West Seattle, Washington
7:46 AM: Orcas are in the area again today! They just passed “super close” ro Constellation Park, southbound, Kersti Muul tells us. And now they’re in view from Emma Schmitz Overlook (4500 block of Beach Drive).
(Added: Photo tweeted by @i8ipod)
8:30 AM: Off Fauntleroy, still SB per comments/emails (thank you!).
9:40 AM: Commenter Kris says at least some have turned back northbound.
(Added: Photos by Robin Sinner)
9:40 AM: For a third consecutive day, Southern Resident Killer Whales are in central Puget Sound. Kersti Muul reports resident orcas were seen passing West Point on the north side of Elliott Bay a little while ago, heading southbound, quickly.
10:11 AM: Commenter Shannon says they’re now in view from Alki, looking toward Bainbridge.
10:21 AM: Donna Sandstrom from The Whale Trail texted to say they’re is at Constellation Park with binoculars to share.
11:22 AM: Just got a text about a sighting near the Fauntleroy ferry dock.
2:36 PM: Just heard again from Donna, and also from Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales, reporting the orcas are now northbound, visible from Lowman Beach/Lincoln Park.
3:11 PM: Donna says they’re visible now from Alki, if you look west/northwest.
For a second day, orcas are reported in central Puget Sound. Kersti Muul says they’re reported southbound. off West Point (north side of Elliott Bay).
(Added: Photos by Robin Sinner)
8:05 AM: Southern Resident orcas are in the area, southbound toward Alki, reports Kersti Muul, who says they’re from L Pod.
8:45 AM: See comments for updates.
9:44 AM: Thanks to everyone for those updates! Kersti noted in her most-recent comments that (a) all three of the endangered Southern Residents’ pods were represented – J, K, and L – and that they’d turned around and headed back northbound.
Just got word from Kersti Muul that transient killer whales are near us in Puget Sound, seen northbound from Southworth. Let us know if you see them!
Thanks for the tips! Multiple reports of orcas in the area, seen from Alki Point and in Elliott Bay.
4:49 PM: Also out on the water on this blustery day – orcas! Kersti Muul tells us whales are southbound off Alki Point. Let us know if you see the black fins among the whitecaps!
5:59 PM: Donna Sandstrom from The Whale Trail just called – no luck watching for them from west-facing West Seattle, so they may have turned around.
9:32 AM: Visibility is a challenge on this foggy morning but just so you know, Kersti Muul reports that the transient orcas seen in the area on Monday are back this morning, this time heading into Elliott Bay.
9:51 AM: Kersti says they’re visible from the Pepperdock Restaurant area on Alki (2600 block Alki Avenue SW).
11:08 AM: Thanks to commenter Sam for the photo!
If you’re in view of Puget Sound west of West Seattle, you might see orcas soon. Kersti Muul says transient killer whales (from the T-18s) are heading this way, reported off Blakely Rock [map], southbound. Let us know if you see them!
(August photo by David Hutchinson)
Today is the final day of the two-month test run for passenger-ferry service between Des Moines and Downtown Seattle. It’s been running four round trips a day, Wednesdays through Saturdays, and should be just now wrapping up its last trip. This past week, in the test run’s final days, a group of West Seattle residents emailed the city of Des Moines to voice concerns about the vessel chartered for the test, the Chilkat Express, saying it’s the loudest boat on the water, and fearing it could have an adverse effect on noise-sensitive Southern Resident Killer Whales. Their letter, on which we were copied, suggested that while Des Moines makes its decision on whether to bring back the service, they should plan to at least engage with noise-reduction initiatives. We followed up with the Des Moines department operating the service, which replied, “One thing to note is that the vessel in operation is primarily used as a whale watching boat and its operation is highly sensitive to that environment so if there was a concern in the area that it’s operating in, we believe it would have undoubtably been noted.” The West Seattle group also contacted the organization that’s been leading the Quiet Sound ship-noise-reduction program; their reply noted that their initial efforts haven’t included passenger vessels but they do have a workgroup in that area, led by Washington State Ferries, and would invite the Chilkat Express’s operator Puget Sound Express to join if they wind up continuing passenger service for Des Moines. Regarding that “if,” the Des Moines plan is to review how the trial period went, but they told us they don’t have a timeline for that review yet.
Southbound orcas were reported off Bainbridge Island, says Kersti Muul, so they may be in view from west-facing West Seattle shores. Let us know if you see them!
4:03 PM: Half a dozen or so southbound orcas are headed this way, reports Kersti Muul, west of the mouth of Elliott Bay.
7:23 PM: In comments, Kersti says this was the first seasonal appearance of Southern Resident Killer Whales! She says they’ve since headed back northbound.
11:12 AM: Transient killer whales are back in central Puget Sound. Kersti Muul says there are reports of southbound orcas off Bainbridge and some further north. Let us know if you see any!
12:57 PM: Update from Kersti – some of the whales are mid-channel between Bainbridge and Seattle, still southbound.
Orcas are reported to be in our area again – transient killer whales (though we’re close to the time of year when the Southern Residents usually arrive). Kersti Muul reports the orcas are in view from Constellation Park, northbound, after previously having been seek off Blake Island. Let us know if you see them!
If you’re commuting by Water Taxi or ferry today – you might have a bonus: At least 4 orcas in Elliott Bay, southbound, reports Kersti Muul.
Thanks to Kersti Muul for the tip – she said what’s likely a baleen whale has been seen in Elliott Bay, fairly close to Don Armeni Boat Ramp at last report. (Humpbacks and grays are the most-commonly seen baleen whales around here.)
Six years have passed since that juvenile humpback whale stranded and died by the Fauntleroy ferry dock. It’s something we’ll never forget seeing – and hearing, as the 39-foot-long whale took her last breaths while people tried to save her. Later this month, the whale will be teaching posthumous lessons as part of a “walkshop” in nearby Lincoln Park. We received the announcement today from the Henry Art Museum, which invites you to the September 24th event “Care for the Stranded“ as part of its “Learning Endings” series:
On August 7, 2016, a juvenile humpback whale died on the beach just south of Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal in West Seattle. This animal was one of hundreds of marine mammals that strand every year on the northwest coast of the Pacific. These ocean-dwelling animals are mostly hidden from humans during their lifetimes, but in a stranding death, they reveal themselves to us, and call on us to care. This care can take many forms — from traditional ceremony, to scientific necropsy, to community vigil. Join Learning Endings collaborators for a forest and shoreline walk of storytelling, conversation, participation, and performance as we collectively consider what the death of the Fauntleroy humpback can teach us about the lives of these animals, those who care for them, and the entangled futures of humans and oceans.
Care for the Stranded is part of Learning Endings, a multi-part project by artists and researchers Patty Chang, Astrida Neimanis, and Aleksija Neimanis. Through a series of events, gatherings, research, and discussions, Learning Endings brings together local communities, scientists, artists, and humanities researchers to consider ecologies of care in a time of endings, with a focus on stranded marine mammals. For this Shoreline Walkshop, the Learning Endings collaborators will be joined by regional knowledge keepers Ken Workman, member of the Duwamish Tribal Council, and research biologist Jessie Huggins, as well as Canadian-based audio artist Anne Bourne.
Participants will meet at 9:30 am Saturday, September 24th, by the north parking lot of Lincoln Park (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW), and will be together for about three hours. There is no fee, but you need to register here (look for the “tickets” link). The Fauntleroy humpback was one of three whale strandings we covered on local shores last decade, along with a gray whale in The Arroyos in April 2010 and a fin whale at Seahurst Park in April 2013.
Thanks to Kersti Muul for the tip – transient killer whales are headed northbound, seen off the south end of Blake Island. Let us know if you see them!
Thanks for the tips! One texter mentioned that transient killer whales were southbound, north of Elliott Bay, so we’ve been checking for word of if/when they were in view from here, and just got that from Kersti Muul, who says they’re visible from Constellation Park, but closer to the Bainbridge Island side, so you’ll definitely need binoculars.
Thanks to Kersti Muul for the report – transient orcas are in Elliott Bay, currently northwest of Duwamish Head. She says some are continuing eastbound into the bay, Let us know if you see them!
Thanks to Kersti Muul for the tip. She says transient orcas have just emerged from Colvos Passage along the west side of Vashon Island and are close to Southworth, visible (with binoculars) from central west-facing West Seattle, heading northbound. Let us know if you see them!
6:56 PM: Earlier we noted orcas were off West Seattle, southbound. If you missed them then – you have another chance; Chris Frankovich just texted to say they are off Three Tree Point, headed northbound toward Seola/The Arroyos. Let us know if you see them!
7:43 PM: Kersti Muul says they’re passing Brace Point now.
Busy day in central Puget Sound – southbound orcas are off West Seattle (as are outrigger canoes and a marathon swimmer). Thanks to tipsters including Gary Jones and Kersti Muul who have sent word of the whales – Gary says they’re just south of Alki Point now, southbound. Let us know if you see them!
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