A recent string of high-profile attacks by orcas on boats around Spain and Portugal has led to an interesting theory from experts.
The prevailing theory is a killer whale that’s been named ‘White Gladis’ endured a ‘critical moment of agony’ caused by humans. This could’ve been a collision with boats, an attack, death of a relative, etc. But it’s believed this critical moment of agony led to the orca to fight back and begin teaching younger killer whales how to attack boats.
Over the past several years there have been repeated attacks on boats by killer whales, including one on May 4th in the Strait of Gibraltar, where a yacht was attacked and damaged. That incident involved a larger orca and two smaller killer whales according to Werner Schaufelberger:
“There were two smaller and one larger orca … The little ones shook the rudder at the back while the big one repeatedly backed up and rammed the ship with full force from the side. The two little orcas observed the bigger one’s technique and, with a slight run-up, they too slammed into the boat.”
The whales sunk that boat. Rescuers found it so waterlogged it wasn’t able to be towed and found its way to the bottom of Davy Jones’s locker.
Now, Reuters is reporting ANOTHER killer whale attack has occurred and a sailboat was severely damaged on its way to Gibraltar.
The attack happened in the wee hours of Thursday morning when a group of orcas descended upon the unsuspecting boat:
“In the early hours of Thursday, a group of orcas broke the rudder and pierced the hull after ramming into the Mustique on its way to Gibraltar, prompting its crew of four to contact Spanish authorities for help, a spokesman for the maritime rescue service said.”
“The service deployed a rapid-response vessel and a helicopter carrying a bilge pump to assist the 20-metre (66 feet) vessel, which was sailing under a British flag, he added. The Mustique was towed to the port of Barbate, in the province of Cadiz, for repairs.”
Imagine for a moment that you are out in a 66-foot sailboat on your way through the Mediterranean Sea toward Gibraltar. You are living your best life. Then boom, something smashes your rudder.
You look back and there’s a pod of killer whales attacking your boat. There’s no land in sight.
Personally, I’d take my chances negotiating against pirates any day over surviving a killer whale attack.