This is T069C. A large male born in 95. He had just killed a seal! You can see a tint of red in the mist!
It’s at this point, it went down & resurfaced……….turns out, it was coming straight at me & was only 30 feet away! It began to slowly turn onto it’s left side! This lowered that huge dorsal & allowed it to go right under my boat! I saw this 25 foot,5 ton beautiful creature glide slowly underneath me & than we made eye contact! It was looking straight at me! I was frozen & couldn’t breath! It continued past me & went back into the centre of Rankin Cove. We shared a moment!
I pray to stumble upon moments like this! “CONTACT BETWEEN ME & THEM” I swear when these moments happen that I can feel something much more than me? Almost as if I can feel the animal on a primal level…………….I’m sure it’s my imagination.
I was having a nap when a friend phoned me & told me that a group of Orca’s had just gone through the harbour & were heading up into the Inlet!
Finished my nap & headed out in search for them. I didn’t know where they were,so I turned on my VHF to listen to the chatter. Didn’t hear much but when a whale watching boat zipped past me,I realized all I had to do was follow the Whale watching boats. I caught up with them coming out of Tranquil Inlet.
This was the T069 group. Not sure of how many there were,but after looking them up in my book,they are comprised of 6 Orca’s.(Rod Palm,”Adventures With Killer Whales In Clayoquot Sound”)
I continued to follow them as they headed into Rankin Cove. This is when the large male (T069C) made a Seal kill! The water turned red & a few of his blows even had a red tint to the mist!
T069C than dove & quietly disappeared…………….. he came up suddenly very close to me! (I was standing up in my boat with the motor off)It was coming straight for me! It was only 30 feet away! Than It turned slowly onto it’s left side (so as not to hit my boat) & glided effortlessly underneath my boat! As it went past,I could clearly see it’s large right eye looking straight up at me! I’ll never forget that moment!
It returned to the centre of Rankin Cove & than the group proceeded out of the cove. They continued along Tofino Inlet’s north shore to Creative Salmon’s “McCall’s” fish farm. This is where I lost them temporarily.I didn’t see them anywhere,so continued around the south side of Warne island. Unbeknownst to me,they had gone right & where on the north side of Warne!
I realized my mistake & went around to the north side looking for them & sure enough,reconnected!
I than followed them to another Creative salmon fish farm.(Baxter) They passed this farm & were going into Dawley Pass. I waited & waited for them to resurface but they never did? It’s as if they disappeared! Ghost Orca’s!
I waited on the other side of Dawley in Fortune Channel. The water was very calm & I could see clearly up the channel. I waited for 15 minutes & realized that they were gone & so was the light where I was anyways. So I called it.
I headed back as fast as I could. It was getting very close to sunset & I didn’t want to miss it! (I had stayed with the Orca’s for almost 3 hrs)
I rushed back to Tsapee Narrows & payed a quick visit with the Daredevil. I had lost all the good light so I could only shoot him as a silhouette.
Said goodnight & continued on into the harbour. It was at this time I noticed the full moon rising low in the east. I found a eagle on top of a tree & lined the moon up in behind it & took a few shots.
Whenever I do this,it’s kind of like joining the dots. If the moon is point”A” & the eagle is point “B”. I try to find the sweet spot………point “C”! I draw a line through “A” & “B” to find where “C” is?
Because of the tide’s flow & usually the wind too,I can only briefly pass through point “C”. Than I have to circle around & repeat.
Got a few good ones with the full moon!
Made it back into the harbour but I suspect the lions share of the sunset had already happened?
I went to visit with Romeo & Juliette on Deadman Island. Managed to get a few shots of them as well.
The sunset was gone by this point,so I headed back.
Had a unforgettable shoot today! One for the books!
I didn’t get out today. It was another poor day for shooting! I think I’m on day 8 or 9 now from not being able to get out in my boat? Plus, it doesn’t look good for getting out anytime in the near future either!
Having said that I thought I’d reintroduce two Orca’s I had the good fortune of running into near Tsapee Narrows.
I originally shot these on October 6th,2010. In golden light to boot!
The smaller one is the mother “Wakana”.(T011,born < 63). The big boy with the 6 foot dorsal is her son "Rainny".(011A,born < 78).
They are frequent visitors to our area & seem to travel by themselves more than with others.( Making “Rainny” a true momma’s boy!)
I first saw them looking eastward from Tsapee Narrows. I was visiting with the Daredevil & his mate Delilah. I saw a slow progression of several boats come around the SE corner (Auseth Point) of Meares & knew instantly that it must be Orca's!
Boats are always traveling fast,but if there's something of interest,they slow down.
I always joke with the tourists about this. I tell them if they're interested in seeing whales,don't bother looking for whales!
Just look for whale watching boats moving slowly!
Whales are at the surface momentarily. So they are hard to see at a distance. But you sure can see a large boat moving slowly!
Look at the direction the boats are traveling & look forward of them. Thats most likely where the whales will breach.
Wakana & Rainny arrived right at sunset! I couldn’t of written it any better!
I look forward to meeting them again!!
Credit to Rod Palm (http://www.strawberryisle.org/)
I heard that some Orca’s were in the harbour and rushed to get my boat out. They had made a kill right in the harbour! I do not know which pod they were and will update accordingly.
By the time I got out they had left the harbour and were heading north alongside Meares Island (west side).
I caught up with them and stayed with them for 3 hours. I finally let them go near Ahoushat. The sun was setting and I was in open ocean.
It was an amazing day folks and my heart was pounding all the way!
This does not happen every day!
I filled my boots with it all today.
Great day to be alive in Tofino!
This is the last shot I took of the night. The pod was heading north along the coast and I was getting too far away from Tofino.
It was about 8:15pm and there wasn’t much time left until the sunset(9:21pm)
I wanted to see if I could shoot something else. So I turned the boat and headed back into town.
A small pod came through town today around noon or so. It was very windy and there was no way I was going out in those conditions,so I shot from land.
A friend phoned and gave me the heads up on them coming down the channel (Browning Pass). I decided the best vantage point would be Lovekin Point. It narrows there and forces them to come to me………and they did just that! I couldn’t believe it!
It was a beautiful moment to see these magnificent creatures and I got some excellent shots too!
Icing to my cake!!
I’ve sent some to our local Cetacean expert,Rod Palm.
UPDATE:(next day)- Rod got back to me and told me who they were. It’s Big Momma’s Gang(T109s) and the big male is called”Nitinat”(T012A). He was just tagging along with the gang.This is him.
However,Rod also mentioned that Big Momma wasn’t with her gang and he is concerned!
These creatures have had a very hard time trying to survive with us around.
We can only hope that Big Momma shows up?