41 years later, only Lolita survives

August 2011 marks the 41st anniversary of Lolita’s capture from her family, the Southern Resident orcas, in Penn Cove.

To commemorate this anniversary, Orca Network is holding its annual event on the waters and shore of Penn Cove to remember all the orcas who died during the captures or in captivity, and to honor Lolita, or Tokitae, the sole survivor of those taken from the Southern Resident orcas.

This year’s special guest will be Jenny Cunningham, producer at PBS’ KCTS 9 TV, Seattle, who produced “Saving Lolita” for KCTS Connects in 2008.

Cunningham will be onboard the Cutty Sark for the ceremony at the orca capture site on Penn Cove, and after the on-the-water ceremony will show “Saving Lolita” at the Coupeville Wharf and talk about how the orca captures will be a part of her next project.

From noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7, take part in a ceremonial cruise around the perimeter of the capture site on Penn Cove.

Captain John Stone of Aeolian Adventures has offered his 52-foot classic ketch, Cutty Sark, for the two-hour cruise with special guests. Spaces are limited and tickets are $30. Captain Billy Wind also has space on his sailboat Stella Blue for a $15 fee.

People are invited to bring their sail or motor boats, kayaks or rowboats as well to join the fleet by launching from Capt. Coupe Park in Coupeville. The boats will travel to the capture site in Penn Cove for a wreath ceremony to remember the orcas killed in the capture, and those who have died in captivity. The Orca Network provide flowers and cedar sprigs to toss into the water, or people may bring their own flowers or eco-friendly offerings.

The vessels will circle Penn Cove and the capture site, and, if time and weather permit, will take a short tour of Penn Cove before returning to the Coupeville Wharf at approximately 2 p.m.

After the on-the-water events, Jenny Cunningham’s “Saving Lolita” and a few short presentations and stories will take place on the wharf between 2 and 4 p.m.

The event is free to the public, though contributions to support Orca Network’s educational programs are appreciated.

Hoodsport Orca Wine may be purchased in the wharf breezeway, and participants may purchase snacks and lunch or dinner at Kim’s Cafe and Local Grown.

Email the Orca Network at or check out for more information, updates or to reserve a space on one of the sailing vessels.


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