Killer whales launch ‘orchestrated’ attacks on sailing boats

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Tiny Turnip, Sep 13, 2020.

  1. A II
    Joined: Jun 2020
    Posts: 176
    Likes: 65, Points: 28
    Location: Belgium ⇄ the Netherlands

    A II no senior member → youtu.be/oNjQXmoxiQ8 → I wish

    "Terrifying" is a subjective human interpretation there, while the Orcas didn't bother any human in the video.

    Now is there any case known of a wild Orca killing or even bothering a human in the water ?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
  2. Tiny Turnip
    Joined: Mar 2008
    Posts: 685
    Likes: 142, Points: 43, Legacy Rep: 743
    Location: Huddersfield, UK

    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    If I recall correctly, in 'The Worst Journey in the World' there is an account of orcas checking out the men and dogs unloading the ship across the sea ice - no incident though but they find it unnerving and take care not to get close. Of course it might just be curiosity, or seeing if the men and dogs might be seals...
     
  3. A II
    Joined: Jun 2020
    Posts: 176
    Likes: 65, Points: 28
    Location: Belgium ⇄ the Netherlands

    A II no senior member → youtu.be/oNjQXmoxiQ8 → I wish

    Take care not to get close is a good precaution, curiosity of the Orcas I'm sure, unnerving and might seeing if the men and dogs might be seals is a subjective human interpretation of the situation and not based on known facts as far as I know, but better to be safe then sorry.

    Found this Wikipedia page about the 1922 book The Worst Journey in the World about the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole in 1910 - 1913 and the 2007 TV programme about it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
  4. A II
    Joined: Jun 2020
    Posts: 176
    Likes: 65, Points: 28
    Location: Belgium ⇄ the Netherlands

    A II no senior member → youtu.be/oNjQXmoxiQ8 → I wish

    Yes that's interesting, why don't wild Orcas hunt and kill humans ?

    Or are there cases of it known ?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
  5. Tiny Turnip
    Joined: Mar 2008
    Posts: 685
    Likes: 142, Points: 43, Legacy Rep: 743
    Location: Huddersfield, UK

    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    Aah - I found the 'TWJITW' passage. Good old Project Gutenberg:

    The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Worst Journey In The World, by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14363/14363-h/14363-h.htm#Page_99

    There were two adventures during this first week of landing stores which might well have had a more disastrous conclusion. The first of these was the adventure of Ponting and the Killer whales.

    "I was a little late on the scene this morning, and thereby witnessed a most extraordinary scene. Some six or seven killer whales, old and young, were skirting the fast floe edge ahead of the ship; they seemed excited and dived rapidly, almost touching the floe. As we watched, they suddenly appeared astern, raising their snouts out of water. I had heard weird stories of these beasts, but had never associated serious danger with them. Close to the water's edge lay the wire stern rope of the ship, and our two Esquimaux dogs were tethered to this. I did not think of connecting the movement of the whales with this fact, and seeing them so close I shouted to Ponting, who was standing abreast of the ship. He seized his camera and ran towards the floe edge to get a close picture of the beasts, which had momentarily disappeared. The next moment the whole floe under him and the dogs heaved up and split into fragments. One could hear the booming noise as the whales rose under the ice and struck it with their backs. Whale after whale rose under the ice, setting it rocking fiercely; luckily Ponting kept his feet and was able to fly to security. By an extraordinary chance also, the splits had been made around and between the dogs, so that neither of them fell into the water. Then it was clear that the whales shared our astonishment, for one after another their huge hideous heads shot vertically into the air through the cracks which they had made. As they reared them to a height of six or eight feet it was possible to see their tawny head markings, their small glistening eyes, and their terrible array of teeth—by far the largest and most terrifying in the world. There cannot be a doubt that they looked up to see what had happened to Ponting and the dogs.

    "The latter were horribly frightened and strained to their chains, whining; the head of one killer must certainly have been within five feet of one of the dogs.

    "After this, whether they thought the game insignificant, or whether they missed Ponting is uncertain, but the terrifying creatures passed on to other hunting grounds, and we were able to rescue the dogs, and what was even more important, our petrol—five or six tons of which was waiting on a piece of ice which was not split away from the main mass.

    "Of course, we have known well that killer whales continually skirt the edge of the floes and that they would undoubtedly snap up any one who was unfortunate enough to fall into the water; but the facts that they could display such deliberate cunning, that they were able to break ice of such thickness (at least 2½ feet), and that they could act in unison, were a revelation to us. It is clear that they are endowed with singular intelligence, and in future we shall treat that intelligence with every respect."[100]

    We were to be hunted by these Killer whales again.

    [Despite my fiddling with the URL, the link takes you to p104 and you have to scroll up a little]
     
  6. A II
    Joined: Jun 2020
    Posts: 176
    Likes: 65, Points: 28
    Location: Belgium ⇄ the Netherlands

    A II no senior member → youtu.be/oNjQXmoxiQ8 → I wish

    Great story, thanks for posting Tiny !

    But since no man or animal fell into the water we don't know if the Orcas were after the human or the dogs, or both, and if they would have killed the human.

    So I'm still curious if there's any known case of a wild Orca killing a human, but wouldn't advise anyone to give it a try though . . :eek:
     
  7. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
    Posts: 5,657
    Likes: 276, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2489
    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow Bananas

    Oh, when will people learn to turn the phone sideways to capture a "not a rocket launch" type of event?
     
  8. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,404
    Likes: 283, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    I was born and raised here in the Pacific Northwest, and started messing around in boats when I was 8 or 9. I heard stories about "killer whales" but never personally encountered any when out on Hood Canal or elsewhere. I have seen them from a distance and they are very impressive. I have never seen any confirmed story in the news or by word of mouth of Orcas attacking humans. People kayak near them, tourist boats harass the hell out of them, and some even get shot at. (because they eat salmon, and it is illegal to shoot them or harass them. ) The idea that they may have thought the Sailboat was an upside down Orca is interesting.
     
  9. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 8,931
    Likes: 597, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    hoytedow's video was rather chilling, you might think your number was up, with two of them heading your way. They obviously don't bite that readily !
     
  10. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
    Posts: 5,657
    Likes: 276, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2489
    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow Bananas

    Check video source. Not mine.
    Will posted it.
     
  11. A II
    Joined: Jun 2020
    Posts: 176
    Likes: 65, Points: 28
    Location: Belgium ⇄ the Netherlands

    A II no senior member → youtu.be/oNjQXmoxiQ8 → I wish

    They're extremely intelligent animals, so I'll guess they know it are boats, but they might be thinking those boats were better of when the hull appendages were pointing upwards, as that's best in their own world.

    Science together with naval architecture should investigate all hull forms that were attacked by Orcas, and make statistics about these hulls and their appendages characteristics, as I think it's the only clue we have so far, however the 1972 case with the 1922 built 43' wooden schooner Lucette in the posts #8 & #15 was probably about a long keeler, but maybe deep enough to be considered upside down by Orcas . . ?

    But the Orcas didn't attack the crew who all seven safely fled from the scene in an inflatable life raft and a 10' (3 m) hard dinghy.

    What it’s like to survive a shipwreck

    ‘‘ . . . . And then came the impacts. Three in all, in quick succession. Their 43 ft (13 m) wooden schooner, was lifted into the air, the occupants thrown off their feet. The crack was so loud it could only mean the keel, a single piece of wood that runs the entire length of the bottom of the boat, 3 ft (0.9 m) deep and 1 ft (0.3 m) wide, had snapped. . . . . ’’

    Survive the Savage Sea

    ‘‘ . . . . the 43' schooner Lucette was attacked by killer whales and sank in 60 seconds. . . . . ’’

    Dougal Robertson

    ‘‘ . . . . On 15 June 1972, Lucette was holed by a pod of killer whales and sank approximately 200 miles west of the Galapagos Islands. The group of seven people on board escaped to an inflatable life raft and a solid-hull dinghy with little in the way of tools or provisions.

    Using the dinghy as a towboat powered by a jury-rigged sail, the group made its way towards the doldrums, hoping to find rain there so they could collect drinking water. They did so successfully, while catching turtles, dorado, and flying fish to eat. The inflatable raft became unusable after 16 days, so the seven people crowded into the three-metre long dinghy with their supplies. They then continued to use the wind and current to their advantage, moving to the northeast towards Central America.

    By their 38th day as castaways, they had stored dried meat and fresh water in such quantities that they intended to begin rowing that night to speed their progress. However, they were sighted and picked up that day by the Japanese fishing trawler Tokamaru II on her way to the Panama Canal. Robertson, who had been keeping a journal in case they were rescued, recounted the ordeal in the 1973 book Survive the Savage Sea, on which the 1991 film of the same name was based. . . . . ’’
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
  12. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 8,931
    Likes: 597, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I'd be surprised if the highly evolved sonar of the Orca could not differentiate between a boat hull, and an upturned whale, but I am depending on the reported ability of them (and dolphins) to "see" inside other animals, for that opinion.
     
  13. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
    Posts: 5,657
    Likes: 276, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2489
    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow Bananas

    Cracking that keel must have given the whale a terrible headache.
     
  14. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
    Posts: 2,339
    Likes: 201, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1082
    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    The reports were that two whales were seen to be streaming massive amounts of blood from their head as a result of striking the keels of one of the boats that had twin keels. It was hypothesized that the twin keel configuration may have triggered them. I think that was in *Survive the Savage Sea*
     

  15. A II
    Joined: Jun 2020
    Posts: 176
    Likes: 65, Points: 28
    Location: Belgium ⇄ the Netherlands

    A II no senior member → youtu.be/oNjQXmoxiQ8 → I wish

    Just found the specs of Lucette, she was a long keeler, her transom stern and gaff rig and flat coach roof were redesigned after a fire in 1936.

    [​IMG]

    ‘‘ L.O.A. 43.0 ft.
    - L.W.L 36.0 ft.
    - Beam 11.4 ft.
    - Draft 05.0 ft.
    - Sail area 923 sq.ft.
    - TM 19 ’’

    What it’s like to survive a shipwreck

    ‘‘ . . . . . Meanwhile, one of the whales, the biggest of the three, was bleeding into the sea from a wound on its head. What had prompted the animals to attack a ship? . . . . . . Sperm whales fight by ramming each other with their rostrum – the hard front part of their skulls. . . . . . . Killer whales might also fight like this, but more commonly hunt by teaming up to ram large prey like sharks and whales in their soft abdomen. The much smaller Lucette might have looked like a large whale from below not out of the question to prey on. . . . . . ’’
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.