By Elliot Funt Real Estate Advisor Engel & Völkers Vancouver

By Elliot Funt
Real Estate Advisor
Engel & Völkers Vancouver

The Killer Whale Video

I wish I had a second to post this sooner, though I've had a kind of interesting week! Most of my readers have probably already seen my absolutely nuts viral video of 6 killer whales attacking sea lion. If you haven't already–'whale' you're missing out! It's the best 67 seconds you'll spend all week! My original video is linked here.

Below I've embedded the extended YouTube video, which I posted about 12 hours after the first video already had +85k views.

Going Viral

At the time of this blog post (~4 days after posting), my Facebook video has +400k views, the YouTube video has +30k views, and my now-licensed partners (Viral Hog and LiveLeak) now have +241k views. As you might imagine, it's been a whirlwind week dealing with all the positive and negative comments I've received online, both from individuals that are either against Woodfibre LNG or support it.

The most positive thing about having my phone blow-up with messages is that all the attention means that there are now +1200 additional signatures on the Howe Sound Declaration since Tuesday evening. The second great thing is that the attention has led me both to reconnect with many long-lost friends and make new friends who love Howe Sound, and want to protect it. It is Vancouver's treasure and the place where we can actually experience whales, seals, sea lions, birds, and other wildlife.  Its value to B.C. is not as an industrial site, but as a world ecological paradise. 

Media Attention

I've learnt a great deal about dealing with the media in the last few days. To put it lightly, my opinion of the press has changed a bit since Tuesday. I now have a handful of very positive experiences with the media and many negative ones, and because of the negative ones I've decided to hire a viral media firm (Viral Hog) to deal with all the inquiries.

I've been interviewed in person on CTV News (online, local, and national broadcasts) and Global News (you're awesome). Phone interviews for Huffington Post (you're awesome), CBC (Vancouver), and Mountain FM (Squamish/Whistler). By the way, Mountain FM, my name is not spelled "Funk".  

The footage has also been shown on King 5 Seattle (you're awesome), Der Spiegel (German national news - you're awesome), CBS - This Morning (U.S. national news), CBC - The National (broadcast with zero credit), Power97 (Winnipeg), Castanet (Kelowna)Kelowna Now, Komo 4 Seattle (broadcast), LiveLeakMashable, Kiro 7 Seattle (broadcast without permission), and I'm sure there are many more!

Why were we so close to the killer whales?

I am certainly aware that one is not supposed to get that close to whales, and I was trying to keep my distance like a safe boater. The situation occurred because a sea lion that was escaping from the whales found refuge on the side of the boat next to us.

The event all happened quite quickly. We had been watching the killer whales from a safe distance for about 30 minutes before the sea lion came over to the boats. Once the sea lion came over, the killer whales followed, and it was too late to move at that point–I didn't want to risk hurting any of the whales with the propellor. I decided it was best to turn the engine off until the whales had moved enough for us to get out of the way without potentially harming them. At the soonest point I could safely get away, I did.

SUGGESTION FROM THE WHALE WATCHING TOUR GUIDE

After the scene had been going on for awhile, and after I had already managed to distance my boat from the whales, the tour guide from "Prince of Whales Whale Watching" made a suggestion to the other vessel (who still had whales around him). He suggested that in order to get the killer whales leave, it would be best for the boat shown in the video to slowly drive over to Bowyer Island. By doing this, the other boat seen in the video would give shelter the sea lion while driving to shore. 

There were roughly 25 people between the various boats in the area watching the orca activity, and out of all of us, the tour guide seemed to be the most knowledgeable person at the scene. The fellow in the boat with the sea lion followed his advice, and it appeared to be the best thing to do at the time. Once the sea lion made it to shore, the killer whales quickly swam away. Given the circumstances, I feel that the correct decision was made and no killer whales, or the sea lion, were hurt in the process. 

My Sea to Sky / The Howe Sound Declaration

Why Do I support this cause?

Most of my clients, colleagues, friends, and half the Internet knows I'm a total tree-hugger. While I always have been someone who cares about the environment, I have been especially active in my environmental volunteer causes in this past year.

Since January I have volunteered with My Sea to Sky, which represents the cause I care most about–protecting Howe Sound. I'm an avid power boater and sailor and have been since I was a little kid on my grandparents' boat. My parents also live just outside of Horseshoe Bay (since 2015) with a beautiful view of Howe Sound. For these reasons, I've chosen to invest most of my volunteer time protecting Howe Sound. I am passionate about this cause!

If you haven't done so already, please sign the Howe Sound Declaration 😊 ! 

What is Woodfibre LNg?

Woodfibre LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) is a massive project with very little to do with wood and a lot to do with ruining the environment and Howe Sound. It is called Woodfibre because of an old pulp mill that was at the site until 2006. Between the Woodfibre Pulp Mill and the Britannia Beach Mine, Howe Sound was an area of heavy industry. Twelve years after the pulp mill closed and after years of remediation of the mine, Howe Sound is finally starting to recover with more wildlife coming back into the area. 

Unfortunately, the rehabilitation efforts that have taken place in Howe Sound may all be for nothing, as this all may change in the very near future with Woodfibre LNG's opening. Because this is already going to be a long posting, I've decided it's best to just link to the My Sea to Sky website for all the verified reasons LNG Woodfibre is the bad guy!. 

Ideally, I'd like to see Howe Sound be declared an Ecological Reserve, National Park, or UNESCO World Biosphere.

Shockingly, Someone from Woodfibre LNG's PR department called me 😲

Here's how it went down: 
1) Woodfibre LNG called me first (I definitely did not call them as someone from the organization has claimed).
2) They never technically offered me money or asked me to take the video down–the conversation didn't last that long before I hung-up on them haha! That being said, Woodfibre's call certainly implied to me that they'd like me to take the video down or at least for me to stop campaigning against them. The lady I spoke to from Woodfibre tried to convince me it isn't as bad as it actually actually is. I felt that their call was tactic of PR intimidation, and I definitely do not appreciate it.
3) After several people pointed out to me that they may have been trying to pay me off, I called them back about 5 minutes later to see more of what they were wanting. On the second call, I asked them if they were trying to offer me something in order to take it down, at which the person I talked to said no. To Woodfibre's credit, I was at least impressed that they didn't stoop so low as to attempt to pay me off.

Needless to say, with +1200 signatures on the Howe Sound Declaration in the past 4 days, it's pretty clear that Woodfibre LNG hates that the video is up there! So please keep signing the Howe Sound Declaration!! And consider donating to the cause!

Tanker Route Through Howe Sound Shown in Relation to Where I Filmed the Killer Whale Video

Tanker Route Through Howe Sound Shown in Relation to Where I Filmed the Killer Whale Video

The Site Where LNG Woodfibre Will Be Built. Picture from Wikipedia

The Site Where LNG Woodfibre Will Be Built. Picture from Wikipedia

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