(Photo by Gary Jones)
ORIGINAL 10:31 AM REPORT: Just got a call from orca expert Jeff Hogan – J-Pod is headed along the West Seattle shore – from south of Alki toward Lincoln Park. Closer in than usual, he says. Off to go have a look! 11:45 AM: No luck for your editor here but Gary Jones saw them – adding his photo in a moment. He counted at least three more in addition to the one shown in the photo. We’ve also got a Twitter report from @senorfrijole that they’re now in the Three Tree Point vicinity south of West Seattle (in addition to an 11:40 comment below that they were south of the Vashon ferry dock.) Keep an eye out later – maybe they’ll head back north. (Our past orca coverage, including stories with video and photos, is archived here, newest to oldest.) 12:23 PM: Good info in the comments, including this from “Cloudbreak“:
There are WAY more than 4 whales in this group. I would say more like 10-20. They were in several large groups circling over by Vashon when I was on the 11:30 ferry headed eastbound from Vashon.
Across the Sound from West Seattle, they were spotted in Kitsap waters over the past few days – here’s coverage of that. ADDED 1:17 PM: WSB contributing journalist Mary Sheely photographed a group of whale-watchers at Lincoln Park a bit earlier:
The woman in blue is a particularly well-known whale-watcher: Donna Sandstrom, who’s been working on The Whale Trail (explained in this WSB story from June). Mary, by the way, says they DID see the orcas — too far for a photo, but not too far for binoculars. ADDED 3:49 PM: KIRO TV has put up its helicopter video of the orcas as they swam near Vashon – see it here. 5:16 PM: As the awesome folks at Orca Network note in comments, please be sure that they get official detailed reports. Let us know fast so we can get the word out to other West Seattleites that the whales are in view again; they work with official whale-trackers for the longterm record. (And if you see orcas OUTSIDE West Seattle waters, let them know too – they track them from all over – be sure to sign up for their newsletter, which is a nightly bulletin usually full of photos and info – orcanetwork.org.)