West Seattle whale watching: Orcas traveling past us again

(Photo by Trileigh Tucker)
8:53 AM: Southbound orcas were seen from the Bainbridge-Seattle ferry about half an hour ago, according to a thread on the Orca Network Facebook page. That could place them off our shores now or soon. Still blustery out there, so you’ll almost certainly need binoculars (also, sounds like they’re closer to the east side of the Sound). Let us know if you see them!

9:38 AM: In comments, Gary noted them passing Alki Point, and we’ve since received Jeff Hogan (Killer Whale Tales)’s text report of a Lincoln Park-area sighting, still southbound. This time of year, they are chasing the chum salmon run – same one that has brought net fishers into view in the past few weeks – so here’s hoping they are finding the food they need for survival.

(Photo by Paul B)
2:27 PM: See comments for the orcas’ travels since then. Donna Sandstrom from The Whale Trail has just posted on Facebook that they’ve turned back northbound and could be passing south West Seattle shores again by 3 pm if they continue their current path. We’ve also added photos from earlier.

3:37 PM: Donna just called – the whales are visible from Lincoln Park, with the blows visible from this side, and she’s off to the South Alki area in about 10 minutes – look for a pod of people watching from shore (she brings excellent binoculars).

20 Replies to "West Seattle whale watching: Orcas traveling past us again"

  • Gary Jones November 22, 2014 (9:16 am)

    There are now just about due west of Alki Point, over on the western side, moving slowly and steadily south.

  • Trileigh November 22, 2014 (9:50 am)

    Just got back from Lowman Beach, where we saw a few far away on the Bainbridge side, north of Winslow.
    Keep us posted, everyone!

  • T & N November 22, 2014 (9:57 am)

    Now off Blake Island

  • westseattledood November 22, 2014 (10:31 am)

    Oh, how I love this time of year!
    Yes keep us posted!

  • Trileigh November 22, 2014 (10:34 am)

    Heading slowly south along east side of Blake Island!

  • westseattledood November 22, 2014 (10:42 am)

    somebody posted on ON that there are a couple near sand barge off Alki heading south? And a single male? in ferry lanes. About 10 minutes ago.

  • Sb November 22, 2014 (11:03 am)

    Just saw 2 from deck in benchview going south towards Blake. Looked like dolphins from so far away but I’m sure they’re massive. Hope they have a big lunch and come back often.

  • teresa m November 22, 2014 (11:19 am)

    Just spotted several ( we could see the fins as they dipped in and out of the water )south of Blake Island, in between the ferry and Vashon Island. Moving south…

  • Carolyn November 22, 2014 (12:22 pm)

    watched them from West Beach for quite a while shortly after noon. Headed south, mid-channel and them moved in closer to Vashon.

  • Carolyn November 22, 2014 (12:28 pm)

    They are still there. Someone is in a little boat with them.

  • cjfranko November 22, 2014 (12:31 pm)

    I see 5 moving slowly just south of the Vashon ferry dock. There is a small boat trailing them.

  • cjfranko November 22, 2014 (2:28 pm)

    They turned around at the safe water beacon at Three Tree Point and are headed back North. We’ve counted about 8 Orcas.

  • Jen November 22, 2014 (2:33 pm)

    Looks like they’ve just turned and are now northbound.
    North end Maury island. Closer to the Vashon side. Big group of whales fairly easy to spot with binocs.

  • Donna, The Whale Trail November 22, 2014 (2:46 pm)

    The boat you’re likely seeing with the whales belongs to researcher Mark Sears, who is out getting IDs today! The whales have turned north and should be visible from West Seattle soon. It is all at least K and L pods, likely J too, and very spread out. See you on The Whale Trail!

    • WSB November 22, 2014 (2:53 pm)

      Thanks for the updates! Going to go take a look from the south-south end. Was lucky enough to see them firsthand during their previous major visit.

  • Rob November 22, 2014 (3:07 pm)

    It s a bad day to be a seal

    • WSB November 22, 2014 (3:24 pm)

      Rob, these aren’t the orcas that eat seals. They eat salmon. The transients are the ones who eat other marine mammals … no sightings of them in all this, today. – TR

  • Cheryl November 22, 2014 (4:14 pm)

    Always makes my heart soar when I hear that the Residents or Transients/Biggs are near our shores. Too bad I can’t just race down to Lincoln Park anymore like I used to be able to for a glimpse, but I’m still SO very appreciative of the WSB for letting us know when they’re in the area. Magical creatures, and we’re so damn lucky to be able to see them in the wild, where they belong. Thanks too to Trileigh for more wonderful pics.

  • anonyme November 22, 2014 (4:26 pm)

    Donna, thanks for the pod info. That’s what I checked the comments for, and lo and behold – there was the answer! You can always count on the WSB for the news that matters most…

  • westseattledood November 22, 2014 (8:26 pm)

    I feel sooooo lucky. Got my binocs and headed down to Constellation Park (south of Alki Lighthouse, for future reference) and from there saw a *huMONGous* male spy hop in front of the Vashon ferry dock area.

    Made. My. Weekend.

    And wasn’t it nice they showed up on a Saturday when more people could run around shorelines and grab ferry’s to get a better viewpoint?


    And Mark Sears, the research boat guy, got a NEW boat – sleek maroon colored with “RESEARCH” painted on the side. Yay for Mark! Yay for the Orcas!

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