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Thread: Orcas

  1. #1

    Default Orcas

    I saw these while out in PWS last week. They followed me around for 1/2 an hour. Also saw several humpbacks, a gang of about 8 sea lions cruising and 2 black bears. Didn't see a single otter....where do they go? I caught an octopus but am such a pathetic fisher/shrimper that it ended up as dinner instead of bait. Winds leaving Whittier were 25 kts but it was very nice after I left Passage canal. Glad I went...nice 2 day trip.


  2. #2
    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Very cool.

    For Otters, look at around rocks in the entrance of the larger bays. Eaglek and Unakwik hold a ton.

    I know because that's where I hunt them!!
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by tlingitwarrior View Post
    Very cool.

    For Otters, look at around rocks in the entrance of the larger bays. Eaglek and Unakwik hold a ton.

    I know because that's where I hunt them!!
    I was in an area where I saw a zillion of them last year...odd not to see a single one. Just curious if they might seasonally migrate to other areas in the sound.

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    Nice... Great images. Yet another reason why Alaska is a great place :-)

  5. #5
    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    We caw those three a few weeks ago out north east. Was really cool to see and are the first for us in PWS.
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  6. #6

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    I'd never seen them in the wild before and they motored right up to the boat...way cool!! Do you know if PWS is the end of the migration for some of the humpbacks? Seems like a heck of a side trip from Montague if they were going to continue north...but I guess in the perspective of their total migration its more like a couple laps around the block.

  7. #7
    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    No idea about the Orcas route, but we do see humpbacks out there all the time. Seems like they hang out in Passage canal quite often too.
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    Member Ronster's Avatar
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    We had islands of floating otters on the Valdez side this weekend. Probably saw 200-300 of them in a matter of an hour. Also saw more porpoise than I have ever seen in the past, probably 300-400 just on the way back into the Valdez Narrows.

    IMG_1038.jpg

  9. #9
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garyak View Post
    I'd never seen them in the wild before and they motored right up to the boat...way cool!! Do you know if PWS is the end of the migration for some of the humpbacks? Seems like a heck of a side trip from Montague if they were going to continue north...but I guess in the perspective of their total migration its more like a couple laps around the block.
    Yep, plenty of humpbacks call the Sound home in the summer. It's the grays that just pass by the entrance to the Sound on their way much further north.

  10. #10
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    My understanding is that the PWS Orca pod are permanent residents. Also that since the oil spill they haven't been reproducing; their numbers continue to decline.
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    My understanding is that the PWS Orca pod are permanent residents. Also that since the oil spill they haven't been reproducing; their numbers continue to decline.
    I won't argue the point about them being in decline...but maybe this photo shares some good news. As close as they were, they were hard for me to catch with the camera. They would surface briefly on either side of the boat, in front of it and directly behind then vanish for what seemed like several minutes. As best as I could figure there were 7 Orcas and this poorly framed picture is the only one I got that shows all of them. The 2nd,3rd and 5th from the right appear to be quite young...note the small dorsal fins...and at least size wise, much smaller by at least 1/2 or more than the other four. Maybe they're getting a grip again.

  12. #12
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    I think it was the AT1 pod I had read about and was thinking of...

    http://www.evostc.state.ak.us/index.cfm?FA=status.orca

    http://response.restoration.noaa.gov...oil-spill.html

    Very cool images! Hope springs eternal!
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  13. #13
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I've lost more than a few sablefish to those orcas right there. Amazing animals, indeed.

  14. #14
    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    I've seen the PWS orcas many times over the last 18 years, always in somewhat different places. What I haven't seen in 4-5 years are the sea lions over on the east end of the sound. While too many of those does not bode well for spawning salmon runs, a reasonable number could be a sign of a healthy marine ecosystem. Wondering if Ronster saw any in his trip along the east side last weekend? I've seen seals way up the Yukon near Childs Glacier, and was told they go up there to have and rear pups to keep away from the sea lions which can't tolerate the fresh water like the seals can...was quite a surprise to me to see a momma and pup seal pop their heads up near the "million dollar bridge"! that was 10 years ago...

    Back to topic, GARYAK, that last picture of the 7 orcas is priceless! The calm waters last week was a boon to the great photos you and Ronster (otters) took, thanks for sharing those, and the good news on the orca youth

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garyak View Post
    I saw these {Orcas} while out in PWS last week.

    Didn't see a single otter....where do they go?
    You got your answer right there.

    We kind of build up otters for a few weeks out in front of our house, then a pod of Orcas comes through. Every otter for miles is looking for a tree to climb. Gets pretty bloody for the otters stuck out in open water. The others move right up onto the shore, even climbing out on reefs, as well as waaay back into kelp beds. They also get real still and quiet.

    Takes about a week for them to start venturing out into open water again. The Orcas may be gone for another month of so, but the otters can't get their minds past a sneak attack, I think.

  16. #16
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    You got your answer right there.

    We kind of build up otters for a few weeks out in front of our house, then a pod of Orcas comes through. Every otter for miles is looking for a tree to climb. Gets pretty bloody for the otters stuck out in open water. The others move right up onto the shore, even climbing out on reefs, as well as waaay back into kelp beds. They also get real still and quiet.

    Takes about a week for them to start venturing out into open water again. The Orcas may be gone for another month of so, but the otters can't get their minds past a sneak attack, I think.
    It is my understanding that the local pod of PWS orcas are fish eaters only. I hear that the sound of Brian's hydraulics really riles them up. It is the transient pods that eat the otters and other mammals. I believe that the transients (AT1 and AT2 pods) are the ones that are in decline since the 89 spill, too.
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    I've lost more than a few sablefish to those orcas right there. Amazing animals, indeed.
    Brian, when the orcas swipe your sablefish, do they do it at your fishing depth or pick them off as you haul gear, or both? I googled it and found they could dive to around 1000 feet. Made me even more curious as to how they operate. Thanks!

  18. #18
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garyak View Post
    Brian, when the orcas swipe your sablefish, do they do it at your fishing depth or pick them off as you haul gear, or both? I googled it and found they could dive to around 1000 feet. Made me even more curious as to how they operate. Thanks!
    They pick them off as we pull gear, but deeper than we can see. They'll come right up to the boat and dive, and sometimes you can see the line being pulled back and forth as they pull fish off the line. We've even had them wait outside the mouth of a bay for us overnight. They were pulling fish, so we dropped the line back down and waited for hours. Night came and they were still waiting by the buoy, so we went in and anchored up. the next morning they were at the mouth of the bay, followed us to the buoy, and proceeded to strip the line clean. Apparently sperm whales do the same thing out in the Gulf and in Southeast, but I've never experienced that personally.

    Incidentally, we haven't been hit by them in a number of years, as we intentionally fish later after the Sound is filled with salmon for them to chase. When they've got other food readily available, they seem less interested in our paltry offerings.

  19. #19

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    Thank you, Brian...I'm sure others appreciate your post, as well!!

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