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Strangers in spectacular spy-hopping whale snap all identified

The five people had an up-close encounter with an orca named Kye.

The power of social media has resulted in five strangers coming forward to identify themselves in a photograph taken on Vancouver Island. 

Iwan Lewylle was guiding an eco-tour with Nature Trek near Oak Bay Marina when an orca started spy-hopping right in front of people. He managed to snap a photograph with his telephoto lens capturing not only the reaction of those on shore but the killer whale popping out of the water. 

"This one was pretty good and really unexpected. That was the first time ever I was able to take a shot like that,” he says. 

The photo was taken on Sept. 12. Lewylle shared it to Facebook with a callout in hopes of finding the strangers in the image. Since then, more than 21,000 people have interacted with the photograph and all five people have come forward. 

Joe Nelson saw the Facebook post and quickly realized it was him and his son in the photo. He reached out to the photographer right away. 

“It was nice that the photographer got that photo of us because it's something that I'm going to cherish for the rest of my life,” Nelson says.

Lewylle confirmed one of the women in the picture reached out to him after her cousin saw it. The woman contacted him through Facebook and said the other two women standing nearby are her friends. 

Lewylle told Glacier Media last week he wanted to print the image and give it to his unintended photo subjects. He even offered to frame it.

"Most people are already happy with receiving the original it seems,” he said on Monday, adding he still plans to print the image for the five strangers.