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Orcas at play keep residents watching waters off Oak Bay

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Orcas at play outside the Oak Bay Beach Hotel on Aug. 28. (Oak Bay Beach Hotel/Instagram)

A handful of orcas frolicked and fished along the coast, and were spotted near Oak Bay Marina through to McNeill Bay over a handful of hours Sunday evening.

Many captured videos in the latest trend of land-based whale watching. Several boats were also in the area.

Reports are frequent from both ship and shore this time of year. By noon Monday (Aug. 29), the Pacific Whale Watch Association operators had already spotted six different groups of Bigg’s killer whales throughout the Salish Sea.

READ ALSO: Watch 14 clips of a grey whale at play near Victoria

The area has been home to injured and captive orca in the past.

In 1977, the saltwater pool at the original Oak Bay Beach Hotel was briefly home to an injured young orca from Nanaimo. Dubbed Miracle, it stayed six months before being relocated to nearby Sealand of the Pacific at what is now Oak Bay Marina.

Sealand was most famous for its killer whales and the controversy of whales in captivity, including the 1991 death of trainer Keltie Byrne in the whale tank.

Miracle died in captivity in the early 1980s and the Oak Bay attraction closed in 1992.

Now, the wild whales keep active through the Salish Sea. Earlier this year, Greater Victoria scored a new record with 72 whales spotted in one day.

Those at sea in B.C. are reminded to stay at least 100 metres from humpbacks, gray whales, and minke whales and 200 metres from whales if they appear to be resting or have a calf. Boaters must remain 400 metres from all killer whales between Campbell River and Ucluelet.


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About the Author: Oak Bay News Staff

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