SSC ON FRIDAY: Three years ago, we covered a Blue Angels pilot and support-crew member speaking at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) on Seafair Friday. This year, two technicians from the support team are due at SSC, which says the presentation is open to the public:

Two US Navy Blue Angels technicians will hold an hour-long presentation and audience Q&A at South Seattle College on Friday, July 31, to provide a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes support that goes into Blue Angels performances, including the Seafair shows this weekend.

The presentation occurs from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on July 31 in the Olympic Hall Auditorium at South’s West Seattle campus. The free event is open to the public, with limited seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Petty Officer of the Navy 1st Class Zoltan Prestridge (aviation maintenance control team) and Petty Officer of the Navy 2nd Class Cyrille Sandusky (aviation electrician crew chief) will discuss the background and training that led to their position with the Blue Angels, and what it’s like to ensure the safety of pilots’ planes as they perform aerial stunts.

The Blue Angels’ visit was coordinated by the Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance (AWAM) Chapter 19, a student club made up of female aeronautical technicians in training at South. Whether training in the Aviation Maintenance Technology or Aerospace Composite Technology programs at the college, the experience will be memorable for South aviation students.

“We share an industry and a passion (with the speakers) … and their experiences are highly educational and motivational for all of us,” AWAM club member Sherry Loeser said.

Olympic Hall is on the south end of the campus (6000 16th SW). The Blue Angels’ practice airshow that day isn’t until 1:40 pm, enabling the technicians to visit in the morning.

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U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian lineup set for Seafair Parade of Ships past West Seattle, plus tours http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/u-s-navy-u-s-coast-guard-canadian-lineup-set-for-seafair-parade-of-ships-past-west-seattle-plus-tours/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/07/u-s-navy-u-s-coast-guard-canadian-lineup-set-for-seafair-parade-of-ships-past-west-seattle-plus-tours/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 21:11:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=317486

(US Navy file photo of USS Boxer)

One week from tomorrow, it’s the next Seafair event you can watch without leaving West Seattle – the Parade of Ships, sailing past our shores on Wednesday afternoon, July 29th. And today, we know which ships are participating: Comprising this year’s Seafair fleet are the U.S. Navy’s 844-foot amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4 – it looks like an aircraft carrier) and guided-missile destroyers USS Gridley (DDG 101) and USS Dewey (DDG 105), plus one U.S. Coast Guard vessel – 378-foot CGC Midgett – and three Royal Canadian Navy ships, 440-foot HMCS Vancouver, 181-foot HMCS Whitehorse, and 181-foot HMCS Brandon. (Read more about them on the Seafair website.)

The ships will pass West Seattle in the 1 pm vicinity on July 29th, then past downtown around 1:45 pm, and circling back to their docks. Then the following day, tours start. From the Seafair website:


U.S. Navy:
Guided-Missile Destroyer USS Gridley
Guided-Missile Destroyer USS Dewey

U.S. Coast Guard:
High-Endurance Cutter CGC Midgett

Thursday, July 30 – Saturday, August 1
9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, August 2

12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.



Royal Canadian Navy:
HMCS Brandon

HMCS Whitehorse

Thursday, July 30 – Saturday, August 1
9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, August 2

12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.



U.S. Navy:
Amphibious Assault Ship USS Boxer (LHD 4)

Royal Canadian Navy:
HMCS Vancouver

Thursday, July 30 – Sunday, August 2
12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

See the Seafair website for important info before you go take the tours, which are free. For the Parade of Ships – just find a spot along the shore, from Alki to Jack Block (or of course downtown).

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