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

Just Posted

Bad weather delays next Prince Rupert/Haida Gwaii ferry

Stormy weather will delay the next ferry sailing from Prince Rupert to… Continue reading

Social media strains over Prince Rupert’s boil water notice

Resident forms Community for Clean Water, and Jennifer Rice responds acting mayor’s comments

Port authority imposes ban on development around Lelu Island

Following Pacific Northwest LNG, there will be no future projects proposed near Flora Bank

Shutter Shack being held hostage by landlords, protesters say

Victoria-based landlords to supervise removal of equipment from their Prince Rupert commercial unit

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

This Week Show – Episode 118

Highlights from this week in Prince Rupert

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Student rangers sought for Terrace

Young adults interested in student ranger program have until Feb. 24 to apply

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Most Read