West Seattle, Washington
1:38 PM: Thanks for the multiple tips – orcas are headed northbound past West Seattle this afternoon. Kersti Muul says they’re Southern Resident Killer Whales – J-Pod, to be specific. Midchannel past The Arroyos as of about 20 minutes ago, says Alison via Twitter. Let us know if you see them!
P.S. The SRKW were already in the news today because of Gov. Inslee’s budget proposal and its recommendations for helping them. We’re working on a followup.
1:46 PM: Now in the Fauntleroy ferry lanes, per text from Kersti.
2:45 PM: Photos added – thank you! Kersti says the whales were passing Constellation Park as of about half an hour ago.
The Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship returned to West Seattle twice today/tonight – starting just before sunset at Don Armeni Boat Ramp, as seen in David Hutchinson‘s photo above, following an afternoon stop in South Park. After a break and a visit to Bainbridge Island, the Spirit of Seattle made its last West Seattle appearance of 2018, serenading Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor):
(WSB video/photos from here on)
The choir Emerald City Voices delivered a set with flashes of humor – as you can hear in our clip, they opened with “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and before they headed back to the downtown dock, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas“ was among the other songs. We counted 7 boats accompanying the Christmas Ship tonight.
Here’s the schedule for the rest of the season, nightly (and some daytime sailings too) through Christmas Eve-Eve.
7:57 PM: We’re at Lowman Beach, where the Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship has just arrived for its first of four West Seattle stops over two nights. The seasonal serenading, courtesy of on-board singers, will be happening here for about 20 minutes, then on to Alki for an 8:40 pm stop (near the Bathhouse). More to come!
8:17 PM: Great crowd at Lowman.
After a singalong of “Joy to the World,” the Christmas Ship and the 8 boats accompanying it are now Alki-bound.
8:44 PM: The Choir of the Sound is just concluding its first Alki song.
9:05 PM: Sailing back to Pier 55 – but back in West Seattle tomorrow – see our Holiday Guide for the schedule. Photos when we’re back at HQ.
ADDED 10:54 PM: Photos added above and below. As usual, the Alki stop had extra happenings onshore, with Hope Lutheran helping out.
Throughout the holiday season, the Christmas Ship sails around the region with a long list of guest choirs performing Christmas songs.
It’s free to enjoy from shore, or you can buy a ticket to sail on board the Christmas Ship or one of its follow boats – Argosy donates part of the proceeds to charity, as announced during its stops.
10:23 AM: Just heard from Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail that southbound orcas are off Bainbridge Island and headed this way, likely in view from West Seattle shortly. Please let us know if you see them!
11:39 AM: In addition to commenters’ reports, we also got a text of orcas in view from Lowman Beach.
12:41 PM: Updates from Kersti Muul in comments and Donna by phone – the orcas (J Pod) have turned around and are now headed northbound.
2:51 PM: Added a photo sent by Kersti, of her photo taken as a second group of orcas headed NB around 1:30 pm, closer to this side of the Sound.
1:03 PM: Thanks to Kersti Muul for the tip: Orcas are northbound off south Vashon Island! Let us know if you see them.
3:57 PM: No orca updates but Pia called to let us know about a gray-whale sighting in Elliott Bay!
10:42 AM: Thanks to Kersti Muul for the update – orcas are in the area again, headed northbound past the Fauntleroy ferry dock. (On their way to “Welcome the Orcas,” under way at Alki Bathhouse until 2 pm, apparently!) Let us know if you see them.
11:48 AM: Thanks for the updates in comments! Photo added above, from Kersti.
1:30 PM: Thanks to Monica Zaborac for the photos above and below this line, taken while looking toward Vashon.
No recent updates, and those viewing during “Welcome the Orcas“ were looking north from the Alki promenade, so we believe they’re out of view for now – please let us know if that changes!
12:43 PM: Thanks to Kersti Muul for the tip: Resident orcas are back in the area (just in time for tomorrow’s Welcome the Orcas event!) and headed this way. K Pod members were seen northbound off Normandy Park and are currently resting off Burien’s Three Tree Point, Kersti says. Let us know if you see them!
12:50 PM: Now an update from Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales: They’re back on the move, off The Arroyos, and closer to this side of the Sound, so a good viewing opportunity if you can get to the shore!
1:25 PM: Update from Jeff – they’re now off Lincoln Park, still northbound.
2:05 PM: Visible from Constellation Park, according to updates from Jeff and from Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail (which is co-presenting tomorrow’s event).
4 PM: No further reports, and no remaining pods of whale-watchers in view. Photos added!
The photo is from Deidre, one of a half-dozen people who messaged us about the sea-lion carcass floating off Alki today. We checked with Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which confirms this is the most recent of the 13 dead sea lions noted here on Thursday: “Seal Sitters responded yesterday when it rested against the Water Taxi dock. We secured overnight for a visual exam that revealed a suspected gunshot wound. Carcass was too decomposed for necropsy, so we documented with photos and allowed it to drift free.” The most-recent SS update includes numbers for reporting sightings, dead or alive, as well as for contacting investigators with any information on the sea-lion shootings.
Thanks to James Moore for sending the photo, taken around 11 this morning. He reports: “It’s not an orca – but I think it’s a harbor porpoise. It was traveling south just off the Arroyos all by itself and as you can see quite close to shore (they’re usually quite far out and in a group).”
11:09 AM: Thanks for the tips! The orcas are back this morning. Southbound passing Emma Schmitz Overlook, per Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales.
11:18 AM: Kersti Muul says the whales are spread out, north of Blake Island to south.
12:06 PM: In comments, Sydney says they’re now off Lincoln Park. We’ve also added a photo above that Kersti shared from Thursday.
12:53 PM: Per comments, the whales are now northbound.
8:21 AM: Thanks to Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales for the tip: Orcas are southbound in the Fauntleroy ferry lanes right now.
9:32 AM: Still southbound – see comments, with photos including the one we reposted above, from Jsmyth.
4:30 PM: Now northbound, visible from The Arroyos, reports Kersti Muul.
8:40 AM: Again this morning, you have a chance to watch for orcas off West Seattle shores. Kersti Muul tells us they’re headed northbound and about to emerge from Colvos Passage on the west side of Vashon Island, so watching from west-facing West Seattle might yield a sighting. Rain will hamper visibility to some degree – but on the other side, those dorsal fins are extra-visible against silver water. Let us know if you see them!
10:44 AM: Just talked with Donna Sandstrom from The Whale Trail, at Constellation Park looking for the whales. Not in view yet, she says, but visibility is improving.
9:52 AM: Thanks to Kersti Muul for the news that orcas are headed this way again: Southbound, approaching the mouth of Elliott Bay.
10:41 AM: Kersti reports they’re visible from Constellation Park south of Alki Point.
4:05 PM: Kersti says in comments that they’re off south Vashon now.
3:57 PM: You might have seen TV-helicopter aerials of orcas off south Vashon Island earlier today. Kersti Muul sends word the orcas have emerged from Colvos Passage on the west side of Vashon and are northbound in the Southworth vicinity. So if you want to whale-watch, grab your binoculars and take a look from west-facing West Seattle. Let us know if you see them! (And remember that The Whale Trail has an Orca Talk tonight, as featured in our highlights list.)
4:07 PM: Just talked to Kersti. These are residents, she says, and they’re now moving fast – off the south end of Blake. Closer to the west side of the Sound so you DEFINITELY need binoculars.
Usually we point lost/found non-pet listings to their own special WSB section – but we’ll showcase the occasional unusual lost/found item on the front page, like this one. Erin from Brace Point e-mailed: “We lost a buoy and wondering if you could post this picture … contact 206-932-0326 if someone finds it.”
Just got word from Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail that orcas are in the area again – last reported passing Bainbridge Island’s Eagle Harbor, southbound. She’ll be at Constellation Park south of Alki Point if you are looking for expert guidance in looking for them from shore.
12:30 PM: Thanks for the tips! Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales and Kersti Muul both send word of orcas headed southbound, now coming into view midchannel off Alki. Let us know if you see them!
1:06 PM: As Kersti notes in comments, the orcas in the area include Southern Resident Killer Whales. We aren’t able to go look for them due to unrelated events we have to go cover so sightings appreciated, either here or 206-293-6302 (our text/voice 24/7 hotline) – thank you!
1:13 PM: Among those out watching is Donna Sandstrom from The Whale Trail; she says most reports so far are to the north so keep your eyes (and binoculars) pointed that way.
3 PM: Thanks to Kersti for the updates in comments!
7:55 PM: Added above, a photo by David Hutchinson, who explains that it “shows Maya and Mark Sears on their way out of Elliott Bay to document and observe the Southern Resident Orcas that visited our area today. The yellow pennant flying from the stern of their boat has their NOAA permit number.” Below, you can glimpse them and an orca, captured by photographer Anthony K while he was focused on a rainbow:
— anthonyk (@anthonykdrives) November 5, 2018
Thanks to Jim Borrow for the photo! It’s that time of year when purse-seine vessels are seen off West Seattle, fishing commercially for salmon. According to this state Fish and Wildlife Department bulletin (PDF), this type of vessel is allowed to fish in this area of Puget Sound 7 am-6 pm today, and must release chinook and coho.
Thanks to “Diver Laura” James for sharing her newest 360-degree view video from Cove 2 off Seacrest, recorded last night. “Complete with Giant Pacific Octopus!” she notes, adding, for gear aficionados, “Testing out the newest consumer 360 camera. Camera and housing for under $500 and depth rating to 30m / 60 min :). Amazing how fast technology is moving in this space.” If you haven’t viewed 360-degree video online before, you should be able to grab it and pull it around to look up, under, back, forth, etc. (If you can’t, try going directly to YouTube.)
Thanks to Tom Stoner for the photo. That was the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) headed northbound past West Seattle earlier today. It’s been back at Bremerton a little more than a month after the latest stint at sea getting ready for deployment. After deployment, it’s scheduled to relocate to Norfolk, Virginia, and the carrier USS Carl S. Vinson (CVN 70) will be moved to Bremerton for maintenance.
Thanks to Beth for sending the video! She says a rescue operation got the SV Pointless away from Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook on Beach Drive a little while ago. We first mentioned the stuck sailboat on Tuesday; its owners publish Beach Drive Blog and wrote about the situation there.
11:48 AM: Thanks for the photo and tips. Another sailboat in trouble on this slightly blustery day – this one has come ashore at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook on Beach Drive. Seattle Fire has a fireboat and land crew checking it out.
4:19 PM: Several more readers have sent photos of the grounded boat as the day has gone on the one above is from Sarah). Commenters say its owners are aware of the situation.
6:21 PM: The owners are also the publishers of Beach Drive Blog, where they’ve posted more about what happened.
Three sightings of note, in case you wondered too:
CAMP LONG: We received multiple questions late today about a big gathering at Camp Long that has police directing traffic. Hundreds of members of Ethiopian Orthodox churches from around the region are at the park for the annual observance of Meskel (Finding of the True Cross). The city’s Special Events Committee agenda from August notes that this is an annual event that has “grown to require (a) Special Event Permit.” Erika J. Schultz of The Seattle Times photographed the celebration at Camp Long two years ago (scroll down this page).
BEACH DRIVE: Beach Drive Blog noted a sizable turnout of motorcycle riders at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook this morning. The occasion: The local edition of the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, raising money and awareness for men’s health issues.
PUGET SOUND: Thanks to JayDee for this Saturday photo:
That’s the SS Cape Intrepid, a ready-reserve ship long moored in Tacoma, headed out on sea trials, last seen on the MarineTraffic.com tracker as it entered open ocean outside the Strait of Juan de Fuca last night. (JayDee also contributed a photo of this ship almost exactly nine years ago!)