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Orcas spotted near ferry lanes

A pod of orcas was seen in Saratoga Passage Monday morning.

The group was first spotted around a fleet of commercial fishing boats near the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal about 8:30 a.m. Aug. 29.

Reports varied between seeing four and eight killer whales.

Few of the observers had the up-close view like a group of four kayakers. Ed Young, the owner of Whidbey Island Kayaking Company, said a tour group led by Nick Horton was surprised when the orcas appeared about 50 yards away.

“They kind of came upon them,” Young said.

Horton instructed the tour party to back away from the orcas to the recommended distance of 100 yards. The group was about 100 yards off shore from Sandy Point when the orcas breached. Orca sightings are a rare occurrence for the kayaking company in its 10th year as a business, which typically fares better with finding gray whales between mid-March and mid-May.

“This is very rare,” Young said. “It was a first time for Nick, and the third time for the company.”

Young saw the orcas from the Langley Marina, and observed them tail slapping and spy-hopping. He also said the orcas traveled north slowly and appeared to hunt for salmon.

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