West Seattle whale-watching: Orcas return!


12:40 PM: Thanks to the texter who pointed out that Orca Network spotters are seeing orcas heading this way – southbound from Discovery Park on the north side of Elliott Bay as of a little while ago. So if you can, watch for them from West Seattle shores, and please let us know if you see them; we won’t be able to check for a while.

P.S. Our most-recent whale report involved humpbacks passing by on Saturday – if you only saw the early version, we have since added an awesome photo.

1:33 PM: Another texter says they’re visible from Constellation Park right now.


2:01 PM: Thanks to Gary Jones for photos from Alki Point!

2:54 PM: They’ve passed Fauntleroy, according to comment updates; you’re advised to watch for Mark Sears’s small research boat. From up here on the hillside, we’re seeing seiners apparently chasing the same salmon as the orcas.

3:48 PM: If you’re out watching for the orcas, you might see another type of whale too – one commenter mentions a southbound humpback, while an e-mail tip mentions what looked like a northbound gray headed toward the lighthouse a little while ago. (If you’re not sure what you’re seeing, here’s the ID guide on West Seattle-based The Whale Trail‘s site.)

4:56 PM: Now headed northbound, says Susan in comments.

ADDED MONDAY NIGHT: Thanks to Monica Zaborac for two more photos of the orcas that visited today!



19 Replies to "West Seattle whale-watching: Orcas return!"

  • kathy October 24, 2016 (1:55 pm)

    They  just passed by Constellation Park heading south.

    • WSB October 24, 2016 (1:59 pm)

      Thank you! Gary Jones just sent photos from Alki Point.

  • Jissy October 24, 2016 (2:16 pm)

    They are now 1/2 way between Blake Isl and Lowman Beach!

  • BKRDT October 24, 2016 (2:19 pm)

    I SAW THEM!!!!!! Trying for 8 years and the stars finally aligned (and I happened to check the blog- thanks, WSB) watched them around Blake island and with binoculars as they passed really close to the Vashon ferry dock  

  • Susan October 24, 2016 (2:30 pm)

     Continuing south mid channel, past the Fauntleroy ferry dock.  Look for Mark Sears’ little research boat

    • WSB October 24, 2016 (2:47 pm)

      Thank you all for the updates! And so glad you saw them, BKRDT.

  • Deborah October 24, 2016 (2:59 pm)

    I am new to Alki and seeing the whales swim in these waters would make my day! I just caught onto the WSB reporting on whale sightings & hope to take advantage of everyone’s reporting on here soon!

    • RayWest October 25, 2016 (5:38 am)

      I’ve lived in West Seattle my entire life and have driven around Alki probably tens of thousands of times, but I’ve yet to see any cetaceans!  Doesn’t mean you should stop looking, but it’s hard spotting them. I’m grateful to the WSB for reporting peoples’ sightings. It certainly increases chances of seeing one.

  • BN October 24, 2016 (3:16 pm)

    Also spotted a humpback swimming south between the first and last orcas.

    • WSB October 24, 2016 (3:47 pm)

      Thank you – we have e-mail from someone thinking they saw a gray whale headed north but (absent an image) I’m suspecting it’s a humpback, given their recent presence …

  • Jen October 24, 2016 (3:32 pm)

    Whale spouting off Constellation @ 3:30!

  • Susan October 24, 2016 (4:46 pm)

    Group of 5-6 approaching the Vashon ferry dock from the south…

    • WSB October 24, 2016 (4:53 pm)

      Headed northbound now?

  • Kristina October 24, 2016 (5:26 pm)

    Deborah, welcome to West Seattle!  If you’re really hoping to see whales around here, I suggest you like Orca Network, Whale Scout, and The Whale Trail on Facebook.  When our whales come by they post to their Facebook pages and that’s a good way to track them – in that way, I’ve seen them more times than I can count.  I think WSB gets their info from the various whale groups as well…but liking those pages will increase your chances of catching them on time.  (WSB has to report on EVERYTHING and they do an amazing job of it, truly spectacular.  But the whale groups only report on whales, so they are very timely with their postings.)

    • WSB October 24, 2016 (5:38 pm)

      Actually, we also are lucky to have people contact us when seeing them firsthand, and we appreciate that because this is the only place you will see ONLY West Seattle sightings, rather than sightings from all over the region. Everybody can decide how they want to get their information, but whenever we get a report of West Seattle whales, unless there is some other MASSIVE story happening, it goes up immediately – whales are breaking news for us as much as fires or car crashes. – TR

  • Susan October 24, 2016 (5:44 pm)

    Unfortunately I’m not checking back in until they are past Vashon, yes, heading north. Several small groups strung out. One group entertained us with tail slaps and occasional breaches.  

  • M October 24, 2016 (6:00 pm)

    I watched them for one hour from 3:30 to 4:30 from a viewing area south of Fauntleroy.  I know there were at least 5 as that is the number I counted in my pictures. Even saw some spy hops. Will send a couple pictures once I upload them as I just got home.

  • donchee420 October 24, 2016 (11:02 pm)

    If you no we’re they will be tomorrow please let me no I never say killer whales.Thx David Rose

  • Jason Bell October 26, 2016 (10:05 am)

    Follow Orca Network on Facebook. Check their page often this time of year, including visitor posts. Southern Resident Killer Whales may be around as frequently as multiple visits per week in upcoming weeks. I never saw orcas until I discovered their page last fall and I’ve seen them maybe 15 times since from West Seattle including 3 times in the last couple weeks. I was the texter to WSB their last two visits and was merely relaying info from the ON page. 

Sorry, comment time is over.