McInnes Island - photo Ray Morgan - BCMarina.com

Can you imagine sitting on this ocean in front of your lighthouse in a fourteen foot Zodiac rubber boat just minding your own business, and then the sea erupts around you with hundreds of torpedo shapes zooming in and out of the water?

One of the events my son will always remember as a young boy on the lighthouse, and I will never forget is being in the middle of a what people call a dolphin stampede.


We had gone out to fish and were motoring slowly around looking for a good spot. Suddenly towards the lighthouse the water started to boil, and then grey specks appeared above the surface. These large grey shapes were coming straight towards us! I turned off the outboard motor thinking that they might get hurt, but the dolphins didn’t seem to care one way or the other. They flew straight at us, just under the water, and as they neared the boat they dove a bit and went right under us. It was amazing. So much control at that speed.

As the approaching pod became smaller and smaller we turned to seaward and watched them zoom off in the distance towards Calvert Island 40 miles away. At the speed they were going they would be there in half a day! I have heard lots of stories of this phenomenon, and Youtube is full of movies.

I chose a movie that I thought was close to what we experienced as it was also shot from a rubber boat. It only happened once to me in my lifetime, but I would love to see it again.

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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

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