A video has been released showing a frightening encounter where a group of killer whales surrounded a British couple’s yacht and deliberately bumped into it for an hour.
While taking a week-long sailing course on the Strait of Gibraltar, Janet Morris and Stephen Bidwell from Cambridge experienced a banging on the hull on the second day.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw them – it’s extremely rare. We were sitting ducks,” Janet, a business consultant, said.
According to the video footage, a pod of dolphins exhibited aggressive behavior by repeatedly swimming into the hull and rudder of a 46-foot Bavaria yacht.
The crew had difficulty keeping the whales away while dealing with strong winds and rough waves.
“We were amazingly calm but underneath we were thinking, ‘Oh my god,’” Janet said.
“Because everyone was calm it felt okay, but we were petrified, it wasn’t until afterwards that we talked about being very scared. We got our valuables and our passports and talked about getting the life raft ready.”
“We all remained calm because we were aware that if any of us got anxious it would be infectious. We were able to do that because the skipper was so calm,” Stephen, a photographer, said.
“Orcas enjoy the thrill of the chase, so ideally we’d have kept still, but that wasn’t possible because of the winds.”
After about an hour, the crew had to return to shore because the boat’s steering was failing, even though the orcas had already given up the chase.
When they arrived back at the port, they discovered that the whales had damaged the rudder by taking pieces out of it.
Janet and Stephen both have the qualifications to be a captain and charter sailboats.
They were taking a sailing course near the coast of Tangier to gain more hours of sailing experience.
The couple was asleep below the deck, getting ready for their night watch shift when the whales appeared for the first time.
“We were on the course to get experience, and we’ll know what to do if this happens again,” Janet stated.
Boaters can face issues due to the orca population in the Strait of Gibraltar.
According to The Maritime Executive, a sailboat was rendered inoperable near Cape Spartel in March after a group of orcas damaged its rudder.
According to the outlet, there were a minimum of 40 incidents involving orcas and sailboats in the vicinity of Spain and Portugal from July to October 2020.