On an island in Johnstone Strait off northern Vancouver Island (map) there is a research station called OrcaLab, dedicated to non-intrusive, shore-based observation of killer whales (orcas) and other marine mammals. In the summer and fall they 'present a continuous webcast of streaming audio from OrcaLab's hydrophone network, and video from numerous underwater and surface cameras.'
In season, I think of little else but the hope of listening to orcas at ORCA-LIVE: hanging around by the hour on the community page, watching the live feed (usually the kelp forest, sometimes a sunset, and surface views of the orcas if they happen to be there), posting messages and reading the postings from the other viewer/listeners, and waiting waiting waiting for the hydrophones to pick up the orcas singing. All screeenshots below are Copyright © Orcalab http://www.orca-live.net/ for non commercial, educational use only.
The actual size of the webcast window is about 4"x3". The Orca-Live live stream is online from July to November, 24x7, while the Northern Resident orcas are in and around Johnstone Strait. The kelp forest waves in a sunny blue sea, the scientists post updates, the orca watchers hang out together; there's the sounds of those whales far away, and sunrises, sunsets. And, yes, occasionally seeing an orca (or a humpback whale).
The people who hang out online at Orca-Live come from around the globe--Australia, Japan, England, Scotland, Netherlands, France, Germany, Belguim. Many are veteran watchers, know a lot about orcas, and care deeply about them; they send each other screen shots, help newbies figure out how to do things, identify pods by their calls and individual orcas by their dorsal fins. Like all electronic communities, they also have their own culture, worry about each other, share links, wander off topic. We keep each other company while we wait, wait, wait for the orcas to come, then bubble over with joy when they do.
You'll need RealPlayer to view or listen to the live stream. You can do it on the public machines at the library. And no, City staff machines aren't set up for streaming media, so we are not spending our work days with our heads under the sea. I would if I could :-)