Orca, also known as a killer whale, is not a whale, but rather a dolphin. As a killer, it is an apex predator at the top of its food chain. Its primary food source is its cousins – dolphins!

It is not a killer of humans, except in the movies and urban legend.

My very first sighting of orcas was a pod with a mother and her calf. It was an exciting visual experience to watch and photograph the calf and mother swim and dive in close proximity to each other, as if they were one very large mammal.

Twin Fins - Mother and Calf Orca

Twin Fins – Mother and Calf Orca

One Orca or Two?

One Orca or Two?

Standing on the back of a zodiac craft in the Johnstone Strait, near Campbell River, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, we were close to the water and close to these magnificent creatures. Maybe too close. A torpedo only 50 feet away, heading straight for our little craft is what came to mind as one dove at the last second and slid under our boat.

Orca Torpedo

Orca Torpedo

I was hoping to see and photograph breaching behavior. Unfortunately, that did not happen. I was, however, able to capture tail slapping, also know as lobtailing.

Tall Tail

Tall Tail

Driving With Dolphins

While traveling through the strait behind the orca pod, we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by a pod of hundreds of dolphins. They jumped, dove and danced around our boat, easily swimming at our speed and always one hop ahead of the bow of the zodiac.



Triple Timing

Triple Timing

Dorsal Dive

Dorsal Dive

Watch this short video clip of driving with the dolphins:

Dolphin Dinner

The orca pod was dead ahead. The dolphins, unaware,  were heading straight for the orca pod. Orcas dine on dolphins. Dolphins fear orcas. When the lead dolphin realized that they were on a collision course with their worst predator, panic prevailed. The dolphin herd turned and fled. The dolphins jumped and dove at top speed, the water churned and splashed, and a wave of dolphins sped by us in the opposite direction hoping to outrun the orca pod.

Panic Flight

Panic Flight

Watch this video clip of the dolphins in panic flight:

The orcas did not pursue. The dolphins escaped and avoided becoming dinner!

Just another day in the wild.

CampbellRiverWhaleWatching.com provide this unique experience. We recommend them if you are in the area. They provided an excellent adventure.

Campbell River was just one stop on our 60-day, 8700 mile, Denver to Denali and back adventure. For a travel blog of the full adventure see:


~ by richardseeley on November 17, 2012.

3 Responses to “Orca”

  1. Good work, we’ll done narrative.


  2. Hi Rich and Beth, I’m with Al, Casey, Ellie and Carly in NC. Everyone’s in bed so I finally have time to look at your beautiful photos again, Rich, and read the whole trip journal, Beth. I love best the photos of Denali. Fabulous! Imagine having Wonder Lake all to yourself, and at the same time being able to see Denali! I saw Denali on my dog mushing trip, but not that close. That must have been something negotiating the road on Inner Denali. I really enjoyed reading of your adventures and seeing the photos from the passenger seat of Betty Lo. Happy to see the Michelle and boys, too. My favorite experience on my Cruise and land extension to Fairbanks our flight around Denali on a fabulous clear day. We flew very close; really thrilling! It was far superior to our flight to Everest.

    How about considering a dog mushing trip next, and seeing Denali in Winter.

    Looking forward to more photos.



    Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2012 16:39:12 +0000 To: dsgilb@msn.com


  3. fantastiques photos et vidéos !!!


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