Sunday, March 31, 2013


Last summer we talked to some people who had just had an orca encounter – their first in 5 years of boat ownership.  We had resigned ourselves to matching or doing worse than their record.  Until yesterday.

We got a moderately early start from the dock at Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club and headed for Otter Bay.  The first club cruise of the year is this weekend.  Marilyn’s late Friday arrival meant that we couldn’t join the group for the Elks Club supper but we attended it last year and weren’t sorry to miss the overdone boiled steaks this time round.  Last year there was a pod of Orcas playing outside the bay one of the days we were here but of course we missed them.

Yesterday about 11:00 in the morning as we approached Otter Bay all of a sudden Marilyn shrieked O R C A S !!!  Of course my instinctive thought was “yeah, right” but almost at the same instant I saw a spout of water ahead of us.  And sure enough, there they were, a small pod of orcas directly in our path.  So we stopped and watched them.  An hour later we finally decided we might as well move on because they showed no sign of leaving. 

As near as we could tell they were playing with a seal, likely teaching some juveniles how to kill their dinner.  A couple of times we saw blood in the water but mostly we saw the adults swimming in a circle with an occasional flash of gray tail in the centre of the circle.  It would be a very bad way to die but I suppose it was the most excitement in an otherwise boring lifetime.  We all have to go sometime; perhaps it is better to go out high on adrenaline than to die of boredom.  It clearly appeared that the seal(s) were not bored.

I had unpacked our new video camera and charged the battery Friday night but other than that hadn’t really even turned it on.  I knew where the on switch was and how to start it recording but I hadn’t learned that I had to manually open the lens.  That meant that the first attempt at recording simply took a picture of the backside of the lens door.  Once I got that figured out I took a few minutes of very jerky and jumpy video.  And later I figured out how to crudely edit that into a Youtube upload which is available for your viewing pleasure here: 

After we tired of watching the blood sport we finished the trip into Otter Bay and got anchored.  There’s a grassy bottom here so it took a couple of sets before I was happy and even then I didn’t pull as hard as I would have liked to while setting the anchor.  If we had any threat of a big blow I would fire up the engines and pull a bit now to dig us in a little further.  It takes a while for the anchor to work its way in on grassy bottom so there’s no point in pulling away right at the start because the anchor will just foul with grass and drag.  Now that we’ve bobbed around putting a gentle pull on it I think I could likely tease it in a bit deeper with some power.  Its been such glorious weather that it doesn’t seem worthwhile to go to the bother of trying for a better set since we’re leaving here tomorrow anyway. 

I’ve been playing with some video editing software and our new camera.  We intend to incorporate some original video footage in our AITC project but first I need to learn how to create something that doesn’t look like I created it.  So watch for regular video postings as I try out the new stuff.  WARNING: the one I linked above is incredibly crude.

No comments: