British Columbia

Seal hides on boat to escape hungry orcas

A quick-thinking seal hitched a ride on a boat to escape the pod of hungry orcas trying to hunt him off the B.C. coast.

Group of onlookers catches encounter up close and personal

Raw video: Seal uses boat to escape orcas (courtesy Nick Templeman)

7 years ago
Duration 2:39
Featured VideoSeal hitches a ride on whale-watching boat to escape pod of hungry orcas who are hunting him. Courtesy Nick Templeman, Owner & Operator of Campbell River Whale and Bear Excursions

A seal hitched a ride on a boat off the coast of Vancouver Island to escape a pod of hungry orcas who were hunting him.

Nick Templeman, who runs Campbell River Whale and Bear Excursions, says he was with a group out for a boat ride, when he stopped the boat in an area he expected to be a good spot to see transient killer whales that day.

After 30 minutes of watching orcas, he noticed the whales suddenly went into their hunting mode. That's when he noticed something else: a seal, seeking safety on the back of his boat's swim grid.

"This seal was tossed around a few times and taken under quite a bit before seeking refuge among the boats in the area," Templeman said. "He got close enough to see us and beelined for the boat."

Templeman captured the encounter on his GoPro camera.

"He was on and off the swim grid [on the boat] two times during the encounter," said Templeman, but the whales didn't give up.

"The orcas kept sounding and coming up right behind the boat, searching," he said.

In the end, the seal outsmarted the orcas, thanks to its hiding spot on the boat.

"It was an amazing and intense encounter — the seal is the survivor," Templeman said.


  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Nick Templeman as owner of a tour boat. In fact, the owner of the boat is Kirk Fraser and the group on board was not part of a formal tour.
    Aug 24, 2016 5:09 PM PT