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‘A wonderful B.C. moment’: Couple witnesses bald eagle’s ocean plunge, swim to shore

Click to play video 'Bald eagle spotted swimming off coast of Lantzville, B.C.' Bald eagle spotted swimming off coast of Lantzville, B.C.
Global BC viewers Mary Anne Goater and her husband Tim were canoeing off the coast near Lantzville when they witnessed an incredible scene. They say an adult blad eagle crash-landed in the ocean after diving for prey. The Goaters followed the eagle as it swam safely back to shore – Jul 22, 2020

It was an experience one B.C. couple won’t soon forget.

On July 21, Mary Anne Goater, a biology teacher at Nanaimo District Secondary School, and her husband Tim Goater, a biology professor at Vancouver Island University, were going on their first canoe trip of the summer with their six-month-old Labrador puppy Bo.

They were paddling off the coast of Lantzville when a mature adult bald eagle flew over their canoe and dove straight into the ocean.

“We assumed it was a fish and expected it to fly off with its catch,” Mary Anne said in an email.

“But it crash-landed in the ocean and could not fly away.”

Read more: Dollar fight? Loon killed bald eagle with ‘shot through the heart’

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They assumed they would have to save it, as eagles have been known to drown too far from shore, but the logistics of that seemed impossible.

“How would we get a wet, bedraggled, and embarrassed [and] angry adult eagle into the canoe to get it to shore?” Mary Anne said.

“And more importantly, how would a six-month-old Labrador puppy cope with this new shipmate?”

It turns out the eagle could take care of itself.

The Goaters followed the eagle as it swam to the shore and made it safely with its catch in its claws.

“Who knew that eagles could swim butterfly?” Mary Anne said.