The Northern Resident

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The kayaks are secured; the tents are up. We are not expecting rain tonight but a strong northwest wind is blowing down the Okisollo Channel. My buddy and I head to the island's leeward side. At the water's edge, we prepare our dinner and share our stories, laughing about our day paddling in the tidal currents of Surge Narrows. Then he arrives... Orca!

I do not recall why I carried my camera to this side of the island. All I can think about is getting it out of its waterproof case and turned on. In the distance, a tall dorsal fin rose out of the water; it was heading straight for us. Scanning the water in front of us, our anticipation builds. Did we really just see that? Where will he surface next?

The black fin again pierces the surface of the water. Just metres from the rock we are standing on, our visitor rises up and announces himself with a powerful exhale. He slowly glides by the shore, curiously looking at us. Gently, he slaps his tail on the water and departs as magically as he appeared.

I have since learned that this part of the ocean is a traditional territory for Biggs Killer Whales (transients) and is very rarely frequented by Northern Residents.

His name is Kaikash (A46), a 31 year old Northern Resident Killer Whale that made this kayak trip to Surge Narrows unforgettable.

Thank you to all that helped in identifying him.

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