Diane McLeod sent in this photo of T073B, the transient orca that has been putting on a show near the Comox Marina for the past week.

VIDEO: Whale plays with boat’s anchor line at Vancouver Island marina

Orca grabbing anchor rope a ‘serious concern’

The transient killer whale that has been swimming near the Comox Marina since July 23 has begun to “play” with boats in the water.

Ara Stevenson captured a video on Sunday of the orca grabbing a sailboat’s anchor rope and dragging it through the water.

She said they had just come in from fishing when the orca arrived in the area and took hold of the anchor rope of a nearby sailboat. They turned off their engine and watched as T073B pulled the boat into the side of another.

“It did crash into it,” said Stevenson. “The big boat had thrown a dinghy in between the boats.”

She said she has lived on the island for awhile but has never seen anything like this.

“The matter of this orca grabbing the anchor rope of a sailboat is a very serious concern,” said Peter Hamilton, founder of Lifeforce. “This type of behaviour resulted in the death of an orca. A lone orca, ‘Luna,’ separated from his family would ‘play’ with boats in Gold River… He was killed by a boat propeller.”

Luna was killed by a tugboat in 2006 after showing playful behaviour near the vessel.

Jared Towers, killer whale researcher with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, says he understands why the comparison is being made between T073B and Luna, but there are significant differences. Luna was a young orca, alone for a long period of time, whereas this orca is full grown and has only been alone for a week.

“We’re obviously concerned about the killer whale,” said Towers, “but if the whale spends more time in the area and interacts more with the environment there, that’s also a concern to human safety.”

READ MORE: Comox Marina boaters may be causing orca stress, DFO says

Towers said the more the orca is habituated with its environment, the greater the possibility of it injuring itself by becoming entangled or getting cut by the bottom of a boat. He adds that a whale of this size can also cause significant property damage, and if it continues to act this way around boats, could pose a large risk to the people on board.

All boaters, kayakers and paddlers must stay at least 200 metres away from the orca for both its safety and theirs.

Hamilton advises that if boaters find themselves too close to the orca, they should shut off their engine until the orca leaves the area. He added that boats should enter and exit the marina at slow speeds.

DFO officers are on scene, ensuring that boaters are staying the minimum distance from the orca.

If any boaters are seen closer than 200 metres to the orca, concerns can be directed to the DFO at 1-800-465-4336.


jolene.rudisuela@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maple Ridge mom wants justice on two-year anniversary of daughter’s death

Megan Kinnee, 19, died July 13, 2018 after motorcycle crash in Abbotsford

Maple Ridge neighbourhood rallies together for Saturday garage sale

Event aimed to bring Albion residents together – but not too close – while the financially strapped

Farmers market returns to downtown Maple Ridge

Next Saturday, July 18 people can shop at the newly reconfigured market in Memorial Peace Park

Ridge Meadows RCMP catch three more impaired drivers overnight

Local Mounties served 80 impaired driving infractions in June

Cocooning pays dividends for local environmental group

A butterfly adoption program helps keep the Alouette River Management Society in Maple Ridge afloat

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

Man shot dead in east Abbotsford suburbs

Integrated Homicide Investigative Team called to investigate

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

Most Read