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Beached whales: Vancouver man sculpts life-size orcas of sand and snow

Cheryl Chan

Aaron Cambrin with his snow and sand sculptures of orcas at Jericho Beach in Vancouver, Feb. 6, 2017. (NICK PROCAYLO/Postmedia Network)

Aaron Cambrin with his snow and sand sculptures of orcas at Jericho Beach in Vancouver, Feb. 6, 2017. (NICK PROCAYLO/Postmedia Network)

Most people make a snowman when it snows. Aaron Cambrin builds orcas.

At first glance, it’s easy to mistake the life-size sculptures, rising from a blanket of snow on the shores of Jericho Beach, for the real thing.

Made of snow on the inside and covered strategically with sand to mimic the animals' dark bodies, the sculptures are a nod to Cambrin's lifelong infatuation with killer whales.

“I love orcas with a passion,” said Cambrin on Sunday, hours after putting the finishing touches on his work.

Cambrin, 27, had toyed with the idea of making a pod of five or six orcas at Jericho Beach, near his home. When it started snowing Friday, he decided to give it a try.

He sculpted the spyhopping orca first, a task that took five hours. On Saturday, he began work on the larger whale, which has its back and dorsal fin sticking out. That took about nine to 10 hours to sculpt. The tall fin was particularly challenging.

He didn't use shovels or pails, amassing the snow and sand by hand, and using only a stick and some carving tools to trim and to delineate the orcas’ eye patches.

According to mom Dawn Myers, Cambrin has been enamoured by killer whales since he was a kid. “It’s par for the course that he’ll build orcas,” she said.

Cambrin has been volunteering at the Vancouver Aquarium for eight years. He’s also a certified diver and an artist who loves painting and drawing.

While many people may gripe and complain about the snow, “Aaron doesn’t get down about anything,” said stepdad Paul Myers, who sent Postmedia photos of Cambrin’s work.

Asked if he’ll sculpt more snow orcas to create a pod, Cambrin, who works as a dishwasher at a Vancouver restaurant, laughed. “Probably not." But depending on how much snow falls on Monday, he may sculpt some porpoises instead. "Just to get more variety.”

chchan@postmedia.com

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