British Columbia

Orca tosses seal 'way up' in rare mid-hunt sighting

A B.C. whale watching company and their video production crew witnessed a transient Orca flipping a harbour seal close to 18 metres into the air, while hunting off Victoria coast.

'He just chucked that little guy way up in the air,' says tour company co-owner

Orca punts seal up into the air

7 years ago
Duration 0:56
An Orca is spotted in B.C. punting its afternoon snack, a harbour seal, way up, up into the air. Footage captured by Roll Focus Productions and Eagle Wing Tours.

A B.C. whale watching company and their video production crew were treated to the whale-sighting of a lifetime on Friday. 

Eagle Wing Tours and Roll Focus Productions captured a rare glimpse of a transient Orca flipping a harbour seal, in what's estimated to be at least 18 metres into the air, while hunting off the coast of Victoria B.C.

Brett Soberg, the co-owner of the tour company, says in 18 years of whale watching, he's only witnessed something like it four times but this was "the best" of those experiences and fortunately, he happened to have a camera on-hand.

"Oh I was just like a kid in candy store ... absolute, true elation," said Soberg who emphasised how rare it was to be there at the "right time, at the right moment".

Soberg and his team had set out to capture vignettes of B.C.'s spectacular wildlife using drones.

They saw three pods of killer whales swimming near Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, off the coast of Victoria, via live webcam and decided to follow them.

Near the end of the trip, they came across flocks of marine birds "chowing down" on herring. 

One of the large male Orcas, which Soberg identified as T69, switched directions, headed straight into the feeding frenzy and towards his prey.

"You see in the video where he goes upside down and attempts once, twice and third time was the charm," said Soberg recalling the physical power of the killer whale.

"He just grabbed that little harbour seal and he just chucked that little guy way up in the air."

After T69 stunned the seal, a female Orca and two offspring with him, shared in the afternoon snack.


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