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)

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.

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

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week by the Gitanmaax Band Council following a confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26. (Black Press Media File Photo)
COVID-19 exposure notice shuts down Hazelton school

Closure to last for one week and school is to be sanitized

Dave Livesey, right, has been elected as Telkwa councillor defeating Klaus Kraft (middle) and Erik Jacobsen. (Interior News composite photo)
Dave Livesey elected to Telkwa council

Livesey received 60 votes to Klaus Kraft’s 51 and Erik Jacobsen’s 34 in preliminary results

Smithers Local Health Area reported just one new case of COVID-19 from Feb. 14-20. (BC CDC graphic)
Local weekly COVID infections drop to one

The Smithers Local Health Area (Houston to Witset) reported a single case between Feb. 14 and20

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Most Read