Boat captain breaks up potential battle between orcas, swimming buck
A buck swam safely to shore after a whale-watching tour boat performed a maneuver to separate it from a pod of transient orcas, which have been known to prey on such mammals in the past. Dec. 18, 2016. (Mark Malleson/Prince of Whales Whale Watching)
A boat captain stepped in to assist a wayward deer that swam dangerously close to a pod of orcas on the weekend.
A group of whale watchers were out on a Prince of Whales zodiac boat off East Sooke Park Sunday when they spotted what looked like a tree branch in the water.
The boat moved closer and discovered it wasn’t a tree, but the antlers of a deer trying to make its way across.
The boat’s captain also noticed a pod of transient orcas lurking nearby at the same time.
Skipper Mark Malleson maneuvered the boat to help the buck get safely back to shore.
Malleson said in 20 years as a whale-watching guide, it’s the first time he’s encountered a deer in the water.
Prince of Whales said in the past, transient orcas have been known to prey upon deer and moose as they swim between islands.