Killer whales in the harbour in front of Sway’A’Lana Lagoon briefly delayed the Save-On-Foods Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival (Photo courtesy ELAINE VANCE)

Nanaimo dragonboat race delayed so killer whales can pass by

Visit from orcas was a ‘very exciting first’ for Save-On-Foods Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival

The Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival featured fast-paced paddling – the only time the action slowed down was to let a pod of killer whales pass.

The visit from the orcas on Saturday, right in front of Maffeo Sutton Park, was one of numerous highlights of the Save-On-Foods Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival this past weekend, July 5-7.

“That was a first, and it was a very exciting first,” said Leslie Sutton, Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival Society spokeswoman, about the visit from the killer whales.

Arlene Witham, one of the Quality Foods Blu By U paddlers, said she couldn’t believe it when the orcas surfaced so close. Later, she joked to one of the directors, “How did you pull that one off?” she said.

“That’s never happened before. It was just incredible, and they had a baby with them, so that was just awesome,” Witham said. “Everyone was completely enthralled by it.”

RELATED: ‘Almost supernatural:’ orcas active around Nanaimo

Other than the short orca delay, things pretty much went to plan over the festival weekend.

“The weather, unfortunately, was not our friend, so we had fewer spectators down there, but for the paddlers, it’s just water … the races went well,” Sutton said.

Witham said despite the rain, the seas were calm, and said practices in the channel are often held on much choppier water.

“Yes, we did get wet, but it is a water sport, right? And it wasn’t cold rain. Yes, you’re wet, but c’est la vie…” Witham said. “People were still laughing and having fun in the [park]. It’s not the first time that people have been rained on in festivals.”

As far as race results, paddlers set a fast pace out on the water. This year’s event saw a new addition to the itinerary, the Guts and Glory challenge, with paddlers taking on a 1,500-metre course.

The first Guts and Glory champions are the Nanaimo Paddling Centre’s Nusa’Lon Dragons, who won the women’s race Saturday in a time of nine minutes, 51.66 seconds. The FCRCC Saggin’ Dragons were second and the Snapping Dragons came third. Sunday saw the mixed Guts and Glory race, won by the Navy Dragon Anchors in 8:14.35. The Fairway Gorge Paddling Club Rebel Alliance placed second with the Save-On-Foods Dragonslayers third.

In the women’s platinum A final, Chix With Stix won in 2:21.73, ahead of the Nusa’Lon Dragons and Stroke the Dragon.

The festival’s fastest final was in the mixed platinum A division, where the FGPC’s Rebel Alliance crossed the finish line in 1:59.98. The Navy Dragon Anchors were runners-up and the Dragonslayers placed third.

In the breast cancer survivors’ A final, Abreast in a Boat Fortitude won a close race in 2:30.50, edging out Sistership Dragon Boat Association and Abreast in a Boat Deas Divas.

For more results, click here.

RELATED: Nanaimo dragonboat coach aims to beat competition, remember friend

RELATED: Dragonboat festival brings ‘guts and glory’ to Nanaimo

a



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

KARL YU/News Bulletin Chix With Stix team members paddle at the dock at Maffeo Sutton Park during Saturday afternoon’s racing at the Save-On-Foods Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival.

Just Posted

Survivor of near-drowning in Elk Valley lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Cannabis stores in Fernie get green light, open in one month

Two cannabis stores in Fernie could be open for non-medical sales in… Continue reading

Annual Columbia Basin Culture tour coming up Aug 10 and 11

There are locations across the region participating

Structure fire near Elko quickly contained, spreading prevented

A quick response by local firefighters today prevented the spread of a… Continue reading

Stetski talks up NDP election platform

NDP candidate for Kootenay-Columbia riding outlines election ‘commitments’ to Canadian voters

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

B.C. mom to go to Europe court in hopes of getting alleged abducted daughter back

Tasha Brown alleges her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Driver who killed B.C. motorcyclist receives absolute discharge

Chase family speechless following decision by BC Review Board

Lower gas prices slow annual inflation rate to Bank of Canada’s 2% bull’s-eye

Prices showed strength in other areas — led by a 17.3 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

B.C. moves to preserve 54 of its biggest, oldest trees

Fir, cedar, spruce, pine, yew set aside from logging

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Most Read