‘We were mesmerized’: Video captures orcas hunting sea lions just metres off B.C. beach

It was the type of scene one might expect to see in a nature documentary narrated by David Attenborough.

But for a group of families on Bowen Island on Friday, the show was in 3D and higher definition than 4K.

Cristoph Haase was with family and friends having a barbecue at King Edward Bay when there was suddenly a flurry of activity just offshore.

“We were just basically down at our local beach here having some hot dogs… and all of a sudden it looked like a bunch of dolphins were coming in, and as they were coming closer we noticed it was sea lions,” he said.

Haase pulled out his phone, hoping to capture a video to “one-up” a series of other sea lion videos Bowen Island locals have been posting online recently, when the scene suddenly took a turn for the dramatic.

“As I pull out my phone, we notice there’s actually whales chasing the sea lions,” he said.

“They were starting hunting them, and later on we noticed there were actually seals there, too. It was crazy.”

What followed lasted about a minute as the pod of orcas breached multiple times through the pack of sea lions.

“This is incredible… look at how many orcas there are,” one person can be heard exclaiming.

“Go sea lions!” calls out another.

The orcas were most likely transient or Bigg’s killer whales who feed on sea lions and seals, rather than members of the region’s endangered southern resident killer whale population.

Haase said he’s seen whales off Bowen in the last several years, but never anything like this.

“Everyone was going crazy. To be honest, [the video] doesn’t capture at all what it was like to be there. Even 20 minutes after they were gone we were all mesmerized by what just happened.”

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