VIDEO: Orca Surprises Boaters By Pushing, Spinning Their Vessel

By Zuri Anderson

July 2, 2021

Killer whale
Photo: Getty Images

A group of boaters in Northwest Washington got a close encounter with an orca, but it wasn't what they were expecting, according to KIRO 7.

What Orca Network is calling an "unusual" incident happened Tuesday (June 29) in Saratoga Passage in northern Puget Sound. Dirk Morgan shared a video with the organization, which shows a 17-year-old Bigg's orca approaching a vessel he was on with other passengers.

"Do not flip our boat," Morgan says nervously as Deb Syna tries to ease his concerns. As the spectators watched the whale swim around their boat, they notice that the orca starts pushing the vessel and even spins it around.

"It's pushing our boat away from something," Syna remarks in the video. The orca later swam away.

Saratoga Passage long form.

Posted by Dirk Morgan on Tuesday, June 29, 2021

“Bigg’s transient orcas will sometimes approach vessels out of curiosity, or more often when hunting prey who seek refuge under/near vessels, but this is unusual behavior and looks to be something else,” the Orca Network wrote in a Facebook post alongside the video.

Syna even claimed the orca followed them for some time after the encounter.

“He followed us for about 20 minutes in deeper water," according to her notes. "I stayed in the shallows, not wanting a second close encounter. He played with the boat for about 10 minutes, going under and rocking, then pushing and then spinning us before he swam off."

The Orca Network commended Morgan and Syna's actions during the encounter, saying they "conducted themselves with immense composure and grace, and did everything correct in not starting up their engine when [the orca] was near their boat."

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