Internet flips for Saanich videographer

Video clip of orca tossing harbour seal goes viral

Orca T69C whips a harbour seal (seen about 10 feet above the tail fin) off the coast of Whirl Bay (Sooke). Roll.Focus proprietor Mike Walker caught the footage and posted it online

Orca T69C whips a harbour seal (seen about 10 feet above the tail fin) off the coast of Whirl Bay (Sooke). Roll.Focus proprietor Mike Walker caught the footage and posted it online

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7WGIH35JBE

Footage of an orca whale flipping a harbour seal about 80 feet into the air has brought millions of eyes to the film company of a former Lambrick secondary school graduate.

Mike Walker grew up in Saanich and now runs Roll.Focus film production company with his wife Amanda Eyolfson. Walker shot the video on Oct. 23 while recording footage for client Eagle Wing Tours off the coast of East Sooke [he posted it the next day].

As of last week, the video had been viewed nearly five million times through Roll.Focus’ YouTube channel as well as the websites and social media services of Time Magazine, Global TV, CBC, Huffington Post, National Post, two Australian newspapers and more. It’s also aired on national TV stations in Canada and in Germany.

“It’s actually hard to keep track of as it’s in so many places,” Walker said.

“The biggest thing has been dealing with requests to use it from all corners of the globe,” Walker said. “We’ve had to hire a distribution company to take over that execution of it.”

Of course, the video isn’t without a touch of irony.

Walker and Eagle Wing owner Brett Soberg had made repeated attempts to capture the orca in Canadian waters so they could launch Walker’s drone camera (which required permission from the Canadian authorities).

The day of the seal flip, Soberg actually located a family of four transient orcas (known as T69), by checking the Race Rocks webcam. Having tracked down the whales, Walker sent up his drone and got 4K quality aerial footage of the T69 family swimming in the shallows just two metres off shore.

“The irony of the video going viral is that nobody cares about my opening aerial shot of the orcas swimming along Race Rocks, and it might be the best footage I’ve ever shot,” Walker said. “As far as I’m aware, no one has captured transient orca hunting from above.”

Soberg and Walker followed the transients from Race Rocks up to Whirl Bay where they spotted a bait ball, which is a huge school of fish corralled into a small area by a group of hunting seals.

But with hundreds of seagulls flying above, Walker was unable to safely launch the drone.

Walker settled for shots of the orca family from the deck. That’s when he watched the big male of the group, T69C, attempt to flip a seal twice.

“He missed twice which actually allowed me to figure out where he was and to be ready for it. I’m told [each] orca has its own personality and on that day, T69C was in a mood to show off.”

Walker and Eyolfson are thrilled at the free publicity the seal flip has brought their company and are happy to share it with Eagle Wing Tours, which happens to be their first client, he said.

Walker is the former PA announcer of the defunct Victoria Seals baseball team and was a colour analyst for the Victoria Royals hockey team. He left his full-time role as a CHEK TV sports reporter and anchor earlier this year to focus on Roll.Focus, which he launched in 2014 with Eyolfson.

 

Walker started his career in media as the PA announcer for the Mavericks senior men’s baseball team in his home neighbourhood of Lambrick Park.

 

 

Just Posted

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Days after students’ return to Victoria High School was delayed by a year, the province has announced some amenities that will be included in the school’s expansion project. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Child-care spots, artificial turf field, non-profit space included in Vic High expansion

SD61 now aims to welcome students back at the high school by September 2023

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

Most Read