What a gift of a day! On April 15, 2011 my neighbour phoned to say there were two orcas travelling south in Sansum Narrows. I found them by Burial Island and followed them for 45 minutes in my Boston Whaler with my Shepadoodle dog, Daisy. They were a beautiful sight, surfacing together and diving. We left them at Cherry Point and on our way home the ocean simply exploded in action near Burial Island, a tiny rock where seals haul out. Transient Orcas eat seals, so I assumed these were Transients having a feast.
My memory card was full, so I zipped home and fetched the 2 fellows pruning my orchard, begging them to come out and see the spectacular sight – a once in a life-time encounter. Dave drove the boat, I took photos, and Raj got to experience it! There were lots of babies and we thought there were at least 40 – 50 whales. I had no idea what the whales were doing because I was behind my camera, snapping photos wherever action occurred.
These whales hung out and had a boisterous party for six hours in front of my house! At home, I alerted Graeme Ellis and John Ford, marine mammal biologists in Nanaimo, BC. They came down to Bold Bluff by boat and recorded 31 Transients. This is highly unusual, as these whales usually travel in small groups of 3 – 8 whales. Not until I downloaded my photos did I see what they were actually doing.