August 12, 2003

Cetacean encounter of the Close Kind

For the first time, Pour la premiere foi a Vancouver j'ai vue une baleine dans English bay.
It was incredible. I was sailing back from Bowen Island last saturday evening...

I was on-call and I need to get back to program a satellite acquisition. As we (Tania, Alycia and Ericho) passed by Point Atkinson (light house park) at around 9:20 pm a False killer whale surfaced right next to the San Juan 24' we were on.
I was at the helm and the sound of the whale exhaling air through its blow hole was so lound that I had a good fright. Pretty quickly I recovered my senses to realize it was a whale. We continued on our course with the whale swimming next to us, often less than a foot away from the boat. After about 10-15 minutes the whale just turned away and stared swimming on its own. As it was the fireworks night there were many boats on the water. So it made our encounter so close to the city seem all the more amazing. The fireworks seemed to pale in comparison to this increadibly powerful close encounter with the whale.
I furiously researched the internet to make sure I knew what whale it was. I am now pretty certain it was a False killer whale that has been seen several times before in the region. After reporting the sighting to the Cetacean sighting network, they informed me that it was in fact "Willy" who has been in the region.
Stephen even unearthed a report of a False Killer whale being seen in Alaska.
I can now really understand the power of using "umbrella" species in conservation efforts. These animals are so awe inspiring when seen in their own habitat, that you can't help but want to protect them.

Posted by gwendal at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)