August 10, 2009 | Tips from Travellers >
Sooke, Kayaking & Canoeing
They’re 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 hadn’t 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. Don’t believe me? Think I’m exaggerating? This is no fisherman’s tall tale, and I have the video to prove it. Join me on my adventure and watch this astonishing recount.