Surprise boarding for charter fishing boat

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JULY 21 - A guide and his two clients, fishing for salmon southwest of British Columbia last week, were shocked when a full-grown harbor seal jumped into their 22-foot Boston whaler.

Dave Manson, of Destiny Sport Fishing, was traveling south down Discovery Passage last Tuesday when he spotted an orca, or killer whale, heading north up the channel, news reports say. Manson stopped the boat and pointed the whale out to his two clients, one from California and the other from New York.

That’s when a harbor seal popped up about 100 feet in front of the boat, Manson says in a report. Within moments, the seal had launched itself over the low transom and into the boat, apparently in an attempt to escape the killer whale.

Not sure what to do, Manson turned on the engine in hopes of scaring the seal from the boat — but it didn’t move. Manson then motored over to a nearby whale-watching vessel, the reports say, to show off his new passenger. When people began taking pictures, the seal climbed over the rail and returned to the water.

“If I was a seal,” Manson says in a report, “I would have done the same thing. He looked at the whale and looked at us, and figured we were the lesser of two evils.”

Jason Fell