Ferry passengers heading from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay were treated to a New Year’s treat on Monday.
They were joined by a pod of dolphins swimming alongside the vessel.
Julian Laffin from Hornby Island shot some spectacular video of the pod travelling at high speed.
He told the CBC “It certainly surprised everyone on the ferry,”
Jessica Torode, the coordinator of the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network, confirmed the animals in the pod were Pacific white-sided dolphins.
She said these dolphins can be identified by their distinct shading pattern.
The animals have a grey dorsal side and a white belly with light stripes and a curved dorsal fin.
“They tend to be seen in groups of 10 to 200 but can occasionally form large supergroups of over 1,000 animals,” Torden said.
“Here they can be seen swimming quickly with a behaviour known as ‘porpoising,’ where their bodies completely clear the water.”
Torode said these dolphins weren’t often seen in B.C.’s coastal waters prior to the mid-1980s, but due to a shift in ocean temperature and prey availability, they have become increasingly common in the Strait of Georgia.
She said ferry passengers often report seeing them, including most recently on Christmas Eve.
“Everyone was just trying to get the best view,” Laffin said. “But I think I got the best one.”
Files from CBC