Killer whales make a splash in Vancouver’s English Bay
Beachgoers and boaters were treated to a rare sight Monday after a pod of orcas spent hours swimming and hunting for seals in Vancouver’s English Bay.
The pod of killer whales, which included at least two adults and a pair of calves, turned up in the early afternoon near Stanley Park before making a stop at Kitsilano Beach.
The orcas then moved on to delight a new crowd at Jericho Beach, where a few of the mammals performed spyhops -- raising the tops of their bodies out of the water in order to survey the sights.
Jody Gruber, a naturalist with the Wild Whales Vancouver touring company, said seeing the animals so close to the city was a rare treat.
“We see them often close to shore lines, close to beaches… but coming into the bay like this, it was quite a sight, quite a beautiful thing,” Gruber said.
Gruber said the killer whales were not among the 87 resident orcas that her passengers see regularly off the coast, and which dine primarily on fish, but transient orcas that can be found migrating throughout the Strait of Georgia and tend to dine on other marine mammals.
“They feed on seals, sea lions, large whales, porpoises, dolphins. That’s what we saw,” Gruber said.
Witnesses reported seeing the pod catch a few seals and get playful in the water, lobtailing and slapping their flukes on the waves.
The sighting followed a similarly crowd-pleasing visit in May 2011, when a pod of orcas briefly swam into Burrard Inlet.
A year earlier, a grey whale meandered into False Creek, making it all the way to Science World before being ushered out by a B.C. Coast Guard vessel.