A video shows the dolphins frantically swimming into Heriot Bay. Screenshot of video, Aldis William Hart

VIDEO: Dolphins pursued into Quadra Island bay by Bigg’s orcas

Smaller mammals trapped in local waters for hours by the larger predators

Aldis William Hart spent roughly 40 years on the sea working on boats and he’d seen a lot.

Now retired, the Quadra Island resident was among those last week who witnessed something unusual for the area – something indeed new to his eyes.

He was in dock at Heriot Bay on May 27 when he saw a large pod of dolphins swimming frantically in the waters of the bay. Some estimates on social media have put the number at 35 to 40 of the marine mammals, but Hart thinks there might have even been as many as 60.

“I’ve seen pods of dolphins,” he told the Mirror. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

If the estimates differ, it might be because the scene was confusing. The dolphins were in Heriot Bay for several hours, agitated about something that soon became clear. They were being pursued by a small pod of orcas, who had been able to kill at least one of the dolphins.

“I saw a big male jump right out of the water and flip one of the dolphins with its tail,” Hart said.

He decided to film the interaction, with the orcas tiring out the dolphins, who were stuck in the shallow area of Heriot Bay close to the dock. The dorsal fins of the orcas looming further out in the waters were visible to people on shore. Meanwhile, the dolphins continued to swim frantically.

“They were highly energetic, and they couldn’t get out of the bay because the whales were patrolling the entrance,” Hart says.

Finally, the dolphins, getting exhausted from the pursuit, broke into smaller groups in an attempt to escape.

“They made the decision to leave the bay,” he said.

RELATED STORY: VIDEO: Seal escapes hungry orcas by climbing aboard tourist boat

The predators were identified as Bigg’s orcas. These are described as transient orcas, which differ from resident orcas by, among other things, a different dorsal fin, a tendency to travel in smaller pods and a diet consisting primarily of marine mammals as opposed to fish.

“Research suggests that Bigg’s killer whales have been genetically separated from all other killer whales for about 750,000 years,” the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website states.

Just Posted

Chinook fishery not ‘closed’ in area is message from guides

Conservative MP Calkins comes to Campbell River hear fishing stakeholders’ concerns

UPDATE: Fire crews suppress smouldering fire on Highway 19 north of Campbell River

Wildfire reached .25 hectares, according to BC Wildfire Service

Strathcona Regional District won’t cover director’s court costs

Case was concluded June 10, with lawyer saying clients were put up to launching petition

Water-resilient gardening in times of drought

Strathcona Regional District hold workshop on how best to use water in gardens

Intertidal walk looks at life on the reef in Campbell River

Biologist Sandra Milligan has been leading walks for 13 years

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Commercial fishers in B.C. now required to wear life-jackets on deck: WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC reports 24 work-related deaths in the commercial fishing industry between 2007 and 2018

Beekeeping Rossland boy finds human kindness sweet as honey

Family overwhelmed by kind offerings of strangers

B.C. files second legal challenge against Alberta over turn-off-taps law

B.C. government filed a second lawsuit against Alberta on June 14

Tax credits, penalizing big polluters, key to Conservative climate plan

Canada’s commitment is to cut emissions to 70 per cent of what they were in 2005 before 2030

Comox Samaritan covers bear with blanket, gets a big surprise

Conservation officer says person lucky after animal hit by car in record year for bear encounters

Victoria double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst found no shoe prints on scene

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

Most Read