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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Kicking Horse conditions update, Thursday February 27

Kicking Horse reports 1 cm of new snow in the last 24… Continue reading

Golden highway update, Thursday February 27

DriveBC reports slippery sections between Beaverfoot Rd and Field, just east of… Continue reading

Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Percentage of ischemic stroke patients who received treatment has risen dramatically

Kicking Horse conditions update, Wednesday February 26

Kicking Horse reports no new snow in the last 24 hours. Light… Continue reading

Golden Highway Update, Wednesday February 26

On Highway 1 just east of Golden, anticipate minor delays due to… Continue reading

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Surrey will replace its RCMP force with municipal police, province confirms

City of Surrey has been authorized to set up its own city police force

UPDATE: Boy, 5, will donate organs after crash that killed father, son on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Chinatowns across Canada report drop in business due to new coronavirus fears

Around the world, about 81,000 people have become ill with the virus

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Most Read