Beach-goers in Nanaimo got to share the waters of Departure Bay with a pod of orcas this past weekend.
Lori Jones, a resident of the area, said the orcas spent more than an hour and a half in the bay Saturday night, feeding on a seal. More and more people gathered at the beach to look, and by the end there were hundreds watching the Bigg’s killer whales “put on quite a show,” people ooh-ing and ahh-ing as they might do if they were watching a fireworks display.
“It was like a festival atmosphere by the end and I thought, that’s really cool,” said Jones.
A B.C. Ferries vessel came in to dock at one point and “it didn’t even phase them, they just kept pulverizing the seal,” she said.
As far as being respectful of the orcas and keeping a distance, Jones said beach-goers were “not too bad,” and mostly just stopped whatever they were doing to watch.
“The bay was so crowded … people were swimming, kayaking. It was really busy, but generally people were pretty good about trying to stay away from them,” she said.
Jones said orcas come into the bay “more often than you’d think,” but generally cruise in and cruise out without attracting the kind of attention they got this past weekend.