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Orcas swim into Victoria Inner Harbour: Video

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A family of Bigg’s killer whales, or transient orcas, were spotted swimming in the Victoria Inner Harbour Friday morning.


The pod of five orcas came into the harbor around 10 a.m., delighting onlookers and causing boats in the harbour to come to a standstill.


A video of the orcas was captured by Orca Spirit Adventures, a whale watching company based out of Victoria.


Hailey Olsen, sales and marketing manager for Spirit Orcas, says she was given a heads up about the whales by one of the company’s tour boats.


“So we just popped our heads out of our office here and there they were, five killer whales just swimming right past,” she told CTV News.


“Actually, I heard them first. You can hear their spray,” she said. “Then I saw them.”


‘DEFINITELY A TREAT’


The last time Olsen saw orcas in the Inner Harbour was in 2019. While she says it’s not unusual to see the marine mammals in the harbour, it’s certainly not common either.


“I’d say probably once a year,” she said.


Olsen says the pod, which was identified as the T124A family, was likely on the lookout for food.


Biggs killer whales eat other marine mammals, such as seals, which can often be found on shorelines.


“They were in shallow waters closer to the shoreline, that’s where they’re going to find their food source,” she said.


Olsen estimates that the orcas were within 50 metres of her when they swam past, far closer than the minimum 200 metres that whale watching vessels must keep away from orcas at sea.


“So this was definitely a treat to see them this much closer,” she said.


‘ON MY BUCKET LIST’


Victoria residents Pierre and Wendi Duve were among those delighted to see the orcas swim past Friday morning.


The pair live at Shoal Point, near Fisherman’s Wharf, and had always wanted to see orcas in the harbour.


“Seeing killer whales was always on my bucket list,” said Pierre.


The couple is selling their home soon, and Pierre was concerned they were going to leave before he had a chance to see orcas in the harbour.


“Two days ago he told me, ‘You know, the only thing I really regret is never seeing a killer whale in the harbour,'” Wendi said of her partner.


“Low and behold, this morning I was in the bedroom getting ready for work and I hear, ‘Oh my god, you need to come out here, there’s killer whales in the harbour!'” she said.


The pair said it was exciting to see the orcas swim by, and that it was nice to see boats in the area stop and give them space.


“Even the Clipper stopped,” said Pierre.


“It’s mindboggling how lucky we were. And how lucky we are to have this view here in Canada,” he added.


On the shore, Olsen says it was nice to see pedestrians stop to take in the moment as well.


“Being able to walk down on the Inner Harbour here and seeing everyone be able to enjoy it is incredible,” she said. “It’s not often that you see that many [people] congregating in one spot in the harbor.” 



A family of Bigg’s killer whales, or transient orcas, were spotted swimming in the Victoria Inner Harbour Friday morning.


The pod of five orcas came into the harbor around 10 a.m., delighting onlookers and causing boats in the harbour to come to a standstill.


A video of the orcas was captured by Orca Spirit Adventures, a whale watching company based out of Victoria.


Hailey Olsen, sales and marketing manager for Spirit Orcas, says she was given a heads up about the whales by one of the company’s tour boats.


“So we just popped our heads out of our office here and there they were, five killer whales just swimming right past,” she told CTV News.


“Actually, I heard them first. You can hear their spray,” she said. “Then I saw them.”


‘DEFINITELY A TREAT’


The last time Olsen saw orcas in the Inner Harbour was in 2019. While she says it’s not unusual to see the marine mammals in the harbour, it’s certainly not common either.


“I’d say probably once a year,” she said.


Olsen says the pod, which was identified as the T124A family, was likely on the lookout for food.


Biggs killer whales eat other marine mammals, such as seals, which can often be found on shorelines.


“They were in shallow waters closer to the shoreline, that’s where they’re going to find their food source,” she said.


Olsen estimates that the orcas were within 50 metres of her when they swam past, far closer than the minimum 200 metres that whale watching vessels must keep away from orcas at sea.


“So this was definitely a treat to see them this much closer,” she said.


‘ON MY BUCKET LIST’


Victoria residents Pierre and Wendi Duve were among those delighted to see the orcas swim past Friday morning.


The pair live at Shoal Point, near Fisherman’s Wharf, and had always wanted to see orcas in the harbour.


“Seeing killer whales was always on my bucket list,” said Pierre.


The couple is selling their home soon, and Pierre was concerned they were going to leave before he had a chance to see orcas in the harbour.


“Two days ago he told me, ‘You know, the only thing I really regret is never seeing a killer whale in the harbour,'” Wendi said of her partner.


“Low and behold, this morning I was in the bedroom getting ready for work and I hear, ‘Oh my god, you need to come out here, there’s killer whales in the harbour!'” she said.


The pair said it was exciting to see the orcas swim by, and that it was nice to see boats in the area stop and give them space.


“Even the Clipper stopped,” said Pierre.


“It’s mindboggling how lucky we were. And how lucky we are to have this view here in Canada,” he added.


On the shore, Olsen says it was nice to see pedestrians stop to take in the moment as well.


“Being able to walk down on the Inner Harbour here and seeing everyone be able to enjoy it is incredible,” she said. “It’s not often that you see that many [people] congregating in one spot in the harbor.” 

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