Tourists off Vancouver Island witnessed a rare sight when a pod of dolphins passed a whale-watching vessel near Mid-Island this weekend.
Dozens of Pacific white-sided dolphins swam past the ship Saturday afternoon in an area north of Brown’s Bay, according to Chelsea Cameron, co-owner of Discovery West Adventures.
Cameron says the tour, which operates out of Campbell River, was in the water and had recently seen transient killer whales believed to be from the T90 family.
About 30 minutes later, the tour spotted the pod of dolphins. The tour expected to see the dolphins from an appropriate distance, until they realized the “orcas have caught up to them”, according to Cameron.
“We didn’t see them until the dolphins started swimming towards us,” she said.
The pod of dolphins were swimming to escape the killer whales, according to Cameron.
She notes that the orca family, the T90s, are “known dolphin killers” that sometimes prey on white-sided dolphins, which are commonly found in the area during the summer.
Shortly after the video was taken, passengers also saw an adult male killer whale toss a dolphin about 15 feet into the air, Cameron said.
On its social media page, Discovery West called the encounter “a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.”