Salt Spring Island resident Rama DelaRosa begins her six-day, 86 km swim around Salt Spring Island to raise awareness about the critical state of southern resident orcas and the habitat they call home. (Submitted)

Swim to save the Salish Sea takes first stroke

Six-day swim around Salt Spring Island aims to protect southern resident orcas

A swim to save the Salish Sea takes its first stroke today.

Salt Spring Island resident Rama DelaRosa begins her six-day, 86-km swim around Salt Spring Island to raise awareness about the critical state of southern resident orcas and the habitat they call home.

The “Swim for the Salish Sea Orcas” began this morning (July 31) at 6 a.m. and is expected to finish at Vesuvius Beach on Sunday. DelaRosa is donating funds from her swim to Georgia Strait Alliance’s initiatives to protect orcas from extinction.

“I am in love with the Salish Sea. This swim is all about putting that love into action to create lasting change, real change, so that one day when future generations are showing their grandchildren a pod of orcas breaching they can think of me and all the people who came together at a critical time in history and saved our oceans from calamity,” said DelaRosa.

RELATED: Endangered killer whale dies off B.C. coast soon after birth

Only 75 southern resident orcas remain. Of the 28 whales of reproductive age, only 14 have produced calves in the last decade.

The first calf in three years to be born to the endangered orcas died July 24, the latest troubling sign for a population already at its lowest in more than three decades.

The whales have struggled since they were listed as an endangered species over a decade ago. The decline in Chinook salmon, which makes up the majority of their diet, is causing malnourishment in the resident orcas. They also face threats from toxic pollution and noise disturbances from boats.

This is the second time DelaRosa has swam around Salt Spring Island for a cause. Last summer, she made history as the first person to accomplish this open-water swim by swimming roughly 100 km around the island, raising over $14,000 in support of Pull Together’s legal challenge of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project.

RELATED: Salt Spring Islander to swim around the island

For more information about the swim, go to

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