Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photo courtesy Ella Smiley)

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photo courtesy Ella Smiley)

Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

A unique orca named Chainsaw came to the mid Island and brought a lot of members of his pod with him.

Whale watchers in the area got to see hours of activity Sunday, April 11, as a super pod of Bigg’s killer whales passed Neck Point and spent hours near Lantzville’s Sebastion Beach before moving on to Nanoose Bay and points north.

Nicky Smiley, creator of Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings on Facebook, and daughter Ella were among those who watched the orcas from shore. Smiley said they had heard that a particular orca known as Chainsaw was in the area and didn’t want to miss the chance to see him.

“We caught up with way more than we thought were going to be there,” she said, estimating there were at least 18 transients in the super pod.

At one point it looked like the orcas might have been feeding on a sea lion, but mostly they just seemed playful, she said.

“There was lots of spy hops, they were tail slapping, breaching,” she said.

Smiley said she started the Facebook page six years ago but it’s been over the past three or so years that it’s really gained momentum and led to more frequent sightings. The page has close to 11,000 followers and enough active users to track the progress of orcas up and down the coast. There are group chats, networking with whale-watching businesses, and 12-year-old Ella takes photos and has expertise in identifying the individual orcas spotted.

Nicky said the bulk of people in the group watch from land, but Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings regularly shares information about boat viewing rules and reminders for people to be respectful and keep a distance.

“We’re quite keen to promote education on them as well,” she said. “They’re beautiful and let’s enjoy them, but let’s also respect and learn what they need.”

She said anyone is welcome to join the Facebook group, as the more eyes on the water, the more chance for everybody to get to see orcas. Even after so many sightings, Nicky said watching the creatures is “absolutely magical” every time.

“There’s something totally different about seeing them from land,” she said. “You’ve not interfered with them whatsoever, they’re just going about their business and you’re just lucky enough to get a little peep into their world.”

READ ALSO: Killer whales come close to shore in wild-coast spectacle in Nanaimo

EDITORIAL: Admire killer whales, but from a distance

RELATED: ‘Almost supernatural:’ orcas active around Nanaimo



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

AnimalsOrca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NEW CUTLINE Payphone use is declining dramatically. (Black Press Files)

One of the last remaining street payphones in Kelowna. (Photo: Mackenzie Britton/Capital News)
Last call approaches for payphones?

Mobile phones diminishing need

James Taylor, a Saanich resident and member of the Curve Lake First Nation, walked all over Greater Victoria on May 5 in honour of Red Dress Day and the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Devon Bidal/News staff)
Indigenous man walks Greater Victoria to honour missing and murdered women and girls

James Taylor, of the Curve Lake First Nation, marks Red Dress Day with healing walk, songs

Victoria police is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying this suspect after they allegedly robbed a Douglas Street bank on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek identity of suspect who alllegedly robbed Victoria bank

Officers were called to a bank in the 1000-block of Douglas Street just after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested for allegedly spitting, yelling anti-Asian racial slurs at a mother and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

Victoria police said Wednesday that they continue to look for Belinda Ann Cameron, who was last seen on May 5, 2005. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police still looking for Belinda Cameron who was last seen 16 years ago

Cameron was reported missing on June 4, 2005, and her case is deemed suspicious

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

Most Read