Sunset Beach hydrophone

Located at the Beach Camp at Sunset Bay Wharf, about halfway between the Edmonds and Mukilteo ferry docks, this site is a good place to listen to the large area where Puget Sound and Possession Sound meet between Whidbey Island, the Kitsap Peninsula, and the mainland. The Sunset Bay hydrophone node, maintained by Orca Conservancy, lets you listen to passing ships and boats, as well as killer whales and harbor seals. You may hear sea birds when the tide is low and boisterous crabs climbing over the hydrophone when the tide is high!

Latest news:

Overview and credits:

Since 2021, Sunset Bay has focused on listening to the Salish Sea, technological innovation, and education and outreach related to underwater noise and sounds made by marine wildlife.

Education is the key, and we at Orca Conservancy are thrilled to not only share underwater sounds from this part of Puget Sound, but also to use this node as an educational focus for children attending the Beach Camp at Sunset Bay. 

Beach campers: future stewards of planet Earth planet

Scientifically, we hope to eventually hear humpback and gray whales, two species that often swim past this location and are known to vocalize in other parts of the ocean. Also, this is the only location where you can hear the underwater sounds of trains whistling and rumbling along the tracks that lie along the top of the beach, just 100 meters away from the hydrophone.

  • Maintained and organized by Orca Conservancy
    • Shari Tarantino, Tamara Kelley, Dr. David Bain
    • 2022 redeployment of single hydrophone
    • 2022 long-term permitting and fundraising for deeper hydrophone array
  • Hosted by Beach Camp at Sunset Bay Wharf 
    • Director Jeffrey Thomas
    • Providing free access to AC power and high speed Internet
    • Staff support: Wyatt (2020-21); Vanessa
  • Hydrophone suppliers and technical/deployment support
    • Beam Reach (Orcasound software and hardware support from Scott & Val Veirs; 2020 site study; 2021 initial deployment)

Hydrophone infrastructure

As of spring 2022, the node consists of a Raspberry Pi + Pisound ADC streaming data from a single hydrophone (CRT S28-06 element) at depth of about -0.5m below mean lowest low water. The total hydrophone cable length is 30 meters and the upload bandwidth is about 40 Mbps.

More info about the Sunset Bay hydrophone:

Google shared album

Planning document (comments welcome)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *