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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Rumours of Air Canada backing off Oct. 1 flight resumption unfounded

The airline and airport are preparing for return of scheduled traffic

Ecosocialists nominate candidate for Stikine

Edward Quinlan is the new party’s regional director for Skeena and Bulkley Valley regions

Minor parties scramble to get candidates nominated for Stikine

Taylor wants to be Christian Heritage Party candidate, Repen makes bid to represent Rural BC Party

Local M.D. urges keeping social bubbles to six

“This situation is happening in our own communities:” Dr. Kate Niethammer

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read