Attack of the Killer Whales
25 August 2014 | Posted at Kwatsi Bay
It's not science fiction, folks!
Wednesday, 20 August 2014
Bound for Viner Sound, we hear Whimsey calling in to Echo Bay for moorage. We decide to alter our plans and go to Pierre's Echo Bay Marina. Pierre's is packed with boats, the Echo Bay Yacht Club is having their annual salmon derby with the wrap-up ceremonies tonight after dinner. We tie up at the transient dock for a couple of hours and Pierre finds a spot for us to moor for the night. We get reservations for the BBQ prime rib dinner and meet up with Tom and Pat on Whimsey.
Dinner was fabulous, as it always is, and we had a good time getting caught up with old friends and making some new acquaintances.
Thursday, 21 August 2014
We linger at the dock until the morning fog lifts since we do not have far to go today. We travel five miles up to Viner Sound, just off Hornet Passage. Viner is a long finger of water that extends two miles into Gilford Island. It terminates at the mouth of a stream that leads down from an inland lake. There are two coves to anchor in and the B.C. Forest Service has installed mooring buoys. We tie to the inner buoy in the north cove, a spot we have stayed in before. The cove is very protected from all winds and the mountain to the north is very scenic, with high rock walls. There is a small stream that empties into the cove as well.
Soon two more boats enter and one takes the outer buoy while the sail boat anchors and ties a line to shore from her stern. We have a pleasant evening and a quiet night.
Friday, 22 August 2014
We had planned to move on to Wakana Bay today but are enjoying the cove and decide to stay one more night. Rob launches the Bullfrog tender and heads out to explore for the morning with camera in hand. We always have hand-held radios to keep in contact when off in the dinghy. Soon a call comes from Sharon on Sirena “Rob, there are dolphins in the channel!”.
They were after the salmon that are schooling at the mouth of the streams. The salmon are waiting for a chance to go upstream and spawn. This has been an incredibly dry summer in B.C., the stream levels a are very low. This, combined with a record run of returning salmon, make fishing conditions excellent for all of the predators in the area, humans included. When there is a good freshet of rain, the bears will get in on the harvest.
Rob spent the next hour recording the Pacific white-sided dolphins as they raced around the head of Viner Sound in a pod of about 50 or more. The dolphins continued to swim out in the main part of the sound, but did not enter our cove until late afternoon. Why? The answer was soon apparent when we spotted the large black fins of orcas, or killer whales, out in the sound. There were at least 7 orcas of all sizes and they were on the prowl for dolphins. The dolphin action became frenetic as they dashed in and out of the two coves, seeking the safe haven of shallow water. The orcas were relentless in their pursuit and came into our cove numerous times, swimming under Sirena with such speed that the wake caused us to rock violently from side to side. There was obviously some high drama going on under the surface as the orcas attacked the pod of dolphins. This went on for at least two hours and when things settled down there were three mortally wounded dolphins beached on the rocks at the head of our cove.
We had the “National Geographic Moment of a Lifetime” today. Watching all this unfold was mentally draining for both of us. Rob had recorded over a thousand digital images and about an hour of video. There is a lot of editing to be done and we will try to post some of the pics online when we get to a good internet connection.
Saturday, 23 August 2014
We departed Viner Sound to travel up Tribune Channel to another of our favorite stops, Kwatsi Bay. Enroute we travel through the Burdwood Group of islands and across the face of Deep Sea Bluff. Rob captures video footage of both while Sharon steers Sirena past the scenery. We get to Kwatsi Bay and tie up at the floats. Anca and Max greet us and welcome us back. We will have a happy hour gathering at five. There are six other boats at the dock tonight, three sail and three power.