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Orcas Among Us

Way back in the ‘60’s we had pods of Killer Whales frequenting Vancouver Harbour on a regular basis. By the 1970’s they had all but disappeared. These were also the days when dioxins and other nasty man-made chemicals had wiped out the bottom fishery in Howe Sound making it dangerous to eat any flounder, sole, cod, rockfish, crab, scallop, clam, oyster (you get the idea) from these once bountiful waters. It is accepted that Britannia Mines, just south of Squamish was the culprit. The mine closed in 1974 but it wasn’t until the year 2000 that it was safe to once again eat seafood from the Sound.

In testament to a healthier environment the whales came back. This summer my family on Passage Island sent photos of Orcas hunting along the shoreline below the house. Not the best time to row out to the boat but what a welcome sight!

Then last Monday a pod of dolphins stampeded into Departure Bay. There looked to be hundreds moving rapidly from north to south. Then we saw why they were in such a hurry. A pod of transient Killer Whales were intent on having a feast, and feast they did. When the pod of dolphins made a run out of the bay to open water the pod of Killer Whales was waiting. This stunning event was captured from a departing BC Ferry providing a lifetime experience at no additional charge.

These encounters are not only stimulating but give some hope that mankind is heading in the right direction, a direction that may be in consideration of our natural environment. 

It must be noted that there are no recorded cases of wild Killer Whales attacking humans. The only deaths associated with attacks on humans are confined to captive whales. It's not that humans and killer whales don't come into close contact as seen in the following video posted by Adam Chilton.

View additional resident orca pictures from our recent whale watching adventure at Ocean EcoVentures