This summer I have been blessed with many orca encounters, one of which was this one, right from the Ahousaht dock! This pod (The T109’s) came right into the harbour to scope it out, scaring ~25 youth out of the water and onto another dock!
I was waiting for Lennie and the Sweet Marie and knew orcas were in the area but no one made any mention of them heading into the harbour. While I waited on the dock I watched the swimmers diving off the beacon and swimming around the Hydro Dock. Suddenly I heard a loud whistle behind me. I turned, saw a boat, but nothing else of interest and I turned back to the swimmers. Another whistle. This time when I turned around, an orca surfaced just in front of the boat, leading them into the harbour!
Scrambling to the other end of the dock I was on to get closer, I realized the whales were heading right in, towards the swimmers who were oblivious to what was going on. I knew it was unlikely that the orcas would harm anyone but rather than take a chance, I began multitasking. Shooting photos and yelling for the swimmers to get out. It wasn’t long before they bolted from the water!
A close pass heading in, and a close pass heading out was a truly awe-inspiring experience. The orcas turned just at Hydro Dock where the kids were swimming before heading out again. It was a treat to see them so close, and know that we weren’t bothering them in anyway by standing on the dock – Unless they could feel the vibrations of me shaking from pure adrenaline!
The Hashilthsa (which means “Interesting News” picked up my photos and published the story in their August edition, both online and in print.