I was sailing north from Poet's Cove on South Pender Island the other day when suddenly i was surrounded by a Pod of Orca. There were perhaps 12 individuals in the group. I was trying to go wing on wing at the time in a light wind, a precarious balance especially when one first sets one's sails.
They caught me by suprise; I heard a loud splash of tail fluke and a distant cheer from a whale watching boat that was about 1000 metres astern off my port side. I turned and saw the whales swimming close to shore, along the bluff's where all the locals, seals, and various other boaters fish for Salmon.
These waters are rich in Coho, Spring, and other varieties of Salmon. It's herring spawning season too and there were millions if not billions of herring jumping out of the water and spawning, mainly at dusk.
I had an immediate thought when i saw the first Orca; 300 mil lens. I dove into the boat and dragged up the big artillery, a contax 35 mil film camera and a 300 mil lens. While trying to balance the tiller (unsucessfully) between my knees and keep Mystic on track i attempted to change lenses, from the wide angle that was on the camera to the 300 mil. Something went terribly wrong and i could not focus the damn thing. It was not mounted correctly. I saw that the Orca were going to be a challenge to shoot as they appeared relatively unpredictably on the surface and were gone before one could have a chance to frame and focus. I discarded the film cam and grabbed the digital SLR that was sitting always ready on the cockpit, gib flapping in the wind due to the relatively low wind and wing on wing running directly down wind. I guessed at where, directly off my port beam the next Orca might appear. Bingo! The Bull of the POD, leader of the pack surfaced right where i had guessed and i held my finger on the shutter shooting 5 frames per second of the whole sequence, set upon the simplicity of the Trincomali Channel and it's various Ilsands and islets. Here is the best of the sequence, shot on an 85 mil canon lens, not the right lens for the job really but all's well that ends well.