I’m a prairie girl, born and raised, but I’ve loved killer whales (and by proxy, all ocean life) for as long as I can remember. First I wanted to BE a killer whale and when I finally figured out that wouldn’t work (I can still dream!) I wanted to study them. I knew that wasn’t going to happen living in Winnipeg so I took every opportunity I could to travel to the west coast and mooch off of my relatives. This meant that when the opportunity to take an extra credit course the summer between Grade 11 and 12 came up that involved living on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island AND learning how to SCUBA dive I was sold!
Turns out I couldn’t have asked for a better experience to foster both my love of killer whales and the ocean. After weeks in the pool learning the ins and outs of dive safety it was FINALLY time for our first ocean dive! We were meant to do a very simple navigation drill: swim out in a straight line, turn around, and come back. But as my buddy and I were swimming out we heard the boat alarm. We had no idea why is was ringing but we knew what it meant – get back NOW! SO we surfaced and looked around for the boat and what did we see about 500m out to see? A POD OF ORCA!!!!!!!!!! I thought I was going to die. Not because I was scared but because I literally thought my heart was going to burst for excitement! There were maybe 6 or 8 of them and they were just going about their day travelling without paying us any mind but to me, that was one of the biggest moments of my life! As soon as we were back ashore I called everyone I could think of. I even left a message for my godmother and she still has it to this day because she can’t bare to delete that much enthusiasm