Killer whales and their aerials

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Now that the new season is in full swing, I have seen many of my old friends in the forest, waters, and skies around Sonora. Some of my favourite friends are the killer whales that swim through the narrow channels and deep inlets of the Discovery Islands. Yesterday I had this season's first close encounter with the killer whales and I witnessed one of the most amazing aerial maneuvers I've ever seen. 

A group of seven transient killer whales were leaping, squealing, splashing, and playing off Francisco Point on Quadra Island when an adult female made an extraordinary move. She leapt 10 feet clear of the water, leveled out, hung horizontally for a split second, then tucked over and made an almost flawless re-entry! I have previously only seen much smaller Pacific white-sided dolphins perform such graceful aerial tricks. It reminds me that these magnificent animals are truly nothing other than giant dolphins.

By Aaron Nagler, wilderness guide