Whale watchers rejoice as orca sightings increase around Puget Sound

Whale watchers are rejoicing as more sightings of killer whales have been happening around Puget Sound. Experts told KIRO 7 that we’re seeing both Southern Residents and Transient or Biggs around the sound.

Brittany Philbin captured a rare video of J-Pod killer whales inside Quartermaster Harbor on Monday.

“There was a lot of tail slapping going on where kind of one whale would tail slap and it would go down the line and everyone would tail slap and they would stay in kind of a loose group going back and forth about 400 yards,” Philbin said.

Orcas were also spotted around Elliot Bay, Duwamish Waterway, and Alki Beach.

“I don’t really think I recognize one or the other but I’m just happy to see them,” James Hiershe said. He came out to Alki to try to see them.

“One of the most magical things about Seattle are the orcas. They’re, just, they’re magic,” Kathy Knopoff, a longtime whale watcher, said. “I saw that they were in Alki so I got in my car and started heading up to Alki and it was like. ‘Oh, no, we’re too late,’ they’ve already passed it so we came here to Constellation.”

KIRO 7 spoke with Whitney Neugebauer, the executive director of Whale Scout, who explained that it’s the food attracting the Biggs and Southern Residents to inland waters.

“They’re after their food so in recent years we have been seeing more and more of the Biggs Orcas. Colleagues at the Orca Behavior Institute just came out and said this year has broken the record already and it’s only early November so with these trends it seems like they’re around to stay,” Neugebauer said.