Napping couple waken rudely as killer whale rams into boat | British News
A British couple who were napping on their boat during a cruise in the Mediterranean were woken up by six killer whales ramming the ship.
Cambridge’s Janet Morris and Stephen Bidwell were sailing a course off the coast of Morocco when they spotted a pod of orcas on May 2nd.
They were asleep when they heard the hull pounding and the crew shouting, ‘Orcas! ‘Orcas!’.
Orcas, also called killer whales although they belong to the same family as dolphins, are apex predators that prey on fish and large whales.
Despite the sinister-sounding name, there is no record of an orca ever killing a human in the wild, and attacks are generally rare.
Scientists have a simple reason for this: killer whales tend to reside in cold regions at high latitudes where humans don’t typically reside.
But when at least six orcas crashed into Janet and Stephen’s boat for an hour, it was hard for the crew not to get a little scared.
Management consultant Janet, 58, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw her – it’s extremely rare.” We were on the brink.
“We were amazingly calm, but basically we were like, ‘Oh my God’.”
“Because everyone was calm it felt okay, but we were petrified and only afterwards did we talk about how scared we were.”
“We got our valuables and our passports and talked about getting the life raft ready.”
“It really didn’t help that the conditions in front of the orcas were bad. The boat moved a lot – it was hard to tell the cause from the others
“The captain was very calm and orderly, which everyone persevered with.”
Photographer Stephen, 58, said everyone on board did their best to remain calm as anxiety and fear can be “contagious”.
“Orcas enjoy the thrill of the hunt, so ideally we would have kept quiet,” he said, “but that wasn’t possible because of the wind.”
After an hour, the killer whales swam away, but the boat’s controls failed – a major problem for any vessel in adverse conditions – so they had to head back to port.
The giant mammals swam about seven miles from Tangier, a port city in northwestern Morocco.
This lies in a stretch of sea called the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates mainland Europe and Africa and is a known orca hotspot.
Janet and Stephen later found that the pod of orcas had been hunting behind debris – the spongy rudder of their 46 foot sailing yacht “Bavaria”.
Previous reports of killer whale ‘attacks’ on sailboats in the region have included oars that have snapped off, boats that have sunk, and confusion among scientists.
Scholars don’t tend to use the word “attack” to describe these incidents; Humans are not on their menu as they are picky eaters, prefer tuna and squid and don’t exactly look like fish either.
Some suggest that the orcas are fascinated by boat propellers and, when knocked out at sea, get frustrated and try to break the rudder.
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