Humpback whales treat tourists to an early-morning show off B.C. coast

PORT HARDY — Tourists staying at a lodge on a Vancouver Island were treated to a spectacular show when a group of humpback whales visited for breakfast.

Marg Leehane, co-owner of Great Bear Lodge in Port Hardy, decided it was worth waking up the guests at 6 a.m. Saturday when the whales approached the docks.

She shot a video that has been viewed more than 1.5 million times on Instagram and shows the whales leaping from the water mere metres from the tourists.

Leehane says the video shows the whales using a feeding technique called bubble netting, in which humpbacks blow a large circle of bubbles around fish to trap them.

She says she’s never seen whales so close to the lodge, and until last year she’d never seen humpbacks in the area use the bubble-netting technique to catch fish.

The technique is learned, rather than instinctual, and not all groups of humpbacks know how to do it, so seeing it up close was a special experience for Leehane.

“One of them will swim in a circle around fish, and as it’s doing it, it will release air from its blowhole, and basically create a net of bubbles,” she says.

“Then the fish get more and more concentrated … so (the whales) will get a lot more of them in each mouthful.”

Leehane adds that the excited reaction of biologist and tour guide Marlo Shaw in the video is almost as entertaining as the animals themselves.

The video shows a beaming Shaw ushering guests onto the docks, excitedly pointing at the whales and giving high fives after the animals burst from the water.

“I love watching her body language as much as the whales, because she’s so excited to see it,” laughs Leehane.

Leehane has worked in the wilderness in B.C. for 17 years and has seen her fair share of …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

Man serving life for murder escapes from Mission prison

MISSION — RCMP are searching for an escaped inmate serving a life sentence for second-degree murder at a B.C. prison.

The Correctional Service of Canada says staff at the minimum-security Mission Institution discovered that John Norman Mackenzie was missing during a count at 10:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Mackenzie is 57 years old, five-foot-eight and 197 pounds, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.

He is also serving time for armed robbery and other offences.

The federal agency says it is investigating the incident and working with police to find Mackenzie as quickly as possible.

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Source:: Vancouver Sun

B.C. boomers keen to move on to smaller homes: real estate report

Nearly half of B.C. baby boomers plan to downsize, and 42 per cent would consider buying a condominium for their next home.

Those are among the highlights of a Royal LePage survey of Canadians born between 1946 and 1964, released Wednesday. The real estate company’s survey found 17 per cent of boomers across the country plan to buy a new home in the next five years.

Michael Trites, a managing broker at Royal LePage Northstar Realty and a boomer himself, said that in B.C. strata units are coming into vogue among older buyers.

And from his experience and those of some of his friends and neighbours, there’s every bit as much boomer interest in townhouses as there is in condos.

“One of the main concerns is where do people go when their house gets too big. They just don’t need the space and they don’t need the bills, so then it leads to something smaller and more suitable,” he said.

“I’ve had many clients that have said you don’t really want to go from, say, a 2,400-square-foot house to a 1,200-square-foot condo. That’s a complete lifestyle change.”

Going from that same house to a 2,000-square-foot townhouse with its own front door and neighbours who tend to keep an eye on things in the area is a much easier transition, Trites said. “There’s a lot of similarities.”

But while there may be interest among boomers, there’s not a lot of product to fit that demand, he said.

“We’ve got a problem (where) there’s townhouse developments going in, but not a lot of them are orientated towards seniors. A lot of them are orientated towards the starter home — the affordability factor.”

For example, down-sizers tend not to want stairs in their homes and they often want side-by-side garages. But that is not what is tending to be built, he said.

About …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

Loki Hulgaard Arrested After Money With Anti-Semitic Messages Found

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — An Alberta man faces a charge of inciting hate, as well as numerous firearms offences, after someone showed up at a business with money that was stamped with anti-Semitic messages.

Police in Medicine Hat say that when the business called them last week about the money, they arrested the man and searched his backpack.

They say they found numerous $5 and $20 bills stamped with messages linked with white genocide conspiracy theories, as well as links to an anti-Semitic website.

Found white supremacy documents

Police say they later searched his home, where they seized four firearms, including two high-powered rifles with the serial numbers removed, and 1,200 rounds of ammunition along with high-capacity magazines.

They say they also found computer equipment, white supremacy documents and anti-immigration stickers.

Loki Hulgaard, 35, of Medicine Hat has been released from custody on $4,000 bail and will appear in court on Thursday.

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Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada