Looking for a Wolf, got Mugged By Orcas

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Rodnak Kayak, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    So, Andrea and I went for a paddle Wednesday to Discovery Island, with hopes of sighting the wolf Steqaya, that lives between Discovery and the Chatham Islands. Well, no luck. We did meet the “Wednesday Group” of SISKA paddlers, and a small group from ORS, on a tour. Baynes Channel was a bit lumpy, as the tides were quite big, and we were able to catch the last of the ebb (with a bit of fighting) to circle around the Chatham Islands towards Discovery. We had just enough water to glide thru between both groups, just enough, the tide was super low.
    Lunch was had at Rudlin Bay with the Wednesday Group, they had already left, and we dedided to get going also, as the tide had turned and we wanted to catch the flood back to Smugglers Cove, so off we went towards Plumper Passage, when we noticed over 16 boats just sitting there off the Chain Islets about a half a mile away. Whales must be close! We watched and waited a bit, but we were quite far off, so we again took up our paddles and started to head back into Baynes Channel to catch a ride on the flood tide.Whoa! Then we both see a small dorsal fin about 30 feet in front of us heading across our bows. We both thought this is a porpoise or dolphin. WRONG! Almost instantly three dorsal fins emerge from the water, with the biggest being a large male Orca coming straight towards us. They all swam quite slow, and deliberate towards us, and we literally split the pod in two with our boats. They skilfully avoided us (yay! Whew!) and kept swimming past. More fins, more Orcas as we just sat there in amazement. There were 5 to 6 whales, two males and 2-3 females, and maybe a juvenile smaller one. Of course, by now, all the boats were headed towards us (as best they are allowed, as Straight Watch was also in the flotilla keeping any stray boats in line if need be. Now I did catch a few crummy pics with my little waterproof camera, but none were much good. It was all over in about 5-7 minutes, but it seems like 30 seconds.
    As we then started to paddle out into Baynes Channel in ernest, a whale watching boat hailed us, and after a chat in some very lumpy waters, close to a largish boat, the skip of the craft informed us they had some great pics of us “amongst the pod” so to speak. Asking if we would like copies we yelled YES PLEASE! It was Maya’s Legacy Whale Watching out of Friday Harbour in Washington. So, some of the pics are from a non kayaking view point. This was such a bonus! We gratefully thanked Capt. Jim Maya for his generosity. We have about 25 or so pics altogether, these were some of the good ones. 20728848_10154855005200036_2378223425453215590_o.jpg DSC_6157 2.jpg DSC_6172.jpg DSC_6178.jpg IMGP0009.jpg IMGP0011.jpg
    Bottom line, at one point we were no more than 10-15 feet away from the large male swimming towards us, what a rush! One more item off the ole bucket list huh?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2017
    mbiraman and Dan_Millsip like this.
  2. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    Sorry, but somehow many of the pics got duplicated. Maybe admin can fix this up. Not sure what I did , still getting used to new format, but I do like it! Great job so far Dan and company...
     
  3. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Rod-
    Thanks for the pics and writeup. Excellent!
    For a place that's close to 'town', Discovery/Chatham is quite 'wild'.
    The next day, some friends of mine got attacked by a seal in the same area (Chatham).
    I'm encouraging them to post some details here, as I only got a few snippets (ripped drysuit, hole in paddle -and shoulder) in an email.
    I wonder if your Orcas were the seal-eating variety?
     
  4. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    Hi John, As we found out from the Skip of the whale tour boat, it was indeed Transients, T19B and T81 were two ID'd. As a matter of fact, the wife almost got swamped by a panicked seal that came up right by her kayak. With such clear water that day we actually watched a few seals swimming alongside of us, just under our boats, I assume for camouflage. There are hundreds of seals around there, many babies too, I assume tender and tasty, both for Orca and wolf. We only found out after we saw the others pics, that the thugs were actually circling us, although probably more out of curiousity. The Skip gave me the term of us being "mugged", pretty accurate.