It was a wildlife photographer’s bonanza on Saturday, Feb. 27 when a pod of orca or killer whales passed by Campbell River close to shore.
Wildlife enthusiasts Ella and Nicky Smiley who co-run the Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings Facebook page tracked the pod that included matriarch T069 Komox, the big male, T069C Kye, the male T069E young male Kodiak and his sibling T069F Kin. The animals passed by close to the Vancouver Island shore, being first reported off Kitty Coleman Beach near Comox at 7:46 a.m. The Smileys then tracked them north, including catching them hunting porpoise off Stories Beach, just south of Campbell River. The orca then travelled close to shore for the next five hours passing under the Discovery Pier off the City of Campbell River’s waterfront around 1 p.m. and then continuing north.
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For Campbell River area newcomers Eule Kuhling and her husband Robin Day, this pod gave them their first-ever sighting of orca. They started following the pod at Stories Beach and made stops at various viewpoints along the way, losing them at Orange Point Road north of the city.
“The best shots were from the pier as the orcas submerged about 100 metres out and popped up right alongside the pier,” Day said.