Nfld. & Labrador

Orca whales splash cod fishing excursion near St. Philip's

Jay Mills, his sister Hayley Mills and friend Frank Hinchey were cod fishing Monday between Bell Island and St. Philip's when they were greeted by the show of a lifetime. 

'If they come up right now they're going to tip us'

Orca whales in Newfoundland and Labrador

Here and Now

23 days ago
0:41
A pod of orca whales made for an exciting Monday off the coast of St. Philip's. Jay Mills, his sister Hayley Mills and friend Frank Hinchey were cod fishing at the time. 0:41

It doesn't happen a lot but when it does it's a delightful scene in Newfoundland and Labrador, and one these folks won't soon forget. 

Hayley Mills, her brother Jay Mills and friend Frank Hinchey were cod fishing Monday between Bell Island and St. Philip's when they were greeted by the show of a lifetime.

A pod of orca whales arrived on the scene in dramatic fashion and left a lasting impression on those who were lucky enough to see it. 

"Well, I'm still a little shocked this morning," said Hayley Mills in an interview with The St. John's Morning Show on Tuesday.

Mills says the trio had been out for about an hour and a half and had already spotted two humpback whales when they came upon what they thought was a single orca. When they got closer, they realized there were between five and seven whales in the pod.

"We stood for a minute. You can hear me in the video going, 'Let's go!' 'cause I started panicking," Mills said.

They turned off the motor, and the whales started travelling beside them. Mills says that's when she realized the orcas were much bigger than the open, 18-foot- boat.

"You can see them go underneath the boat. That's when I got nervous. I was like, 'Jesus, if they come up right now they're going to tip us.'" 

Mills, who was visiting from Halifax, had been out on the water before, but had never experienced something quite so thrilling — or scary.

It wasn't until they got back to St. Phillip's that they realized how improbable their experience was, she said.

"We kind of weren't living it in the moment because we were just in shock. Then we got back and kind of debriefed and we were like, 'That was the craziest thing that's ever happened to us.'"

Mills posted the video on social media, where people's reactions have ranged from envy to alarm to awe. Her advice for anyone who runs into a similar situation?

"Maybe not use as many F-bombs so that you can post the video," she said.

Although she won't be heading back out on the ocean again any time soon, Mills says she's grateful for the encounter.

"I'm so glad I had that experience, even though it was terrifying. I think it'll go down in history as the best experience of my life." 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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