An orca sighting – and a near-miss

Orcas traveling south near Tacoma Narrows on April 15, 2012. Photo by Steve Stark

Steve Stark and his wife, Barb, were returning from a weekend on their sailboat, Starbright, at McMicken Island in South Puget Sound yesterday when they spotted a pod of six to eight orcas making their way south from Point Dalco through the Tacoma Narrows.

Drifting along under full sail in the sun and enjoying the view, the couple snapped the above photo. But the serenity of the moment was interrupted as the orcas passed Point Defiance, where two high-speed ski-type boats rounded the point at estimated speeds of up to 40 knots and drove right over the top of the pod. Fortunately, the boats did not appear to have struck any of the whales, Steve says.

A watch boat of some type was trailing the orcas and issued a warning to the other boaters on Channel 16, Steve says, but they continued on, seemingly oblivious to the near-miss.

“I know it takes all kinds to make a boating community,” Steve says. “I know it is a legitimate use of the water for these young folks to cut around at high speed, but aren’t we all responsible to keep the watch?”

We completely agree, Steve. Thanks for the reminder, and for the lovely photo.

2 Responses to An orca sighting – and a near-miss

  1. Rex April 17, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    Or a kayaker

  2. Dave April 16, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    If they didn’t see a pod of whales they probably wouldn’t see a deadhead either.

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