Clever seal avoids becoming orca snack by jumping in B.C. tour boat
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Tuesday, July 3, 2018 6:35PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 4, 2018 10:12AM PDT
Seals and sea lions often find themselves at odds with boaters, but there's one seal north of Campbell River likely counting itself lucky that humans are around.
Video of a charter vessel's incredible encounter with a seal trying to escape certain death has surfaced online.
Nick Templeman of Campbell River Whale and Bear Excursions was guiding a tour in Frederick Arm, 90 minutes north of Campbell River, on Canada Day when he saw orcas in the distance.
Before he and occupants of another nearby vessel knew it, they were in the middle of a lunchtime pursuit as two orcas chased a frightened harbour seal just metres away.
"When it all took place, it took literally about 30 seconds for that seal to come over 150 feet towards the other boat," Templeman told CTV News. "All of a sudden it comes up and around, up on the swim grid, and it all just started to take place, just like that."
Thinking on its flippers, the seal hopped into the other vessel, clinging to the stern of the boat as the orcas swam just centimetres away.
"The seal was a very big seal so we weren't in a position to get him off or anything like that," said Colin Griffinson of Pacific Yellowfin Charters, who captained the boat the seal sought refuge in. "We decided just to let it play out and then eventually the whales just moved off."
Despite a dog on board barking at the seal trying to scare it off, the marine mammal dug in and refused to go back into the water.
"He's got this little infatuation with seals, so we had him trying to get the seal off the boat but that seal was not moving off of that boat," said Templeman.
Griffinson then manoeuvred the vessel to a second location to get the seal to safety.
With the boat docked and the orcas moved on, the seal eventually decided it was safe to slip back into the water and swam off.
"It was a first," said Griffinson. "We had a great day, we had a very good encounter with a grizzly bear in the morning so this was probably the best Canada Day the crew has ever had."
But it was likely an even better Canada Day for the seal.