A project bringing the lifeworlds
of the resident orca whales
of the Salish Sea to the surface

ARE YOU AN ORCA GUARDIAN?

Orca Soundings: An Art Event for the Last of the Southern Resident Orca

 

Orca Sounding is an art project using whale sculptures and their human guardians, in a project that reflects the wide spread knowledge of—both traditional and scientific— and love for these whales. Every person involved in the project is linked to an individual whale, and brings their own specific skills and story to the project. The orcas come together in live performances to capture the  stories of the whales and people  in film, art, song, performance and social media.

 

Paul Burke — L-98

L98 Tsu'xiit or Luna Luna (September 19, 1999 – March 10, 2006) also known as L98 or Tsu'xiit, was a killer whale (orca) born in Puget Sound. After being separated from his mother while still young, Luna spent five years in Nootka Sound, off the west coast...
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Flora McLean — J-41 Eclipse

J-41 ECLIPSE  I was born in 2005 and am 12 years old.  My Mom is Shachi (J-19) and I am pleased to say she is still alive. We have lost too many young mothers! When I was 10 years old I had my first baby, a boy named Nova (J-51). My Mom helped my baby come to the...
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Ali Harris — L103 Lapis

L-103 Lapis (Female) Born 2003: Lapiss name comes from the beautiful gemstone that is a deep blue with golden flecks in it. Lapis is a member of a large family with her mom Nugget (L-55) and her three siblings Kasatka (L-82), Takoda (L-109), and newly born L-118, who...
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Luke Wallace — L88 Wave Walker

L-88 Wavewalker (Male) Born 1993: Wavewalker is always exciting to spot when L- pod is in the area because he will often be accompanied by his mother Grace (L-2). Wavewalker lost his big brother and best friend, Gaia, (L-78) over the winter months of 2011-2012. This...
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Ronan Gunn — L117 Keta

L-117 Keta (Unknown Sex) Born 2010: L-117 is the newest calf born to Ino (L-54). Once Keta exposes his or her belly, we will be able to determine its sex by the different shapes of black pigmentation around the genital slits. Keta is well taken care of and entertained...
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Chris Howe — L-84 Nyssa

L-84 NYSSA I was born in 1990 and am 1 of the many males in our L-pod. Sadly my mother has already passed away and because I have no other immediate family I am lucky enough to have been accepted by Ino (L-54) and her clan. Never a dull moment with that family! I love...
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Susan Rogers — L-83 Moonlight

L-83 MOONLIGHT I was born in 1990 and have one offspring: Midnight (L-110) who is as black as midnight! My 2 siblings: Muncher (L-91)and Mystic (L-115) and we  love to be all together. Susan Rogers My name is Susan Rogers, and  my "sister whale" is Moonlight who is a...
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Miranda McDougall — L-77 Matia

L-77 MATIA   I was born in 1987 and have a sister, Calypso (L-94) who is 8 years younger than me. I also have my older brother, Mega (L-41). I lost my 1st calf only  a few days after it was born so it was with great JOY that I gave birth to my 2nd offspring Joy...
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Maya Porebska-Smith — L-72 Racer

L-72 RACER I was born in 1986 and have 1 daughter, Fluke (L-105) born in 2004. Unfortunately I lost my 2nd calf at birth. It was devastating for me and I carried my dead baby around with me for 2 days before I was ready to let it go. I seem to be very easily...
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Caroline Girard — L-47 Marina

L-47 MARINA I was born in 1974 and am a matriarch of a very cohesive family . I have had many sad losses of my offspring but am very happy that 3 healthy children survived: my daughters are Moonlight (L-83) and Muncher (L-91) and my son is Mystic (L-115) who is just 7...
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Selilye Claxton — L-25 Ocean Sun

L-25 OCEAN SUN  I was born in 1928 and am the oldest member of my pod and the oldest member of the entire southern Resident community. This makes me the matriarch of our clan. I am the mother of Lolita and I have never got over the loss of my beautiful girl and my...
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K-21 Cappuccino

K-21 CAPPUCCINO I have been a senior male member of the K pod for many years.  I was born in 1986.  My older  sister Raggedy (K-40) and I became very close after my mom died as we had no other siblings.  It was a huge thing to lose our mother.  In orca families, both...
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Deborah LeFrank — K-16 Opus

K-16 OPUS I am a 22 year old female with one son Sonata (K-35) who is now 15.  My sister Lea (K-14) and her offspring are all the surviving family I have.  I sometimes spend time with my sister and the other mothers in my pod.  This is important social time for me as...
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Adam Claxton — K-35 Sonata

K-35 SONATA I am a 15 year old male and the only child of Opus (K-16).  Being in my mid teens, my dorsal fin is really starting to grow and should continue to do so for a couple of years yet. I have a saddlepatch that is a lot like my mom’s but mine is more grey while...
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Tijaz Michaelson — K-42 Kelp

K-42 KELP I was born in 2008 and am the youngest offspring of Lea (K-14).  I have two siblings, my big brother Lobo (K-26) and my sister Yoda (K-36). Being the youngest, I enjoy interacting with my siblings and playing with other whales.  I am lucky because, around...
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April Bencz — K-36 Yoda

K-36 YODA I am the middle offspring of Lea (K-14) and the sister to Lobo (K-26) and Kelp (K-42).  I also have an Aunt Opus (K-16) and one cousin Sonata (K-35). I was born in 2003 which makes me 14 years old.  I still stick pretty close to my family.  During the summer...
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K-26 Lobo

K-26 LOBO Born in 1993, I am the third offspring of Lea (K-14) but the first to survive past infancy.  My mother and I and my two younger siblings Yoda (K-36) and Kelp (K-42) are very close so if you spot one of us  you can be assured that the rest of the family is...
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Carolyn Knight — K-14 Lea

K-14  LEA I was born in 1977 and I am a 40 year old mom of three.  Lobo (K-26) was my first calf to survive past infancy.  Yoda (K-36) and Kelp (K-42) are just 5 years apart and stay close to me.  I’ve lost two calves before they were one year old.  My sister Opus...
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Miya de Roos — K-43 Saturna

K-43 SATURNA I was born into this world in the early part of 2010.  That makes me just over seven years old.  I am the youngest offspring of Sequim (K12), sister to Sekiu (K-22) and Rainshadow (K-37). I gather that because I’m just a kid,  I’ve been told that I have a...
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Jessie Toynbee — K-27 Deadhead

K-27  DEADHEAD I am 23 years old and one of four offspring born to Skagit (K-13).  My siblings are Spock (K-20), Scoter (K-25) and Cali (K-34).  I had my first offspring Ripple (K-44) in July of 2011. Jessie Toynbee I remember being six years old, riding BC ferries,...
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Nikki Sanchez — K-22 Sekiu

K-22 SEKIU I am Sekiu.  Born in 1987, I am told that I am the last K-pod whale to be born in the 1980’s.  I  have one son named Tika (K-33).  Tika and I spend most of our time travelling, foraging and socializing with my mother Sequim and my siblings Rainshadow and...
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K-20 Spock

K-20 SPOCK Born in 1986, I am 31 years of age.  I am the first offspring of Skagit (K-13) and sister to Scoter (K-25), Deadhead (K-27) and Cali (K-34).  In 2011, I became an aunt to Ripple, otherwise known as K-44. In December 2004, I had my first calf, Comet (K-38)....
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Joanne Marks — K-13 Skagit

K-13 SKAGIT I was born in 1972 and, together with Sequim (K-12), I am a senior female and matriarch of K pod. I am also a busy mother of four!  My first calf, Spock (K-20) was followed by Scoter (K-25), Deadhead (K-27) and finally Cali (K-34).   I am also a...
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J-40 Suttles

J-40 SUTTLES I was born in 2004 and am 13 years old. I was named in a traditional Potlatch Naming Ceremony held by the Samish Nation on October 01, 2005. We don’t get named until we are at least one year old. My Mother, Samish (J-14) died in 2016, when I was 12 years...
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Stella McLean— J-42 Echo

J-42 ECHO I was born in 2007 and am 10 years old. I am the third calf of Slick (J-16), who is now the oldest and wisest orca in J-Pod, after Granny (J-2) died. I love to play, jumping out of the sea and landing with a big splash. I love to swim in the kelp beds and...
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J-44 Moby

J-44 MOBY I was born in 2009 and am 8 years old.  Princess Angeline (J-17) is my Mother, and I am her only son.    I really appreciate being part of such a large family. When I was just one year old I became an uncle to my sister’s baby, Star (J-46), and to another...
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J-45 Se-yi’–chn

J-45 SE-YI’ – CHN (Pronounced sea-ee-chin – which means younger sibling - Male) I was born in 2009 and am 8 years old.  I am the sixth baby of Samish (J-14) and there are only three of us left: my sister, Hy’shqa (J-37) and my other sister, Suttles (J-40). My Mother...
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Kim Christie — J-46 Star

J-46 STAR  I was born in 2009 and am 8 years old. I am the first baby born to Polaris (J-28). Since I lost my Mother and baby brother in 2016, I have been travelling with my remaining family members – my Grandmother, Princess Angeline (J-17), my Aunt Tahlequa (J-35),...
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J-47 Notch

J-47 NOTCH  I was born in 2010 and am 7 years old. I am Tahlequa’s (J-35) first baby! I have a “notch” on my dorsal fin, so it’s easy for people to recognize me.  My Grandma is Princess Angeline (J-17) and my cousins are: Moby (J-44), Star (J-46) andKiki (J-53). My...
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J-49 T’lem i’nges

J-49 T’LEM I’NGES (Pronounced Teelem Eenges – Male) I was born in 2012 and am 5 years old. My name means “Singing Grandchild,” and I was named at a traditional Samish Nation Naming Ceremony on June 29, 2013. I belong to Samish’s family (J-14). My Mother is Hy’Shqua...
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J-51 Nova

J-51 NOVA  (Male) I was born in 2015 and am 2 years old.  I am Eclipse’s (J-41) first baby. My Mother is the youngest known mother in this community! When I was just a few months old, I already had ‘play dates’ with Notch (J-47)! We sure have...
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J-53 Kiki

I was born in 2015 and am 2 years old. I am the youngest whale in my J-Pod family group. Princess Angeline (J-17) is my Mother. My two sisters are: Polaris (J-28), and Tahlequa (J-35). My brother is Moby (J-44). It sure is fun being spoilt by everyone in my family...
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L- XX  TOKITAE (aka Lolita)      

I am Tokitae – born to Ocean Sun (L-25) in 1966 in the sweet waters of the Salish Sea. My name is a Coast Salish greeting meaning ‘Nice day, pretty colours’. In 1970, when I was just 4 years old, I was captured in Penn Cove, Washington. Torn from my family, I have...
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Jaya Flam — L-115 Mystic

Jyah Flam I am 22 and I was born and raised on Saltspring Island, BC. I was raised by my single mother Carolyn Flam who is a school councillor and was once a kayak guide in the Gulf Islands. Now our family has grown to 4, I have a stepsister who is 5 years old and a...
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Callum Gunn— L-108 Coho

Callum Gunn   I'm 25 years old and I grew up on Salt Spring Island BC. I am the son to two, caring, passionate and hard working parents. I live with my little brother and partner - who I'm lucky enough to call my best friends. I'm passionately curious about humanity...
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Britt McLeod — L-90 Ballena

Britt McLeod  I am  28 years old. Although I grew up around the world, the land and people I connect with most are on the Southern BC coast. My ancestral heritage is Scottish and Swedish and I am fifth generation Canadian. My family consists of hard working folks who...
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Sonja Barnard — L-47 Marina

Sonja Barnard  I was delighted when given the orca Marina L-47 to represent. As an artist, working mainly in clay, I create sculptures relief tiles etc most of the imagery I work with has to do with the ocean & the creatures in it, including mythical ocean...
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Ted Grand — L-41 Mega

Ted  My name is Ted, and I am a lover of nature and all of the systems that weave together to provide it with life and sustenance. I am also a father of 3 girls and the adopted brother of Mega, a 40-year old orca that has been observed for 39 years!  He is...
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Tinaye Joy-Mujuru — J-52 Sonic

Sonic was born in early 2015, he is the first offspring of Alki (J-36). He was born just three months after his aunt, Scarlet (J-50). This family became very busy tending to two newborns who travel closely with their mothers. Tinaye Joy-Mujuru I am 7 years old from...
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Tangachee Goebl — J-35 Tahlequah

J-35 TAHLEQUAH        Hi! My name is Tahlequah and I am a 19 year old mother. My son, Notch (7 years old) is known as a bit of a mischief maker and with his cousins, Star and Moby , they get into all kind of scrapes.Hence I have my work cut out for me keeping...
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Briony Penn — L-54 Ino

L-54 INO  I was born in 1977 and am 40 years old and in the prime of my life. Even though I have lost my Mum and 3 siblings, I am happy to say I am the proud Mother of 3 offspring, 2 of which have survived: Coho (L-108) and Keta (L-117). We are a very tight,...
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Mac Flett — J-39 Mako

J-39 MAKO I was born in 2003 and am a 14-year old male, like my cousin COOKIE. My Mom, J-11 died in 2008, when I was 5 years old. My older brother is BLACKBERRY (J-27) My older sister is TSUCHI (J-31) Mac Flett I am Aged 14 and come from Salt Spring Island. My family...
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Ora Cogan — J-37 Hy’shoa

J-37 Hy’shoa (Pronounced hy’shka meaning “Blessing or thank you” In Samish). I was born in 2001 and am 16 years old. My Mom, SAMISH (J-14) died in August 2016. I was 15 years old. My Great Grandma, GRANNY (J-2) died shortly after that, in December 2016. My family...
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Melanie Furman — J-36 Alki

J-36 ALKI I was born in 1999 and am 18 years old. I am the third baby of SLICK (J-16) born in 1972. My Mom is the oldest J-Pod orca living today, after GRANNY (J-2) died in December 2016. My older brother is MIKE (J-26) born in 1991 My younger sisters are: ECHO (J-42)...
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Tara McLean — J-31 Tuschi

J-31 TUSCHI I was born in 1995 and am 22 years old. I lost my Mom in 2008, and now have two living brothers: BLACKBERRY (J-27) born in 1991 MAKO (J-39) born in 2003 We three are the only living members of our family group. We often travel with PRINCESS ANGELINE’S...
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Sivalla Lin — J-22 Oreo

J-22 OREO I was born in1985 and I am 32 years old. I have one living daughter, COOKIE (J-38) who was born in 2003. My daughter, RHAPSODY (J-32) died in 2014. My son, DOUBLESTUF (J-34) died in 2016. He was hit by a ship in the prime of his life, being only 19 years...
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Andrea Palframan — J-19 Shachi

J-19 SHACHI I was born in 1979 and am 38 years old. My first baby lived only a few weeks. I was sad when she died! I carried her around for a week, hoping she would live. When I finally let her go, I spent much of my time babysitting young calves. Then on July 1,...
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Jennifer Abbott — J-17 Princess Angeline

J-17 PRINCESS ANGELINE I was born in 1977 and am 40 years old. I have 3 living offspring: TAHLEQUA (J-35) born in1998 MOBY (J-44) born in 2009 KIKI (J-53) born in 2015 One of my daughters, POLARIS (J-28) died in 2016. I am the Grandmother of: STAR (J-46) born in 2009...
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Karin Beviere — J-16 Slick

J-16 SLICK I was born in 1972 and am the oldest female in the Southern Resident Community to have given birth. I am 45 years old, and now I am the Matriarch of J-Pod, being the oldest Orca in J-pod living today since Granny died in 2016. I miss Granny, who was so wise...
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Lindy Sisson — SL22 Spirit

Spirit L-22 I was born in 1971 and have 1 surviving son: Solstice (L-89). I just have a small family but I do like to be surrounded by them (my son, my brother Onyx (L-87)) and other male companions. Lindy Sisson is known on the coast for her work as the Executive and...
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Tamar Griggs — J-2 Granny

Tamar Griggs When I was a child, my Father took us camping in the San Juan Islands. At night we often heard the Blackfish (Killer Whales) blowing and splashing close to shore; I was thrilled by the mystery and power of these large animals in the sea.  may have heard...
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“With the population of resident orca now down to 78 individuals, our little human group mirrors the whales in more ways than just numbers and range of ages. Like us, these orca have complex cultures and diverse languages. They care for their families and are led by matriarchs, long after their reproductive years. They have rituals for sharing territory. They sing, share their food, play, court, nurse their babies and, like us, grieve at loss.”

— Briony Penn (Orca Ino L-54)

 

photo April Bencz 

The Salish Sea is reknowned for its natural beauty, wildlife, artists, musicians, craftsmanship and the diversity of cultures and ecosystems. One of the greatest joys for visitors to the Salish Sea is a sighting of a pod of Southern Resident Orca.

 

As of January 3, 2017 there were only 78 of these whales left. With the recent death of J34 ‘DoubleStuf’and J2 ‘Granny’ declared missing, the toll of deaths for 2016 rose to 7 whales. The J, K and L pods are perched on the brink of extinction. To survive, they need a secure source of salmon, a safe soundscape and unpolluted waters.

Scientists, studying the Southern Residents, report that any project which increases tanker traffic, noise, pollutants can kill whales. Oil spills will be the final straw pushing them into extinction. Raincoast Conservation Foundation launched a judicial review to defend this endangered population, coincidentally on the same day that J34 was found dead—most likely due to injuries by a ship. Since that date, a pod of citizens have been circling together to create an art event that will help raise awareness about the status of the orca.

Since the harpooning of Moby Doll in 1964, the Southern Resident Orca have grabbed the world’s attention. When people witnessed Moby Doll’s rescue by her family members, they first heard their gentle language voiced to the distressed young whale. We now know that whales live in societies of intergenerational family pods that communicate in dialects and are headed by matriarchs that can live as long as humans.

Since those early days, this population has become the most intensively-studied group of marine mammals anywhere in the world, with every individual’s lineage carefully documented. The poignant dialects of the family groups require a quiet sea to transmit and hear. The name of the project, Orca Soundings, resonates with the importance of sound in their lives. Sounding is also the term for a whale’s downward dive —a metaphor for going deep into the topic of their survival.

THE MAKING OF AN ORCA POD

Orca Stories

Radio Free Orca: A Broadcast for World Peace

In the 1960s, Paul Spong was a young neuroscientist at the University of British Columbia. Then, part of his job was to study orcas (or killer whales) at an aquarium. But Spong quickly understood how badly these highly sentient, intelligent creatures suffered in captivity. So he moved to a remote island six hours north of Vancouver and founded OrcaLab—a scientific outpost committed to studying...

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Orcas make a huge splash on the Walk 4 the Salish Sea!

News coverage is coming fast and furious in the wake of the 78-orca “superpod” gathering in Vancouver. 78+ orcas, accompanied by hundreds of other marchers and supporters, walked from Grandview Park on Commercial Drive along Hastings Street, blocking a lane of traffic and making a splash in the big city. Check out this gallery of images from Tamar Griggs on the big day! Inspired? You...

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Pull Together for World Oceans Day

Like the tiny canoe of our logo, bristling with warriors, that confronts a hulking supertanker, the people-powered movement to protect the Salish Sea has the might to make an impact on a global scale.  Indigenous defenders of the land, air and water are achieving victory after victory in the courts. Now, First Nations are taking legal action to stop Kinder Morgan and protect orca whales from...

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June is Orca Month!

Check out these fabulous events as part of the first ever annual Orca Awareness Month:   WASHINGTON *Featured Event* Sunday, June 4th – Orca Month Kick-Off and Tribute to Granny J2 2:00 to 5:00 pm Golden Gardens Bathhouse, Seattle RSVP on Facebook – Free – hosted by the Orca Salmon Alliance Throughout June – Naturalists On The Ferries Find naturalists aboard many Washington State Ferries to...

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Ripple Effect

Check out “Ripple Effect” at the Salt Spring Gallery, May 18th. The opening runs from 5 – 7pm. 

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Orca Superpod at Walk 4 Salish Sea

The Orca Soundings makers, whale guardians and entire superpod spectacle will be out in full force for the Walk 4 the Salish Sea. We will gather at Grandview Park on Sunday, May 28th at 9 am then walk in procession along Hastings Street to the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. Planning to walk for any segment of this people’s mobilization for climate, coast and communities threatened...

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Earth Day Orca Parade on Salt Spring Island

We’re working hard to get ready for an Earth Day Orca Procession on Salt Spring Island! Paul Burke is setting up a table with info re. the status of the killer whales, and he is bringing a few 4 foot whales and dorsal fins so people can sign them out and walk through the crowds. Also, we are going to be playing the sounds of Orcas throughout the day. Then at 4:45 PM, members of the Orca...

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Despite all the noise, pollution and overfishing—the orca are still here.

This article originally appeared in Focus Magazine: http://www.focusonvictoria.ca/marapril-2017/whales-of-the-salish-sea-r10/ IT IS A COLD, WINDY MORNING in the new year at Deception Pass, a spectacular narrow channel between Whidbey Island and the mainland at the US end of the Salish Sea. Around 70 people are gathered to mourn the death of 10 members of the Southern Resident Killer Whales...

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