You could wait a lifetime for a moment like the one posted to Twitter by Olympian rower Silken Laumann.
Laumann posted a video taken by her daughter Kate of an orca encounter off the end of their dock in Saanichton’s Henderson Point Saturday morning. Laumann said she had just finished a shower when she looked out the window and noticed whale watching boats, not far from their dock.
“I screamed, ‘whale, whale, whale!’” she recalled.
As Laumann and her daughter Kate got to the end of their dock, they saw a group of transient killer whales come in and begin playing between their dock and the next-door neighbour’s.
Kate quickly took out her phone and managed to capture the incredible encounter.
— Silken Laumann (@SilkenLaumann) August 3, 2019
Laumann estimates there were about five orcas in the water – including two calves – but said its hard to count during such a breathtaking experience.
“It was just so exhilarating,” she said. “You get a sense of their power, their size…we both left feeling so grateful that we had this encounter.”
“The whole encounter was two or three minutes,” she added. “But it seemed like a long time because it was so magnificent.”
The video, posted Saturday, has garnered nearly 6,000 likes and over 570 retweets.
Many Twitter users expressed joy and jealousy at getting the chance to watch Laumann’s close encounter. Others thanked her for remaining quiet and allowing for the “sounds of nature” to come through.
OMG….that is utterly amazing! Such beautiful creatures. I am a little jealous, not gonna lie! Thanks for sharing Silken. 😊
— Laurie McCann (@thecoffeecop) August 3, 2019
Seeing them in person is unforgettable. 1000% better than in any aquarium.
— @donkb Ⓥ (@donkb11) August 4, 2019
So awesome…and thank you for not screaming like a preschooler. So much more enjoyable to watch when you get to hear the sounds of nature without the noise of humans drowning it out. ❤️ 😀😎
— Rhonni Sto (@RhonniSto) August 3, 2019
Getting close to orcas the way Laumann did is increasingly rare under the DFO’s new distance rules that prohibit whale watchers and other vessels from going within 400 metres from any killer whale pods spotted in the Salish Sea. The rules are intended mainly to protect Vancouver Island’s resident pods, threatened by noise pollution and food scarcity.
Laumann said the orca encounter, although not her first, is a reminder that the Island is a sacred and shared place.
“We’re fortunate because we share our environment with so many wild things. I’ve had the privilege to see grizzly bears and killer whales…it gives you more respect. We are sharing this land – its not all for us, it’s for them too.”
Laumann is an Olympic rower, author and motivational speaker. She shares stories of notable and inspirational Canadians on her website, weareunsinkable.com