When Ken Heinrich went kayaking with his daughters off Gartley Beach in the Comox area on Saturday, he didn’t know that he was setting himself up for the “most amazing animal experience of my life.”
What began as a simple night of paddling turned into a uniquely B.C. experience as a pod of orcas began swimming right in front of them.
And not just swimming — breaching and playing right alongside them, giving them a front-row seat to a show by B.C. wildlife that few have a chance to see.
WATCH: Front-row view of orca’s playing in B.C. waters
“The pod simply kept working their way towards us and gave us a once in a lifetime view of them,” Heinrich told Global News.
“After a while they simply moved on to wherever they were heading next.
Meanwhile, his daughter Kalyssa caught some photos of a whale leaping out of the water, just after the sun set behind the horizon.
Coverage of orcas on Globalnews.ca:
On Tuesday, Heinrich issued a statement saying he did not paddle within 100 metres of the orca, as per regulations.
“We were drifting as the orca then moved closer to us,” he wrote. “We do not get to choose where they swim.
He added that the photos were taken with a telephoto lens, which “makes the orca appear much, much closer than they actually were.”
Heinrich’s full statement can be read here.
– With files from Jon Azpiri
Here are some photos that were caught of the Heinrich family’s encounter with orcas off Gartley Beach on Saturday: