WATCH: Rare close encounter with whale pod

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

“Wow” is a common word used by whale watchers, but the wow factor of this encounter was greater than most.

A pod of Southern Resident orca whales passed so close to the shore, bystanders along Galiano Island could have reached out and petted them.

“I could have put my hand in and touched one, but I respect them so much I would never want to interfere with their natural tradition,” said Rachelle Hayden, who was standing along the edge of the shore in the video.

RELATED: Humpback rubs against whale-watching boat near Campbell River

Hayden, a Galiano Island resident had gotten a phone call from a friend who gave her the heads up the pod of whales were heading through Active Pass. She ran out with her husband who took the video as whales breached right off the shore.

“You will see J46, Star, a female orca actually looks right at me and stops and stares at me,” Hayden continued. “I felt like she was trying to communicate… all I could do as a human was wave but I felt like there was a communication.”

RELATED: Humpbacks breach so close man can smell whale

Hayden, who runs a Tour Galiano had seen whales before, but never that close and remembers being so excited with the encounter she has since watched the video 1,000 times.

“It was incredible I was so happy, it has brought happiness to other people watching it (too),” she said.

arnold.lim@blackpress.ca

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