A local photographer captured a thrilling marine moment on video during a whale-watching tour near Vancouver Island this month.
The footage shows a pair of orcas swimming under a Zodiac boat full of tourists excitedly observing the close aquatic spectacle.
Vancouver-based Liron Gertsman filmed the awe-inspiring moment from the small vessel while he was on a recent tour with Prince of Whales in northern Vancouver Island.
In an Instagram post, the keen nature photographer writes that it was "a rare and magical moment" to see the pod of wild orcas — particularly when a couple of them turned toward the group.
"A couple [of] inquisitive individuals turned towards us, and disappeared beneath the surface," he explains. "The engines were shut off, and shortly after, fins emerged just metres away."
The whale-watching tourists giggle and shout as the marine mammals disappear underneath the boat. "Be sure to have your sound on to hear the reaction of the excited whale watchers on board!"
Gertsman adds that one of the North Resident individuals that came up close is called A94, and also known as “Mystery." The Northern Residents are part of a salmon-eating population of Orcas found primarily around northern Vancouver Island.
Pod of 300 dolphins also spotted with whale watching group
Gertsman also captured some spellbinding images of a massive pod of dolphins while on a tour.
"It was my second time seeing Pacific White-sided Dolphins (in the wild)," he told Vancouver Is Awesome in a previous interview. "A few years ago, I saw a couple dozen from the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo. However, being surrounded by hundreds with their acrobatics on full display was absolutely breathtaking!"
With approximately 300 individuals in the pod, Gertsman says the marine display was a "breathtaking spectacle," albeit a somewhat challenging one to photograph.
Back in March, NASA featured the 20-year-old photographer's jaw-dropping photograph of two nebulae glowing vibrantly above The Lions — known as the Two Sisters or Ch'ich'iyúy Elxwíkn, in the Squamish language — as the space agency's coveted "picture of the day."