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'It was very cool': Orca breaching mid-air captured on camera near Powell River

The orca was breaching over and over.
Young orca photographed doing multiple breaches at sunset on May 10, 2023 in Powell River.

A Powell River photographer recently captured a special moment of an orca fully breaching.

Retiree Michelle Pennell lives across from the ocean and is always watching for blows and fins coming from the water.

On May 10, she spotted a pod of orcas in the distance through her telescope and noticed they were coming in her direction. 

“I could see from the scope at home that it was breaching,” says Pennell. “I’ve never seen an orca do that so much.”

She headed down to the beach and got in position with her camera. 

“This little guy was over and over again. I think it was quite young, and lots of energy, I guess.”

She believes the orca breached more than 50 times, over a couple of hours. 

“Which is highly unusual,” she says. “It was very cool.”

She enjoyed the moment, not sure if she had taken the perfect picture. Luckily for her, she did. 

"I just thought it was awesome to see one completely out of the water like that,” she says.

Others did, too. Her photograph has received more than 10,000 reactions and 670-plus shares on Facebook.. 

Pennell hopes the photo will make other people happy. 

“Lots of people are saying very nice things, which is nice, but I'm very humble.” 

She enjoys taking photographs of wildlife, including grizzly bears and eagles, and helps put together a calendar every year. Proceeds support the Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society