Watch orcas leap and swim in fish-rich Possession Sound

They’ve been reported in Mukilteo, Everett and Saratoga Passage between Whidbey and Camano Islands.

HAT ISLAND — Southern Resident orcas have been making appearances in Possession Sound this week.

Commuters, scientists and sightseers reported seeing the J pod and some K pod orcas in Mukilteo, Everett and Saratoga Passage between Whidbey Island and Camano Island.

Lori Christopher, of Hat Island, snagged a video of a close pass off the northwest shoreline Saturday morning. It shows the orcas breaching and splashing as they move south in Possession Sound.

These Southern Resident orcas breached off the coast of Hat Island on Sept. 21. Professional photographer Bart Rulon caught them while on a Puget Sound Express whale-watching tour from Edmonds. (Bart Rulon/ BartRulon.com)

These Southern Resident orcas breached off the coast of Hat Island on Sept. 21. Professional photographer Bart Rulon caught them while on a Puget Sound Express whale-watching tour from Edmonds. (Bart Rulon/ BartRulon.com)

The sightings began around Sept. 20 and have continued throughout the week.

Howard Garrett, a board member with the nonprofit Orca Network, said the visits mean there must be enough fish in the Salish Sea to keep the endangered killer whales fed.

They show up in Possession Sound around this time each year, Garrett said.

These Southern Resident orcas breached off the coast of Hat Island on Sept. 21. Professional photographer Bart Rulon caught them while on a Puget Sound Express whale-watching tour from Edmonds. (Bart Rulon/ BartRulon.com)

These Southern Resident orcas breached off the coast of Hat Island on Sept. 21. Professional photographer Bart Rulon caught them while on a Puget Sound Express whale-watching tour from Edmonds. (Bart Rulon/ BartRulon.com)

The Southern Residents have recently been foraging at the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, eating mostly black cod. When that run ended, they made their way to the Salish Sea and found something tasty enough to keep them here for at least a while.

They could be eating chum salmon, coho salmon, wild or hatchery chinook, or blackmouth salmon — which are more local to the Salish Sea.

These runs may be short-lived, Garrett said, which means the orcas will likely move elsewhere soon.

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

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