Revenge or playing ?
South Pacific Familyadventure 2008
Mon 8 Aug 2022 15:49
Initially there were 3 juveniles from only 1 pod of orcas (The three Gladis ) but today 14 individuals have been identified participating in the attacks.According to the Atlantic Orca Work Group attacks have been recorded all the way from the Bay of Biscay down to the Gibraltar Strait and the behaviour seems to be spreading to other pods of orcas in the area with the frequency of attacks increasing.
The reason for this behaviour is unknown allthough scientists suggest it could be playing (orcas are well known to like the jetstream from propellers and some pods in the Pacific Northwest killed salmons and played with as hats, a playful behaviuor that lasted for years).
Another theory is revenge,that perhaps some individuals were injured by fishingboats and now attack as part of vengeance (desire for revenge is well known among orcas). Both sailboats and fishingboats have been attacked and the advise is to stop the boat,switch off the engine as well as the depthsounder and wait.
Many of the boats attacked have lost their rudders and a few have also been sunk.
During our third passage along Costa da Morte (the coast of death) returning to Rias Baixas, Spanish SAR vessel Salvamar Betelgeuse was called out to assist a sailboat attacked by orcas. They had lost their steering and were towed to La Coruna. On the VHF radio we have also overheard Pan-Pan messages from boats in need of assistance after attacks. It´s obvious that this is a serious threat to cruisers in the area and some now choose to use the French canalsystem to reach the Mediterranean avoiding this part of Atlantic Europe.