Janusz Kowalski has been a resident of Galiano Island for 13 years and has seen many orca whales swim by his property, but this weekend he had witnessed a sight to behold.
On Sunday, a giant pod of orca whales swam right by his friend’s backyard, and his first instinct was – to get it all on camera.
Kowalski says it is not rare to see whales swim past Galiano Island, but a pod of this size is something he has never seen before.
“Not in these numbers. We tried to calculate it and we thought we were correct in assuming there might have been over 30 whales,” says Kowalski.
Although a Facebook page belonging to orcanetwork.org, a site where people can report whale sightings, claims a pod of around 60 resident whales came in over the weekend.
“I believe them, because when you try to look at them – what you see on the surface, there is probably same amount in the water,” says Kowalski.
The pod was making its way through the Active Pass, a narrow stretch of water separating Galiano and Mayne Islands, when Kowalski and many other onlookers came across it.
He says normally they know orcas are approaching when they see whale-watching boats hang off the shore.
But last Sunday, it was Kowalski’s friend’s place that orcas “basically rubbed” against.
“That Sunday, we did not know how many whales are approaching. Only when I started filming, I realized how many there were… it was going on, and on, and on. The show was spectacular.”
He says they see whales regularly between the months of April and November, but July and August are the best season for whale watching.
Kowalksi says he captured orca whales on camera in the area many times before, but never have any of his videos gotten that much attention.
“I made another video the day before, but it was just six whales and it was not as spectacular. The one on Sunday was beyond belief.”
The video of Sunday’s encounter has already garnered thousands of views on YouTube, and has been picked up by the Vancouver sub-Reddit.
“I went back to the video and re-watched it probably ten times,” says Kowalski. “Every time, we see the whales approaching Galiano, it is always a special moment.”