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

In record numbers, Central Okanagan parents were turning to remote learning for their kids this school year. (File photo)
COVID-19 fuels Central Okanagan remote learning expansion

Enrolment for K-9 in eSchool program climbs from 40-50 to 700

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

(DiStefano Jaud Architecture)
Kelowna city staff wave down proposed Byrns Road development

Developer proposes gas station, car wash, liquor store, commercial buildings, in agricultural area

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.
Family of teen stabbed to death in Kelowna close to getting Christmas wish

A memorial bench in Penticton for Elijah Beauregard is close to meeting its funding goal

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Several police vehicles were seen at the Sagmoen farm on Salmon River Road in Silver Creek on Thursday night, Oct. 29, 2020. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
UPDATE: One person arrested, released following police presence at Sagmoen farm

RCMP were at Silver Creek property where remains of Vernon woman were found in 2017

Vernon Council voted in favour of implementing a 500-metre buffer between all new cannabis stores in the city at its meeting Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Black Press files)
New cannabis shops in Vernon will need to stay 500m apart

The distancing rule won’t apply to existing stores, including the six currently in downtown core

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

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Little Seedlings Daycare in Armstrong, located beside Highland Park Elementary School (pictured above). Interior Health confirmed the positive case was present at the daycare on Oct. 22 and 23, 2020. (Google image)
COVID-19 case reported at Armstrong daycare

IH letter says positive case was present at Little Seedlings Daycare Oct. 22 and 23

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A fundraising initiative has been set up to help Mirjana Komljenovic, who has been diagnosed with Hermansky Pudlak Syndome and requires $2,000 a month to cover the costs of her medication. (gofundme.com)
Fundraiser created to help Summerland woman with rare condition

Mirjana Komljenovic requires costly medication to treat Hermansky Pudlak Syndome

Most Read