WEST SEATTLE WHALES: Beluga sighting reported in Elliott Bay

This afternoon, Kersti Muul texted us as an FYI that a beluga whale had been spotted in Tacoma’s Commencement Bay. Then this evening, she got word of what’s probably the same one, seen off West Seattle.

The photo is by Shannon Felix, who was kayaking near Jack Block Park at the time of the sighting, around 5:30 pm. This is way out of the usual range for belugas, which – as explained in this NOAA fact sheet – are generally Arctic dwellers. But they can stray – we found this report of one off San Diego last year. Kersti says she’s consulted a beluga researcher to confirm that’s what this is.

14 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE WHALES: Beluga sighting reported in Elliott Bay"

  • Jared October 4, 2021 (9:14 pm)

    Wow!  We have contemplated traveling to see these beautiful animals.  Congrats to the lucky paddler with such a special sighting.  Very curious indeed what might bring it down this far.

  • Michelle October 4, 2021 (9:19 pm)

    That’s incredible! I hope it is okay and can find it’s way back home. 

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul October 4, 2021 (10:14 pm)

    I assume it’s spending time in bays due to its natural diet. There are lots of squid and fish and octopus in Eliott Bay, and opalescent squid season is right around the corner. While exciting, it’s not great that it is here. If seen would be a good idea to call WRAS, as it could be in ferry and ship lanes


  • waikikigirl October 5, 2021 (7:02 am)

    OH NO Licorice was just released by the Aquarium a few days ago!!! HIDE Licorice, HIDE!!!

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul October 5, 2021 (8:03 am)

    Visibility is rough today!Also, along with considering reporting to WRAS, call NOAAs stranding hotline. While technically not a “stranding” an animal this far out of its range falls under that jurisdiction. Looking forward to any further sightings so we can see what may be going on with this animal!And if in a boat, please maintain the legal distance. Animal may be Ill or stressed out as well as being a long way out of range.NOAA Stranding network:1-866-767-6114

  • anonyme October 5, 2021 (8:20 am)

    While it would be exciting to see a beluga, it’s worrisome that it is here in Puget Sound.  I’m definitely worried about it – and Licorice, too!  Unfortunately, it’s legal to hunt octopus anywhere in Puget Sound.  There was an uproar a few years back when some guy pulled a Licorice out of the water on Alki and bludgeoned it to death.  As usual, humans are the animals to be wary of.  Be safe, beautiful creatures, and stay away from humans and their machines.

    • bild October 5, 2021 (11:52 am)

      sounds like somebody’s never tried takoyaki.

      • anonyme October 5, 2021 (2:32 pm)

        Actually, I have. I’ve since learned about how intelligent these animals are. It helped me grow a conscience. Compassion is never a bad choice.

      • shellyblaze October 5, 2021 (3:32 pm)

        not all of us torture animals to death for our protein. it’s 2021 now. 

  • Rick October 5, 2021 (8:48 am)

    One of my favorite critters!

  • Lynn Shimamoto October 5, 2021 (9:14 am)

    Please – if you see a beluga whale, immediately call Seal Sitters hotline at 206-905-SEAL (206-905-7325).  NOAA stranding network partners are standing by with boats and observers to locate and monitor the whale.  If you have an older report, please call Orca Network at 1-866-ORCANET.  You can send photos and video to info@orcanetwork.org and Alisa@orcanetwork.org.Seal Sitters is the NOAA Stranding Network for West Seattle.  Call our hotline if you see a stranded marine mammal, dead or alive.  

    And remember, it’s now harbor seal pupping season. Newly weaned, vulnerable pups are showing up on our shores.  Please give them lots of space and call the hotline at 206-905-SEAL.  

  • Fiwa Jcbbb October 5, 2021 (4:36 pm)

    Baby Beluga in the Salish Sea…Swim so wild, why don’t you swim to me? Ferries above…and Ivar’s signs below….And a little white whale on the GO! Sorry Raffi.

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul October 5, 2021 (6:08 pm)

    The Beluga was still around the area today, not as close but still around. 

    • anonyme October 6, 2021 (6:41 am)

      I hope someone is following to warn off boats.

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