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

Multiple accidents on Highway 1 slowing morning commutes

One accident just past 232 Street in Langley, second is just East of Bradner Street in Abbotsford

Abbotsford buses more reliable after summer service upgrades, BC Transit says

More buses are on time, but some are still forced to bypass riders to keep to schedule

Man charged with stealing Chief Dan George sculpture from Abbotsford school

Piece turned up in Mission pawn shop after Chilliwack artist noticed it missing this summer

New real-time location technology coming soon to Fraser Valley buses

Waiting riders will be able to see location of their bus using their phones

VIDEO, PHOTOS: Pie-eating aficionados in Mission

Annual Country Fall Fair featured entertainment, local produce and a pie-eating contest

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Guilty plea in Lower Mainland break-and-enter spree

Gordon Vincent Gladstone, 42, was charged with 12 counts relating to a dozen incidents in late 2018

Vancouver police officer hit with bear spray mid-arrest

Officer had been trying to arrest a woman wanted province-wide

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Most Read