The Eye of an Orca

  A friend sent me her cousin's short story about canoeing with Orcas. It's really lovely and reminded me of a trip I took to kayak with Orcas in Johnstone Strait, British Columbia. I've been twice, but the most memorable was early one foggy morning when the water and the sky were both steel gray. The Orcas in the Strait are residents, and eat salmon, not mammals. We had positioned the kayaks near the steep rocky shore, and were waiting in total silence. The first indication we had they were coming was the distance whoosh of air as one then another then another surfaced to exhale. Moments later we were ducking salmon as they leapt out of the water to escape the Orcas. I had a split second to consider the insanity of positioning a line of tippy kayaks, bobbing in freezing cold water like so many pieces of driftwood, directly in the path of a feeding pod of Orcas, when we were surrounded. Orcas in front of us, behind us, under us. Salmon leaping everywhere.

Since I posted this last December, I've heard about this company. There is great whale footage on the site. Makes me want to book another trip.
2009 Recipient of National Geographic Adventure Magazine's "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth"
2009 National Geographic Traveler Magazine's "50 Best Trips of a Lifetime"
2010 National Geographic "Best Deals for Adventurous Travelers"

2011 National Geographic Traveler Magazine's "Best Whale Watching Locations"
"Photo by Gary Luhm. (c)
Sea Kayak Adventures, Inc."

There was one other moment on that trip that I will never forget. We were back on the "mother ship" and I was standing on the stern watching a female orca attempt to control a rambunctious baby by making what can only be described as watery raspberries. Every time she blew a bubbly raspberry, I imitated the sound. With the baby in tow, she dove and came up at the stern of our boat, turned on her side and looked directly at me. I'll never know, of course, but I had the feeling she was telling me to back off, which I did.

This is my friend's cousin reading his winning short story. It's seven minutes long, and worth listening to.