Orcas, for whatever reason, are now launching coordinated attacks on sailing vessels. This is very strange behavior and has researchers baffled.
These recent reports of orcas attacking boats are crazy and kind of scary. So, apparently orcas are ramming and harassing boats as coordinated attacks along the coasts of Spain and Portugal.
Over the past two months numerous distress calls have been issued from sailing vessels traveling along the Strait of Gibraltar to Galicia. These reports include boats losing parts of rudders, crew members sustaining bruises and even dragging a vessel along.
Sometimes the damage caused by these orcas has been serious enough to require to require being towed back to port. This behavior has scientists baffled as they search for explanations.
Read below or watch the video below for more detail about these strange attacks:
In one instance, a 46-foot delivery boat was surrounded by nine orcas off Cape Trafalgar in Spain. The whales, that can weight up to six tons, rammed the boat continuously for one hour, causing it to spin 180 degrees and the engine to shut down, according to crew member Victoria Morris.
Morris told the Observer that the attack, which happened on July 28, felt “totally orchestrated.”
“The noise was really scary. They were ramming the keel, there was this horrible echo, I thought they could capsize the boat,” Morris said. “And this deafening noise as they communicated, whistling to each other. It was so loud that we had to shout.”
The orca pod had left by the time help arrived, but the boat still had to be towed to a nearby town called Barbate. Crew members later found the rudder missing its bottom layers and teeth marks along the underside of the ship.
Several days prior, a man was motor sailing alone off Barbate when he heard a sound “like a sledgehammer” and saw his wheel “turning with incredible force.” Nick Giles told the Guardian that his 34-foot Moody yacht spun 180 degrees as he felt it lift up.
Giles said he was pushed around without steering for approximately 15 minutes.
“The boat lifted up half a foot and I was pushed by a second whale from behind,” he said, according to the Observer. While the sailor was resetting the cables, the orca hit again, “nearly chopping off my fingers in the mechanism.”
In a similar instance, a crew member from another delivery boat near Barbate told the port authority said the force of the orcas hitting the ship “nearly dislocated the helmsman’s shoulder and spun the whole yacht through 120 degrees,” according to the Observer.
Watch the video clip below for an illustrated description of the incidents described above. It’s a little quirky tho..LOL
Naturally, researchers are a bit puzzled by these orca’s recent behavior. They acknowledge that orcas are highly social, playful and curious. However, they emphasize that it is unnatural for orcas to become aggressive.
Gibraltar orcas are endangered and struggling in the noisy, polluted and food scarce waters in the area. These orcas return to the area to hunt Bluefin tuna. Bluefin tuna was once very plentiful in the area until over fishing caused the near-collapse of the local Bluefin tuna population.
Who knows, but scientists speculate that orcas ramming vessels is the result of stress originating from nets and long fishing lines found along the Straits.
This idea about stress makes sense, but how about cases like the Robertson family which was shipwrecked by a pod of 3 killer whales out in the pacific?
Watch the video below about the Robertson Family’s around the world sailing adventure.
Who knows, things happen, I guess. Have you heard of other or had any scary encounters with orcas yourself?
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