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'OMG': Orcas surprise Nanaimo woman out for a run

Anna Mihalj was out for a run in Nanaimo when she got a pleasant surprise.

Anna Mihalj was out for a run on Vancouver Island when a pod of orcas popped up and surprised her.

She moved to Nanaimo from the Kootenay region in August and has been enjoying the lack of snow and beautiful scenery. Never did she expect to get within two metres of a killer whale, she tells Glacier Media.

“I was running along, I heard a sound like literally right next to me where I thought, if I didn’t know better, I thought it was a bear,” she recalls of the Feb. 14 afternoon sighting.

She looked down after hearing the 'huffing' sound.

“I looked over and there was one of the orcas literally right next to me,” she says. “This is incredible!”

She says about seven orcas were swimming into the current at Dodd Narrows off Joan Point Park. Mihalj noticed a few other people were watching the whales as well. However, she says it felt like a private moment with the animals.

“It was so cool.”

Mihalj managed to take out her cellphone and video the quick encounter, which lasted just a few minutes.

“I think this is a sign that I am right where I need to be,” she says.

Jackie Hildering with Marine Education Research Society says the whales are ‘bucking the tide’ in the video.

“It’s sometimes what they do,” she says. “[For] fun, going somewhere, learning? Who knows.”

Mihalj hopes other people will enjoy the video just as much as she did.

“I’m really happy to share [the video] with people, especially people that don’t live near the ocean because I think that’s the power of the internet — to share these really special moments with people that don’t get to see that all the time.”