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Photo: Closer Encounter with a Bull Orca

My girlfriend and I had swam out after the sun had gone down to a raft about 300 feet off shore in the later part of August. We stayed on the raft till it was getting a little chilly and headed into shore. She was a good swimmer and was ahead of me. The shoreline has quite a sharp drop from the high tide to low tide which consists of smooth rocks.

It happened to be a very high tide that evening. She had just walked onto the beach and I was just touching my toes into the rocks as I was swimming in behind her. All of a sudden I heard a loud blast of air/water spray and a grunting type noise right behind me. I turned my head to see the spray of a Bull Orca (killer whale) surface directly behind me. It had a massive dorsal fin which I would estimate to be about 10 feet high. It was with no exaggeration no more than 7 feet behind me.

It obviously was watching me and fully aware of us swimming into the shore. My heart skipped a beat or two but I realized that it already had pased and by that time I was on the shoreline. It surfaced a few more times and went around a little island, "Dick Island", where there were 13 more orcas swimming around. That was close enough for me and a memory and experience I treasure to this day.

Message to Canadians: Stay in shallow water when swimming...especially at high tide :)

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/oceans/projects/healthy-oceans/pacific-ocean-stories/closer-encounter-with-a-bull-orca-killer-whale/

By Melvin Staaf

Texada Island

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1 Comment

Oct 10, 2012
8:59 PM

I can relate to your experience. I fell face first, feet first into one of the slide outs for Kandoo and Nootka at MarineLand in Niagara Falls. I had no traction and was slipping into the pool slowly. I heard the water break behind me and saw a big mouth right at my feet. I was digging my finger nails into the paint to try to pull myself out. I managed to pull myself out but it seemed like an eternity. The reason I commented is because not only should the West coast be protected, all sea life and habitat should be protected. I am motivated by a friend of mine Kiska who is all alone in a pool at MarineLand in Niagara Falls. Currently we have been fighting for laws to protect sea animals in captivity. We should be leaders in protecting all animals but sadly Canada fails.

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