British Columbia·Video

Close encounter with killer whales on Indian Arm delights wakeboarders

Growing up on Deep Cove, 22-year-old Josh Goodman had always dreamed of getting up close with killer whales. On Friday, that dream came true when a pod swam past his boat.

Group of about 10 whales leapt into the smoke-filled skies, delighting onlookers

A still from Josh Goodman's video shows one of the whales coming close to his boat. (Josh Goodman)

Maybe it was fitting that Josh Goodman, 22, was blasting Supertramp on his sound system when a pod of killer whales swam past his boat on Indian Arm Saturday.

He had always longed to see killer whales in the wild. Now, he is no longer just a dreamer.

"It was absolutely amazing and breathtaking," Goodman said Monday. 

"It was probably one of the great moments of my life. I've been waiting so long to experience that. So it was awesome."

Goodman, from North Vancouver, was wakeboarding with four friends during the smoky Saturday afternoon on his 14-foot motorboat when they saw the whales. He captured the encounter in a cellphone video.

WATCH | Killer whales swim past Josh Goodman's boat:

Killer whales spotted swimming through waters of Indian Arm

3 years ago
Duration 0:46
The pod leapt out of the water, swam under a boat, and one whale practically showed off a seal carcass.

At first, he only saw a group of boats in the distance on the western side of Croker Island.

He thought they might have been fishing for salmon. He puttered over to see if they had any luck.

But when he approached he saw no lines in the water: just whales in the distance, leaping into the air a few hundred metres away.

"It kind of blew our mind," he said.

After the whales breached for about 30 minutes, they swam over to his boat, coming very close.

"One of them had a huge seal carcass," Goodman said. "Which they've been feeding on at the harbour."

For Goodman, the encounter fulfilled what he described as a lifelong dream. He'd seen killer whales in captivity but didn't enjoy it. He wanted to see them in their natural habitat.

"It felt like they were very happy [in the wild]," Goodman described. "It was just kind of a normal, average day that turned into something miraculous."

Then, the whales swam away, Goodman said, and it was goodbye stranger.

Learn about the threats to southern resident killer whales and the efforts to save them with CBC British Columbia's original podcast Killers: J Pod on the Brink, hosted by Gloria Macarenko.