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Kayaking with Orca, or Killer Whales off Sooke, BC on Vancouver Island.

Posted by Eldho Mathew
Theyre All Around Us! Who knew when I woke up on this Thursday morning that it was going to be an extraordinary day that would produce a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was a beautiful afternoon with calm seas; so, Allan from West Coast Outdoor Adventure Rentals and I decided to take the Hobie kayaks for a spin. Heading out towards Secretary Island just off Sooke, BC in the Juan de Fuca Strait, we got word there was a large pod of Orcas close by. We were so excited to receive this news and at the prospect of seeing killer whales; we were immediately intrigued. As luck would have it, the whales were just as intrigued by us. We could see the whales were swimming near Otter Point, about a mile and a half from where we drifted and bobbed about like buoys in our kayaks. We could just make out the black specks of dorsal fins on the horizon. The killer whales were hugging the shoreline, so we were completely amazed at the events that would take place over the next 30 minutes. Even though we were in the open, usually turbulent, waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait, we were in a flood tide so paddling was smooth—effortless. We held our position and the whales got closer, and closer. The entire pod was heading our way. The pod got a little closer, then a lot closer. Then they were all around us! And under us! And beside us! A mother and her calf gave us an unbelievable experience; if I hadnt caught the scene on video, I would never have believed it. I can wholeheartedly say that this was one of the most stunning, thrilling (and scary!) events of my life. Mother and baby swam straight towards us, and dove directly in front of the bow of my kayak. I could see them both swimming under my kayak and then disappear into the depths. Not knowing where or when then would emerge, I sat in anticipation. And then, they surfaced directly in front of my kayak. Wow. Unbelievable! They were all around us. Dont believe me? Think Im exaggerating? This is no fishermans tall tale, and I have the video to prove it. Join me on my adventure and watch this astonishing recount. Dont forget to check out the official Discover Sooke Online website to learn more about Sooke businesses and our community West Coast Outdoor Adventure Rentals is located at Sooke Harbour Resort and Marina ***UPDATE*** We'd like like to let everyone know that we have been in contact with the DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) as they had some concerns about this video. We assured them that our intentions that day were NOT to intentionally place ourselves in the middle of whales, but rather head out in hopes that we might witness them passing by from a safe distance. "L-POD" were spaced out about 1km in diameter, which placed us amongst them before we even knew it as they were close to shore and moving very quickly. We felt that we didn't have the ability to safely move out of the way nor did we have the time. They appeared around us as quickly as it started. There were fishing vessels and a whale watching boat near us, so we felt we were doing the proper thing by just staying where everyone else was. West Coast Outdoor Adventure Rentals does not rental kayaks for the Strait of Juan de Fuca and are only used in the Sooke Harbour and Basin. These were not rented, we were on our own time. For whale guidelines and regulations, please vist the Whale Wise website: ***END OF UPDATE***
Posted April 20, 2015
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