Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photo courtesy Ella Smiley)

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photo courtesy Ella Smiley)

Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

A unique orca named Chainsaw came to the mid Island and brought a lot of members of his pod with him.

Whale watchers in the area got to see hours of activity Sunday, April 11, as a super pod of Bigg’s killer whales passed Neck Point and spent hours near Lantzville’s Sebastion Beach before moving on to Nanoose Bay and points north.

Nicky Smiley, creator of Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings on Facebook, and daughter Ella were among those who watched the orcas from shore. Smiley said they had heard that a particular orca known as Chainsaw was in the area and didn’t want to miss the chance to see him.

“We caught up with way more than we thought were going to be there,” she said, estimating there were at least 18 transients in the super pod.

At one point it looked like the orcas might have been feeding on a sea lion, but mostly they just seemed playful, she said.

“There was lots of spy hops, they were tail slapping, breaching,” she said.

Smiley said she started the Facebook page six years ago but it’s been over the past three or so years that it’s really gained momentum and led to more frequent sightings. The page has close to 11,000 followers and enough active users to track the progress of orcas up and down the coast. There are group chats, networking with whale-watching businesses, and 12-year-old Ella takes photos and has expertise in identifying the individual orcas spotted.

Nicky said the bulk of people in the group watch from land, but Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings regularly shares information about boat viewing rules and reminders for people to be respectful and keep a distance.

“We’re quite keen to promote education on them as well,” she said. “They’re beautiful and let’s enjoy them, but let’s also respect and learn what they need.”

She said anyone is welcome to join the Facebook group, as the more eyes on the water, the more chance for everybody to get to see orcas. Even after so many sightings, Nicky said watching the creatures is “absolutely magical” every time.

“There’s something totally different about seeing them from land,” she said. “You’ve not interfered with them whatsoever, they’re just going about their business and you’re just lucky enough to get a little peep into their world.”

READ ALSO: Killer whales come close to shore in wild-coast spectacle in Nanaimo

EDITORIAL: Admire killer whales, but from a distance

RELATED: ‘Almost supernatural:’ orcas active around Nanaimo



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

AnimalsOrca

Just Posted

An online cooking lesson with Ian Blom, the Red Seal Chef from the Ainslie Restaurant, is one of the items on auction in a fundraiser for the Duncan Curling Club and other causes. (Submitted photo)
Online action being held to assist Duncan Curling Club and other causes

Auction, run by the Duncan Rotary Club, closes May 22

Police tape crosses Auchinachie Road at Somenos Road as police investigate an incident Friday at 11:30 a.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
UPDATE: North Cowichan neighbourhood, school evacuated after gardener digs up explosives

Students removed from Ecole Mount Prevost school in an ‘abundance of caution’

The Cowichan Valley Naturalists are offering a look at B.C.’s glass sponge reefs at a presentation on May 18. (Adam Taylor photo)
A&E column: Glass sponge reefs; AGM; and new book

What’s going on in arts and entertainment in the Cowichan Valley

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

Most Read