Orcas spotted: a whale-y magical SeaBus commute this morning

Orcas spotted: a whale-y magical SeaBus commute this morning

Theodore Yu was one of the lucky SeaBus passengers this morning who were treated to a rare sighting of a pod of killer whales swimming in Burrard Inlet.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” Theodore says, who was on his way to UBC where he is a fourth-year psychology student.

Theodore was supposed to be on the 6 a.m. SeaBus, but ended up taking the 9:15 a.m. sailing from North Vancouver after staying up late the previous night editing a video.

“I hit the snooze button so many times.”

Turns out, sleeping in paid off this morning for Theodore as he got an up close view of the whales during his commute.

“It’s usually a very quite ride, so I was like, what is going on? I took my headphones off and I heard the word ‘dolphins,'” recalls Theodore.

Next thing you know, he says everyone was rushing to the side of the SeaBus and there were a pod of killer whales “shooting up in the air” as they swam north past Stanley Park.

SeaBus Master Hark Nissen was at the wheelhouse when he noticed the whales.

“We see orcas once, twice, or three times a year. It’s rare. Most of the time they are further away,” he says. “They came out of the water quite a bit.”

According to the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Society, these are most likely Bigg’s Killer Whales — one of three species found in our waters. They are considered transient and prey on larger marine mammals, like seals.

These particular whales are occasionally seen, several times a year, in the waters of Burrard Inlet and usually travel up Indian Arm for hunting. There have been more sightings in recent years, most like due to an increase in their food supply.

Hark says customers get excited to see the orcas and so they try to make an announcement to make sure people don’t miss them.

“We are very lucky,” says Hark. “It makes you appreciate the job you are lucky enough to have to see these things. We do a have a great office view from our wheelhouse.”

For Theodore, it was the first time seeing killer whales.

“To see it on a SeaBus, it’s another level, and in the Burrard Inlet as well, getting to see it here, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity”

With files from Thor Diakow and thanks to Theodore for sharing his video with us.