A pod of about 12 transient killer whales were hunting the seal near Powell River on Monday, tossing it around and dragging it underwater.
Nick Templeman recorded the unforgettable encounter, capturing amazing whale vocalizations — unusual for transients who passive acoustic hunters — and these incredible underwater shots.
“It was absolutely breathtaking,” says Templeman, who runs Campbell River Whale and Bear Excursions. “There were only four of us on the boat but it was just amazing. You almost couldn’t breath at some points.”
To escape, this desperate seal out smarted the whales and jumped on the boat.
“Basically the seal is swimming for its life and anything it can do to escape the very efficient predators that transient killer whales are, they will take any opportunity they can,” explains marine biologist Anna Hall.
But the orcas didn’t give up, spending the next half an hour coming up to the boat and trying to find the sneaky seal.
Experts say seals jumping on boats is rare, but it has happened before.