Whalenado!

At first they were “being lovely and playing around”, Ms Morris told CBC radio, adding that she was happy to interact with the animals as she had had positive prior experiences from sailing among them.
But the encounter soon turned ugly. “They started surrounding us in a circle, coming for the rudder and the keel,” Ms Morris said.
The blows caused the vessel to spin violently in a circle, smashing the rudder and leaving the yacht adrift in a busy shipping lane.
The attack lasted an hour and the crew was eventually rescued after finally convincing the coastguard that they had been attacked by orcas. Cetacean experts say attacks by orcas are extremely rare, and such a spate of rammings is unheard of.
No one can be sure what causes the incidents, or even if the same pod is behind the attacks in Galicia and southern Spain, although this is a possibility given that orcas are known to migrate to the Strait of Gibraltar area in summer to hunt bluefin tuna, which are also sought eagerly by Cádiz fishermen.
One theory is that some orcas may be seeking revenge for attacks from fishermen, who have complained that the animals have learned to steal tuna from the weighted lines they use to catch the prized fish.

Why wouldn’t a carnivore try to open up floating packets of meat?

18 thoughts on “Whalenado!”

  1. Why wouldn’t a carnivore try to open up floating packets of meat?

    PREVIOUS
    Because bacon

    Was that intentional?

  2. “One theory is that some orcas may be seeking revenge…”

    By idiots who thought the 1977 Richard Harris/Charlotte Rampling/Bo Derek film was a documentary?

  3. Highly intelligent apex predator figures out that humans in water are nearly defenseless and that there’s good eatin’ on them. News at 11…

    I’ve been digging around a bit, but as far as I can tell all known tales/myths/depictions about Orcas from all over the world from people who lived in/around their vicinity treat them with extreme respect and caution, if not outright deifying them.
    Must have a reason…

  4. JuliaM September 24, 2020 at 7:29 am – “By idiots who thought the 1977 Richard Harris/Charlotte Rampling/Bo Derek film was a documentary?”

    Did Rocco make that one?

    Killer Whales are highly specific killers. If taken in captivity they will rarely eat food that they are not used to – even if other Killer Whales in the same pool will. That is, if you take one from a pod that specialises in seals, put them with others that usually eat salmon, that one will not eat salmon.

    So unless they are used to eating sailors ….

  5. I’d look carefully at the words “she was happy to interact with the animals as she had had positive prior experiences from sailing among them.” Interact how? I will never cease to be amazed by the ways people choose to “interact” with animals.

  6. I’ll enlarge on that. They are animals. Unless they have been actively taught otherwise, their default position is the world wants to kill them. And that does not mean the training will always hold.

  7. “One theory is that some orcas may be seeking revenge for attacks from fishermen, who have complained that the animals have learned to steal tuna from the weighted lines they use to catch the prized fish.”

    Learned to steal Tuna caught on lines?

    Can’t imagine that took long to learn. Having spent your entire life chasing Tuna that can swim free, I’d have thought finding one caught on a line it would have been a bit like learning how to hunt a burger from a McDonalds.

  8. ““They started surrounding us in a circle, coming for the rudder and the keel,” Ms Morris said.”

    That may be the answer there… The atlantic pods also hunt whales.. And they take them out in exactly this manner: attack the tail to immobilise, attack the belly to kill..
    So her “interaction” did something to provoke the pod to go into assault mode against a target that may well “look” like a whale to them.

  9. “So unless they are used to eating sailors ….”

    Or, perhaps, people that have fallen overboard from tightly packed migrant vessels? 😉

  10. Given the local pods can often be seen from the regular ferries and there are plenty of whale watching tours they are pretty used to boats. There are also regular reports of kayakers having encounters with them and a long distance swimmer had an encounter recently.
    There are rules about steering clear of them, though if they come see you not much you can do and it does make me wonder when they use ‘interact’

  11. Actually, in opposition to most of the assumptions here. I don’t think that there are recorded cases of wild Orca predating on humans to the point of kill and eat. Even in situations where a human would be easy taking, they do not seem to do so. Most sensible people do indeed give them a reasonable berth as they are rather fearsome, but in practice they seem to discriminate and “chose” not to attack humans. They do attack prey as large as leopard seals (a pretty fearsome predator itself) and moose when swimming. Four humans have been killed by Orca, but all the killers were captive Orca, and in fact one captive killed three of the four (Orca called Tilikum kept captive in Florida).

    Not common but not uncommon locally, Orca. Often come into harbours and the like and local groups seem to feast on stingrays at times when those creatures congregate in large numbers (presumably for mating) in the shallower inner reaches of those harbours..

    Likely the attack on the boat was either mistaken identity (which seems unlikely), or a “friendly” warning in retaliation to fishermen’s attacks on them. Or maybe it seemed like “fun” to them. Had they wanted to sink the craft I doubt that it would have been that difficult.

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