We watched a pod of transient orcas (T037A’s, to be precise) near Port McNeill, in Kwak’wak’wakw waters, perform an amazing choreography of swirling, slapping, breaching, diving – hunting a hapless seal. We thought, that seal is fucked. Then somehow it got away. And it climbed onto the back of a boat. What ensued was a standoff that lasted almost an hour. The orcas – a big matriarch and 4 young ones of different ages circled the boat. They seemed both very serious about getting the seal and also, somewhat playful. This seemed like not just a hunt, but also a hunting lesson. The seal did not budge from its position next to the engine. We all waited.
We were on the Naiad, the Mackay’s Whale-watching boat, with a small group of children from Tsakis (Fort Rupert).
Eventually the orcas left. The seal slipped back into the water, able to live another day.
They sang. I cried with joy.