Day Six
Saturday September 16

We get underway early and have breakfast as we head out along the same route that we paddled in to Burley Bay on.  Bill creates made-to-order omelettes for each of us - very tasty. We're immediately surrounded by fog as we go out into the open water and begin our hunt for the orcas. Initially, the orcas are not where they are supposed to be and we end up going here and there for a while. The value of Bill's tracking radar is immediately apparent as an immense cruise ship suddenly looms out of the fog.  Sharon is tuned into the orca boats' radio and we learn that a boat known as the Lakwa has located them, so we steam off.  The Niad Explorer also shoots past us in the direction of the Lakwa. Soon we are surrounded by the orcas. They are foraging and we watch them spy-hop, feed and cavort. Males are immense - their dorsal fins are perhaps 8' - 10' high and the young ones seem especially playful.  There are perhaps 50 - 60 of them in the immediate area and quite often they come very close to the Columbia presenting some dandy photo opportunities. 

A WHALE! I see a WHALE!!! Sharon called the resulting noise an orca-asm.

We spend a couple of hours in their midst and are treated to the sight of white-sided porpoises cavorting amongst them. "Harassing them" says Sharon. Luncheon is served.
A quiet moment onboard.
After a couple of hours with the orcas,  turn back towards Port McNeil and all too soon bags are unloaded and carted up to waiting cars. A group hug and a few photo-ops in front of the Columbia and we go our separate ways - a satisfied group of mothershippers. George and Joy are kind enough to give Debb and I a ride to the airport in Port Hardy. 

As an epilogue, I find out the deal on Karen via an email from Sharon:

"Dear Don & Debb, Karen has torn the muscles away from the bone on her right
side. A long painful recovery. She is barely mobile with the aid of a back
brace but is going to Hawaii anyway this week so that she can lie around in
a bikini and back brace in the sun. She is trying to think of a good story
to tell all the beach boys....jumping through a door way just doesn't cut

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