Transient orca hanging out in Comox Valley has officials concerned

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WATCH: A transient orca that's been hanging out in the Comox Valley is drawing crowds and thrilling boaters but as Kylie Stanton reports, there are concerns some people are getting too close to the lingering whale – Jul 30, 2018

A 27-year-old orca whale has been making quite a splash in the waters off the small Vancouver Island community of Royston.

Josie Boulding encountered the whale while paddle boarding on Thursday.

Her daughter captured the once-in-a-lifetime experience on video.

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Orca calf spotted in Cowichan Bay – Apr 20, 2018

“I was just paddling along and all of a sudden I just hear the blow,” Boulding said. “Just, whoosh!”

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She said it was a magical experience and was made even more memorable by the fact it was caught on video.

“To catch a killer whale that close with a video camera was just an absolute gift,” she said.

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The video shows Boulding sitting down on her paddle board, watching the orca breaching out of the water, just metres away. She can be heard  screaming “Oh, my God!” several times as the spectacle played out.

The whale has been identified as T073B. He usually moves up and down the coast from Alaska to northern California.

But lately he hasn’t been as transient, and that has fisheries officials worried.

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“Even to see a killer whale in one area for a whole day is sometimes quite unusual,” Jared Towers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada said. “So considering this is quite a confined area and he’s been here for a week, we are quite concerned.”

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While the orca is known to travel alone, officials are monitoring the situation and using it as an opportunity to educate the public about newly enacted rules.

“There is a new regulation in place, put in earlier this month where it’s a minimum approach distance of 200 metres for killer whales in western Canada,” Towers said.

Officers are on the water enforcing the new rules and they are hoping they will help the whale move on.