Photo courtesy of Debbie Stewart                                Orcas J26 and J42 on Dec. 25, near Glendale Beach. J26 is an adult male known as Mike, who spends some quality time traveling very closely with his younger sister J42 known as Echo.

Photo courtesy of Debbie Stewart Orcas J26 and J42 on Dec. 25, near Glendale Beach. J26 is an adult male known as Mike, who spends some quality time traveling very closely with his younger sister J42 known as Echo.

Orcas visit Whidbey waters just in time for the holidays

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, whale-watchers on the South End were treated with a special present: The J pod the Southern Resident orcas traveled in the waters near Langley and Clinton.

The whale bell sounded the morning of Dec. 24 in Langley. Citizens and visitors alike flocked to Boy and Dog Park and other viewing points to catch sight of the whales swimming north, moving through Possession Sound in the morning and up Saratoga Passage the remainder of the day. Sometime that night, they turned around and headed back south.

Clinton residents and those near the ferry also reported seeing J pod and some of K and L pods on Christmas. Whidbey resident and Orca Network volunteer Debbie Stewart spotted them near Glendale Beach around 8:50 a.m.

“These whales have been through so much pain in the last few years losing key family members, yet they remain strong and true to their families, their culture and their being. It’s an absolute honor and privilege to be in their presence,” Stewart said in an email.

Later that evening, she said the whales were heard by the Bush Point hydrophone, making calls in Admiralty Inlet.

Photo courtesy of Durand Dace                                Onlookers armed with binoculars rushed to Boy and Dog Park on the morning of Dec. 24 to catch a glimpse of the passing orcas.

Photo courtesy of Durand Dace Onlookers armed with binoculars rushed to Boy and Dog Park on the morning of Dec. 24 to catch a glimpse of the passing orcas.

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