The Whale Trail, Seal Sitters and friends ‘Welcome the Orcas’ while watching them!

12:42 PM: While that was the message displayed alongside Mike the inflatable orca outside the Alki Bathhouse, steps away, “Welcome the Orcas” attendees got to put it into action:

The orcas that we mentioned earlier were in sight in the distance. Indoors, you can learn about them – and kids’ activities include ornament-making and face-painting:

The celebration presented by The Whale Trail and Seal Sitters, with some other partners, is on until 2 pm. As for the whales themselves – unpredictable, and magnificent.

ADDED 2:07 PM: A few more scenes from our visit to the celebration. Above, Whale Trail founder/executive director Donna Sandstrom with orca-costumed volunteers. Below, one of the orca-photo signs from the mini-parade:

Inside the bathhouse, all-ages environmental education:

Another of the partner organizations, SR3:

The timing of the celebration is based on the fact that the Southern Resident orcas usually return to Puget Sound in fall to chase salmon runs – the food on which they rely. The endangered whales have been in a brighter spotlight this fall after a task force appointed by the governor – with Sandstrom among its members – released a report with recommendations on how to save them from going extinct.

2 Replies to "The Whale Trail, Seal Sitters and friends 'Welcome the Orcas' while watching them!"

  • a west seattle resident December 3, 2018 (12:45 pm)

    “Protect Whales Watch From Shore”  seems to impart a lot of blame on those who use the waterways.  A better message would be “Protect Whales, Keep Your Trash and Chemicals from Polluting the Environment”.  If people are not allowed to venture into the environment, how will they know the harm of their actions?

    • Donna Sandstrom December 3, 2018 (2:17 pm)

      There are three reasons the orcas are endangered: lack of salmon, toxin accumulations and noise and disturbance from vessels. These work together like a three-legged stool, each impacting the other. It’s not one of these things, but all.Orcas are the top predator in the sea. Toxins are stored in their blubber and mothers’ milk. When the orcas are stressed or hungry, they may start digesting their blubber. Toxins are released into their bloodstream, making them more susceptible to disease. Noise and disturbance from boats makes it harder for the orcas to find food and communicate with each other, making them stressed and hungry…and so it goes.Reducing noise is the most effective thing we can do in  we can do in the near term to give the whales the best chance to find what food is there.  With three pregnant females in the population – one each in J, K and L pod – there is even more reason to act and no time to wait.The southern resident orcas have lived here for tens of thousands of years. In one generation, starting with the captures in the 60s, we’ve brought them to the edge of extinction. If we don’t change what we are doing, they could go extinct in less than 100 years.Washington State moved boldly to protect these whales by stopping the Sea World captures in 1976. Now it’s our turn. We can each reduce toxin inputs into Puget Sound, recover salmon habitat, and create quieter seas. Watch whales from shore, and be part of the solution for the orcas.  Join us at C&P Coffee tomorrow night at 7 PM to continue the conversation!

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