I haven’t been able to get out for one reason or another. Life in Tofino is never linear……thankfully! Life here is always unpredictable. When I wake in the morning I never know where or what I will be doing at the end of the day? Its a strange life to be sure but I wouldn’t trade it for all the gold.
This was originally shot on June 23rd,2013.
A small pod of Orca’s came into Tofino inlet looking for a snack.
Whenever a pod comes into a area,they make their presence known by announcing themselves.They make certain sounds that are very recognizable to all listening! Everyone in the neighbourhood knows exactly who they are & what they want! So everyone swims away & hides.Usually in beds of seaweed.
Once the pod announces themselves,they fall silent.They move into each bay checking the seaweed beds for hiding prey.Once supper is found,it’ll try to make a run for it.Sometimes they get away……..& sometimes they do not.
This time not so lucky for Mr.Seal. They made a kill! The water must of been all red from the blood as a few of the blows turned red!
After making the kill,the large male decided to come over and check me a visit.
He caught me off guard! I had my large lens on but because he popped up only 15 feet away I needed a wide angle lens. You could hear me cursing for a mile when I realized that!
………and I “think” I know why he came over to check me out?
I wear a pair of large headphones.I like listening to music,plus it muffles the engine noise and also keeps my hat on. When we came into Rankin Cove I took it off & had placed it on the hard floor of my boat.I shut the motor off so I could hear them breath. I hear them,locate and shoot.
When I threw the headphones to the boat floor I had accidentally left the music playing.I suspect the large male heard the music transmitting through the hull & simply came over to find out what that noise was?
When he surfaced directly in front of me,he surprised me! He slowly rolled over onto his left side & glided gently under my boat.I’ll always remember that large questioning eye looking up at me!
Yes,I do take pictures for a living but also live for moments like this! Words fail to describe the moment exactly. I’ve never been good with them to be honest. My worst subject through school. As a matter of fact If my English had been 2 percent points higher in grade 13 I would of gone into Ryerson for a BSc in Photography rather than pursuing Geology.
Life is complicated but in moments like this it seems so simple!
I was riding my bike downtown when a friend yelled out from his truck that a Orca pod had just gone through the harbour and more importantly was heading inside!
When they go on the inside inlets they are much easier to get shots of. On the outside after they sound, one never knows where they are going to surface but on the inside the passages are much more narrow and act like a cattle chute.
I hurried to get out in my boat! (which still took me over a hour) I had trouble finding them as no boats were tailing them by the time I arrived. I didn’t know If they had gone north into Fortune Channel or continued eastward down Tofino Inlet? I searched for about 3 hours but finally found them way down Tofino inlet past Barryman point. There were four of them! I immediately recognized them as the pod I had seen two weeks earlier! Almost right off the bat I saw three total breaches! I was lucky to get them! While I was consumed with getting the shots I didn’t notice that another pod of 5 had joined them. I was surrounded by them! They all seemed to be very happy! One of them came up behind me and vocalized! I’ve never heard a Orca speak before and was startled! I continued to hear many differently vocalizations! I wondered if they were upset with me being around them but soon realized that If they were they would not be hanging around and they would be avoiding me. They jumped out of the water,slapped their tails,rolled and talked loudly to each other!
I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing! I was with them over 2 hours and took 571 shots. I also took some video. I won’t be getting many more opportunities like this again!
I stayed with them right to sunset. I didn’t want to waste a single moment! I was over a hour away from town. I said goodnight and thanked them as I accelerated. I could see off to my right one of them tail slapping more than three times in a row. I considered that to be them waving goodbye and goodnight!
On my way back I passed through Tsapee Narrows where the Daredevil lives. It was getting dark but not dark enough for me to be able to see the Daredevil flying towards me! He flaired right above me and a large feather immediately fell! I turned around and picked it up and thanked him!
The feather gift was the cherry to top off a excellent Orca shoot!
There was definitely a celebration going on! Just minutes after my arrival I saw three breaches!
This is the calf I saw a few weeks ago. I only got shots of its left side but it appears the right side is even more wounded from an attack.
The lighter markings I assumed were caused by the adults scoldings but there are much deeper more serious wounds here! I wonder what happened or what attacked it?
The main thing they all seemed to do was tail slap. They do this to celebrate.When two pods meet they do a lot of this.
Every Orca seemed to be celebrating. This one liked to surface upside down.
This Orca turned sideways.
This Orca did a back flip
I went out tonight with the goal of finding some of my furry friends up in Fortune Channel. At the south end of Fortune Channel is Dawley Pass. I was heading northward and about to enter Fortune when a Orca popped up right in front of me heading south! Orcas are relatively rare,so I turned around and began following them. I was with them the better part of 3 hours. They headed eastward down Tofino inlet. Other boats joined me in procession. After a hour or so all the other boats took off leaving me alone with them once again. The light was pretty good for the background but they did stay in the shadows. I’m not sure how many were in this pod but I’d hazard a guess at 4 or 6 ? The youngster kept coming up with a bit of a jump to its breach! I’ll find out who they are tomorrow. I lost them around Rankin rocks and so headed back to Tofino. I stopped off for a quick hello with the Daredevil. Couldn’t stay long as I was already coming back in semi darkness and I do not have running lights.
I was very happy to of found them! These are very intelligent and beautiful creatures!
UPDATE : April 29.19 – I found out this pod is T023C.Three matured females and a calf. aka Motley Crew
I’m not sure but assume these marks were caused by a Sea Lion fighting back……..and yes it was probably the last thing it ever did….cause their on the menu!
UPDATE : May 1/19 – Here is my latest theory……These markings may be from the adults?
When we all were children our mother or father sometimes scolded and disciplined us.I think these marks are from the teeth of the mother and father scolding the calf. Like getting your rear paddled.
I’ve asked the experts but they do not seem to know,but they do say these marks are common on Orcas.
Rainny’s dorsal fin is between 5 & 6 feet! A big boy!
I knew the light was gone where they were,so I swung around to capture them as silhouettes against that gorgeous background! Both Wakana & Rainny came up to pose perfectly!