canada -

Ucluelet Killer Whale

Last week I was on a whale watching boat in the Broken Islands just off the coast of Ucluelet in British Columbia. The captain warned us we might not see whales as they hadn't been spotted in a few days. With so much scenery I was fine with that, it would be an enjoyable cruise nonetheless. As fate would have it we did in fact come upon a family of Orcas. But none of us, including the captain, were prepared for what we were about to witness. As it turns out an unlucky sea lion was there also shadowing a small powerboat and the whales knew. The sea lion would not leave the side of the boat until it eventually sped away leaving him exposed and effectively ending his life. Over the next thirty minutes we watched as the whales surrounded, attacked, toyed, and eventually put an end to the sea lion. It all took place within a radius of twenty-five to one hundred meters from our boat. I'll never forget the sound and feeling of the powerful waves and splashes as the whales pursued their prey. Our captain, Brian Congdon of Subtitle Adventures, said that in thirty-five years of whale tours he's never seen this. It's a well known fact that Killer Whales eat sea lions, but it is rare indeed to witness this act in nature. I for one was deeply impressed by this raw display of nature up close and unscripted.

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