Transient orca’s visit to Victoria Inner Harbour stops all boat and air traffic Friday morning

Transient orca's visit to Victoria Inner Harbour stops all boat and air traffic Friday morning
WatchGood evening, thanks for being with us. Victoria's Inner Harbour is jammed with tourists this time of year. But one visitor stopped everyone in their tracks, even stopping all flights and boat traffic for about twenty minutes. Mary Griffin reports.

Watching an orca swim in the Inner Harbour, Tim Bieber grabs his phone, and starts recording.

Overheard in the recording are voices ordering boaters to slow down. Everything is stopped in the Inner Harbour, at the busiest time of day.

All eyes focused on a single dorsal fin.

“From the tower, the Clipper is going to slow it down for the whale.”

All waiting, and watching, while a lone transient orca, a 15-year-old male “T065A2”, swam its way in to the Inner Harbour.

Watching from the International Marina, employee Mark Dayton grabbed his camera.

“We saw it coming into the harbour, and we just let everybody know. Called the patrol. And it headed down into the Inner Harbour. Turned around, and headed back out by our docks here,” Dayton said.

Even the Harbour Master tweeted out the sighting.

“Wow!… Orca in the Inner Harbour.”

Sitting in her hotel room across from the harbour, Calgary tourist Vicky Shields couldn’t believe it what she saw.

“I was pretty impressed to see a whale so close to the public. And it was unbelievable,” Shield said.

Both the Clipper and Coho held steady, delaying their respective 10:30 a.m departures by about 15 minutes. Bieber can be heard repeating instructions from the Harbour Master.

“Clipper has to stop! Clipper stopped. Air traffic stopped. Orca needs his path out.”

Last year, a group of four or five orcas spent an hour in the harbour, delaying traffic, even going as far as under the Johnson Street Bridge.

“He just took a breath there. Headed out of the harbour. That was pretty cool to see,” said Kelp Reef Adventures’ co-owner Austin.

Even seasoned veterans on the water admit this is a rare treat.

“I’ve seen orcas at the mouth of the harbour, and a humpback one time at the mouth of the harbour, but never this far into the harbour.”

In all, this orca visited for about 15 minutes, before heading back out to sea, and maybe back to his family.

A treat for anyone who caught a brief sighting.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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