Singing to Kakaw’in
On the Sunday of a recent week-end, I received a call from my good friend Jennifer Steven, co-owner of The Whale Centre here in Tofino. She was calling to inform me that a super pod of orcas (otherwise known as killer whales) were making their way up the coastline of Tofino.
This was exciting; orcas in the waters of Tofino are a treat, so imagine hearing there could potentially be about 40 orcas from the J,K and L pods which normally reside near Victoria - just swimming by! A few moments later, when Jen called me back and asked me if I would like to join them aboard Goolka, their Boston Whaler, I had to say “Yes!!!”.
I headed down to the Method Marine dock where Jen and her husband John Forde were waiting with a life preserver suit in my size. I threw on the suit and boarded Goolka, where to my surprise I discovered that I would be enjoying this adventure alongside Roy Henry Vickers, who you may know as the artist behind Eagle Aerie Gallery here in town. John untied the boat and we were on our way out into beautiful Clayoquot Sound. We ventured out past Wickaninnish Island when our eyes caught the first glimpse of our orca friends.
Soon, we were surrounded on all sides with orca tails slapping, spy hoping and lunging about in the beautiful Pacific Ocean that they call home. It was at this moment that I heard a beautiful melody from Roy Henry - he was singing a traditional North West coast song, calling out to his ancestors. Generations ago, it was the Nuu-chah-nulth people believed the Orca, or KaKaw'in, was the protector of humankind in the ocean.
For over an hour we travelled with these protectors of humankind, through this amazing backyard that I get to call home.