The Comox Valley Victor Simonson Dragon Boat Festival will go on this weekend whether the orca is in the marina or not, said team captain and co-ordinator Leon Van Noorden.
Despite concerns of boats encroaching on orca T073B, Van Noorden is not concerned, saying the dragon boat races are so close to the pier, he does not expect the orca to get too close.
“If the orca was to show up there and started swimming right by the piers, I’m sure we would do something about it then,” he said. “But we’re not going to cancel it.”
If the orca were to approach the racers, Van Noorden said they would “play it by ear” and follow the directions of the DFO.
“Of course we’ve been aware of the orca and we’ve seen it from the dragon boats for the last week so we’re very well aware of keeping a distance of 200 metres or more,” he said.
The 350-metre dragon boat race runs northwest along the pier, ending near the entrance to the Comox Marina. Thirteen teams from across Vancouver Island are coming to compete in the festival.
UPDATE: Fisheries and Oceans Canada conducted a successful “playback” audio exercise to draw T073B away from the Comox Harbour on Thursday afternoon. As of 3 p.m. the orca was seen at Point Homes, heading north.