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Orca hunting seals off B.C. turns into a ‘once in a lifetime event’ for photographer

Campbell River shore watchers get a rare up-close look at hunting orcas in action

A Campbell River photographer got rare photos of a group of orcas hunting a seal in the waters near the city last week.

On May 30, Sheree Adams was notified over Facebook that there were two orcas swimming north from Shelter Bay. She went to Discovery Pier to try and intercept the whales as they continued north. However, what happened next was beyond her expectations.

“They had taken a dive and had been down for over five minutes when Colleen Wilson, a well-known local photographer with the moniker The Crowtographer, said, ‘I feel like they’re going to surface right beside us,’” Adams said. “We were looking around when we saw this cute little seal watching us about 25 feet off the pier. I had just pointed my camera at it when one of the orca came up from below and hit that poor seal flinging into the air.

“I was able to get a few shots of it after it was hit but as soon as it hit the water it was grabbed by one of the orca and that was it for the seal,” Adams said. “The sound of that orca exploding at the surface with such speed and power is something none of us will ever forget.”

Also at the pier was a man who was thinking of moving to Campbell River, and who was just visiting the city to see if he liked it.

“I told him I had only been here for two years, all during COVID, so I didn’t really know too much about Campbell River myself but that I enjoyed all the wildlife that I had been able to see - whales, dolphins, eagles, bears, etc,” she said. “I had been on the pier about a year ago when a pod of Orca swim right underneath and that’s what had inspired me to start taking photos.

“Little did we know that we were about to see a once in a lifetime event.”

Adams said that the Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings Facebook page has been very helpful for wildlife fans like her.

“It’s a rare occurrence to have been so close to a hunt and to have been able to capture that moment,” she said.

“It’s an invaluable service for those that love to see and share the nature of this amazing place we call home.”

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Marc Kitteringham

About the Author: Marc Kitteringham

I joined Black press in early 2020, writing about the environment, housing, local government and more.
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