This summer the Spirit Orcas were thrilled to be able to return to the Great Bear rainforest in the traditional territory of the Heiltsuk Nation. It is their second time in the territory. In 2019, the founding members (Drew, Aly, Ben, Cheyanne, Dixon and Maria) of the team swim from the entrance of Gunboat Pass to Bella Bella. They are the first known relay to swim this route and are the only known people with intellectual disabilities to swim in these waters for such an length of time. You can read more about their story here.
This year, two new Spirit Orcas joined the squad – Lidia and Meliah. The team focused on two swims. The first swim was a relay from Drifter’s Cove on Lama Pass, down Hunter Channel to “Hippie Beach.” K-pod members Cheyanne, Dixon, Maria, Lidia and Meliah swimming can be seen in the video below on their epic journey. The Spirit Orcas are the only known people to swim this route.
Meanwhile, Spirit Orcas Aly and Drew were set their sights on a longer swim. This summer they completed a 10km tandem swim from Drifter’s Cove to Shearwater. This site was originally swam by their coach several years ago. You can learn about coach Susan’s swim to Shearwater here and watch Aly and Drew’s video about their swim below.
We are grateful to all who came to help and cheer us on along the way.
Next summer the Spirit Orcas hope to return to the traditional territory of the Heiltsuk Nation and continue their journey.