I have to tell this story!

When following Orca’s it’s proper to follow from behind and to the side. I was the only boat following them. We were heading southward in Fortune Channel about to pass through Dawley pass. Dawley pass is a narrow passage between Fortune Channel and Tofino inlet. It’s probably about 500 feet across.

I was on  the right hand side and decided to hug the rocks as I passed with them through Dawley. I was only 10 feet away from the rocks when the Matriarch came up right beside me!! I just about crapped myself! Then to make sure I did, another Orca breached right beside me as well! I put the engine in neutral and just held my breath! I know Orca’s are very gentle creatures and very intelligent creatures! I knew they would not harm me but that still didn’t calm me! Both Orca’s sounded and joined the rest of the pod going through Dawley.

I exhaled and wondered what the hell that was all about? It took a few seconds but I spotted the reason off to my immediate right…….It was a Harbour Sea! It had hauled Itself out onto the rocks to stay out of an Orca tummy! It must have seen or heard the Orca’s (they are a chatty bunch at times). I could clearly see it was trembling and with good reason!

I suspect the rest of the pod must have caught it’s friend as there was lots of splashing and tail slapping! An indication of a kill.

I was able to get close to this lucky Seal cause there was no way it was going to be going back into the water any time soon! I’m calling this guy “Lucky”.

It took me a few minutes to figure it out but I do believe I accidentally saved this little guy’s life!! By me keeping so close to the rocks when the Orca’s came calling my boat was inadvertently between them and the Seal. There really was nothing stopping an Orca from lunging out of the water and grabbing this Seal ……except my boat. As I already mentioned, Orca’s are very intelligent. I think they knew that If they had lunged at this Seal they most likely would have hit me as well. So they took a pass and said to the Seal… ya later!

This might be an older Harbour Seal as I believe it has either a cataract or glaucoma in it’s left eye?

One of my more interesting moments.


  1. What a story! A very close call for Lucky the Seal and also for you and your boat that the Orcas chose to not barge over you to get that Seal. What is your boat’s name? It could be Lucky Too. Wonderful, heartwarming that you saved Lucky the Seal. Best, Babsje

    1. I’ve been around Orca’s now for thirty years. I have never heard or seen a Orca do anything rude or violent towards a human.
      Now……..Tilikum I figure was driven mad by being kept prisoner! I would of killed as well!

    1. I’ve had Orca’s go under my boat,around my boat and breach beside. Each time I’n startled but quickly recover knowing that they are very gentle creatures……unless your a Seal!

      1. Yes,like Crows protecting their nests! Imagine the chaos! They did mount machine guns to kill them at one time. Why?…..because fishermen complained they were taking “their” salmon!

  2. Poor seal. It looks terrified, and, yes, the left eye does look damaged. Any idea what could have happened?

    So what did they kill? You said there were two kills. Were there other seals out there that were not as fortunate?

    Questions and more questions, but what do I know about orcas whereas you are an expert. So another question is why would they appear (in such a large number) in Tofino waters? (Maybe they had a notification that there was food on the go, heeheehee!)

    Are you not frightened to have these creatures (I use that word because of their size) so close to your boat and yourself? I’d be a quaking mess, much like our friend, the harbour seal. Do you suppose it will go back into the water any time soon?

    1. I am not a expert on Orca’s but thank you anyways Angie.
      Lucky’s left eye has a cataract. They occur naturally in many animals. We have Doctors take care of ours but there is nothing to help these guys. They just have to learn to live with it.
      Orca’s travel together in pods all the time. This one pod has grown over the years and that is good to see! That bull was born in 95.

  3. Lucky indeed, Wayne! If he does have a cataract, he must be older (and wiser?) and have some intelligence to escape the pod to live another day! Nature works in mysterious ways. My 11 year old dog Aero’s eye are clouding up now. Dogs use their sense of smell to get around anyway, and I imagine seals were gifted by creation to survive their marine environment!

  4. Poor little guy with his clouded-up eye. It was not his turn to go to Seal Heaven. God figured he had enough trauma with his bum eye and let him stay here longer.

      1. That is special … this guy has been through much having only one good eye. Too bad he can’t be put into an outdoor rehab center so there are no predator worries and guaranteed food for him the rest of his days.

      2. Yes – they have no choice. Unless a human sees their plight and is able to transport them and get them help. Just read a story of a duck with a deformed bill recently. He could not eat properly and needed an operation to make an artificial bill which was done – good as new (well almost as he is in a rehab place now for good, but that’s fine for him). And, there are stories of dogs getting rear wheels to get around when they’re paralyzed. I saw a few at the Mutt Strut 5K a few years ago.

      3. That makes sense because you had a video on your site one time about the death of Big Red (I believe that was his name) and how he had raked a paw across a big tree just before he was killed

      4. I knew there was something horrid about it … I couldn’t remember the details, but you were very angry about what you saw and there was blood there as well and the claw marks on the tree as he fought them. Hunters … hate them. I used to hate seeing the dead deer slung across the cars back in the day – now so many people have SUVs or pick-up trucks, you don’t see it as much now. At least cover it up. Hate seeing it.

      5. and to prove how stupid they were back then,putting a carcass across a hot engine hood would semi cook the meat! They use to do that as a sign of how a great hunter they were!

      6. Oh, I never thought of that happening. Stupid. I’d see them on Sundays driving back from up North. I wanted to say “cover it up for goodness sake – we all don’t need to see the carnage, or the tongue hanging out, the death glaze in the eyes.” Marge’s husband was a hunter as were her sons. One time I was out raking leaves, the first year they lived next door. He had a van and pulled up in the driveway. I only really spoke to Marge if we were in the backyard the same time doing yardwork. He came over to me and said “come and look into my van – I want to show you something.” I had no idea where he’d been or what he was going to show me, but to be polite, I went over. He had a deer in the back of his van under a tarp … he said “guess what’s under there?” Then before I said, he lifted the tarp and I saw the tail and rear end and I turned away. Big man – big joy doing that to the deer and to me.

    1. you strike me as a woman who loves horses?
      Standing beside a Clydesdale is a experience as well! In my experience the larger the animal the more gentle they become!
      So the Orca’s would never hurt me or even knock me out of my boat! They are as intelligent as you and I.

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