‘They just turned and came right for us:’ Comox man encounters rare white orca calf

'They just turned and came right for us:' Comox man encounters rare white orca calf
WatchA Comox man captured an encounter with a rare white orca calf over the weekend.

Patrick Moore couldn’t wait to get back on the water Tuesday.

On Sunday, Moore along with his wife, son, and granddaughter, were out boating when they had a wild encounter with the rare pale orca.

“To see a three-year-old just absolutely amazed at what she’s seeing,” said Moore, a resident of the Comox Valley. “And she’s only three and she knew what she was seeing. She was seeing a white whale with mommy and daddy whales.

It happened off Mitlenatch Island, south of Quadra Island on Sunday morning.

“I was all caught on video as a pod of six whales, appeared off the Island, the rare white or pale orca among them, then they put on a show like he had never seen,” Moore said, adding. “They just turned and came right for us.”

The pale white orca calf was first documented in 2018, and according to experts, it has been doing very well.

DFO Biologist Jared Towers said it turns out there is an amazing connection between the little white whale and the successful efforts to stop taking whales into captivity.

“In fact, this little whale’s great-grandmother T-46 was one of the whales that was captured in 1977,” said DFO biologist Jared Towers. “So this family has a very long history of using these waters,” he said.

T46 or “Wake,” a she became known was later freed from captivity due to protests, allowing for the birth of the wild little white whale generations later.

The Comox man described it as the greatest whale sighting of his life, which is saying something, since the 73-year-old spent his life protecting the environment.

In fact, he was part of the Greenpeace effort to save whales from being trapped for captivity. Successfully winning the so-called war of the whales in 1982.

“56 orcas had been taken from the wild by the time we came in,” said Moore.

It’s an achievement he still treasures, and wonders if what happened Sunday isn’t a bit of a thank-you.

“Nature is fantastic,” said the former Greenpeace activist.

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