Listen Live: Lime Kiln Lighthouse

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Lime Kiln State Park on San Juan Island

The hydrophones at Lime Kiln State Park are located just southwest of the Lighthouse in about 7 meters of water. The two hydrophones were attached to moorings by scuba divers. There is a long history of hydrophone deployments, repairs (after winter storm damage), and acoustic research at the Lighthouse.

The current two hydrophone system began streaming live sound through a computer in 2007. Dr. Val Veirs wrote custom software for the computer which automatically detects unusual sounds (like orcas) and measures the average sound levels for the area.

Archived Sounds from Lime Kiln State Park


View Hydrophone locations in a larger map
Listening Guidance

If you'd like to try recording the streams when you hear something that interests you, we recommend Stream Ripper (free, open source, all platforms). If you'd like to explore underwater listening even further (including sound analysis and contributions to citizen science projects), then consider taking on a Beam Reach externship in bioacoustics.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you'd like to make your recording available to the listening community by having us publish it on this web site. In any case, please abide by the Creative Commons license.

Archived sounds are presented using a Flash-based player called Wimpy.

Exceptional Recordings

You can use the above "playlist" to access all archived files. Click on the downward facing arrow to play a file. Exceptional recordings are described below (and can be played using the adjacent icons).

Listen Date Time Description
05/23/07 17:08 A 2-minute mono clip of J pod calls and clicks (w/some ship noise). From a longer vocal period (16:40~17:45).
06/01/07 19:53 A 4.5-minute stereo clip of J pod calls and clicks, including an airplane and the sound of an orca surfacing. From a longer vocal period (19:45-20:23). [Warning -- this recording has low background noise and some sudden much louder sounds and concomitant distortion from the stream encoding].
06/01/07 20:21 A 2-minute mono clip of J pod clicks and remarkably similar clicks from an approaching ship. The end of a longer vocal period (19:45-20:23). (The ship noise waned by ~20:35. Two faint calls were heard ~21:21. Another ship was approaching at 21:30.)
08/23/07 22:15 A 4-minute 16-second mono clip of southern residents (J+K+L?) recorded by Lynn Waller. She noticed increased vocal activity about 2-min 45-sec into recording. Other listeners reported calls at Lime Kiln at 21:25, 22:50 and 23:10, and at OrcaSound around 23:15 (with a harbor seal), suggesting they were spread out along much of the west side.
04/01/08 13:05 A 1-hour 4-minute 4-second mono clip of southern residents J pod members containing calls, echolocation clicks, pebble splash sounds, and boat noise. The J16s were sighted about two hours earlier ~1km south of the hydrophone.
06/25/08 22:15 A 2-minute stereo clip of southern residents recorded by Andy Good of the UK. This recording contains a few very loud whistles, as well as S1 and S16 calls, that were made as the orcas traveled north past Lime Kiln.