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One of great, often overlooked benefits of paddle boarding is discovering nature. While paddle boarding near Deception Pass in Washington, Jennifer Bull had an awesome, rare moment with a pod of Orcas. Luckily, she had her camera ready and was able to record her unique interaction with these “killer whales.”
This was an incredibly rare, amazing sight. Check out Jennifer’s video below.
You can hear the excitement in Jennifer’s voice as not one, but several Orcas breach the water and vent air through their blow holes. The orcas gracefully swam away from the paddlers almost as quickly as they appeared. In the background of the video you can see the Deception Pass Bridge connecting Goose Rock and Ben Ure Island.
Orca’s aren’t known to be friendly creatures, and they don’t interact with humans in the wild very often. You know Jennifer and the spectators were witnessing an awesome moment on that beautiful Washington Day.
Related: watch another paddle boarder’s brief moment with a pod of orca’s on Time Magazine’s website here.
While you’re reading this, here are some cool facts about the Orca.
The Orca, scientific name Orcinus orca, was named after the Roman god Orcus. Orcus was a god of the Roman netherworld who punished evildoers. While some this may be a good name for these creatures, the name originally comes from some sailors who once saw an orca attacking other whales. Some also refer to the orca as the assassin whale, sword whale, or blackfish.
Did you know the killer whale is not actually a “whale” or a “fish?” It’s actually a dolphin, and the largest specie of dolphin at that.
Killer whales are carnivorous and prey on a variety of sea leaf. We know their diet consists of sharks, rays, squids, turtles, penguins, sea birds, sea lions, seals, lobster (yum!), juvenile blue whales, and baby sperm whales. Scientists have also discovered orcas eating moose and polar bears if they’re able to catch them! Killer whales typically hunt in groups and have a greater success rate hunting with their pod.
Check out this video of these killer whales taking down a tiger shark.
Orcas are social creatures and live in groups called pods. A killer whale pod is formed of related females, with the pod being led by the almost female. A pod can consist of just three whales to over a hundred! There can be as many as five generations of killer whales in one pod! The pods hunt, travel, and rest together. Scientists believe that, if a pod member dies, the others will mourn it.
Killer whales have their own complex language. Orcas can produce high pitched whistles, low frequency “pops,” pusled calls, and they can even make clapping sounds with their jaws. Orcas also communicate with each other through touch and other gestures such as head-butting and fin slapping. Pretty cool, huh?
Did you know that orcas are the most widely distributed mammal in the world? They thrive in both warm and cold (even freezing) waters with their thick layer of blubber. Killer whales can be found in open water, but they are most commonly found in coastal waters. So, that means you may have a chance to have a natural “interaction” with the orcas while paddle boarding!
If you see a killer whale on your paddle board (or boat, or kayak, or whatever), don’t panic! There is no record of a wild orca ever attacking a human. Yes, they are called “killers,” but they have never stalked or killed a human. If you google, you can find records of orca’s harming humans in captivity, but scientists believe this is due to the significant stress put on the animal from being separated from its pod and being in too small of an enclosure.
What are you waiting for? Get your paddle board and go on an adventure with nature! Remember, the more often you’re on on the water, the greater chances you have of seeing that once-in-a-lifetime moment unfold in front of you.
To me, it’s these beautiful, albeit brief, moments in nature that take your breath away. Just being on my paddle board in the water is worth it in itself, but it also opens us up to these amazing moments.
If you paddle board often, you’re bound to have an experience as unique as Jennifer’s. You may not see her Orca’s, but you’ll likely get a chance to interactive with your local wildlife. Remember to be a passive observer, and try not to scare or chase any live animals.
If you happen to find yourself in Hawaii during whale season, we highly suggested hopping on a paddle board and experiencing Hawaii’s famous humpback whales on the water. Hawaii’s whale typically begins in November and ends in May, but the best time go is the peak of the season during January to March.
Remember, no matter where you are in the world, there’s a place to paddle board surrounded by nature.Happy paddling, and remember to bring your camera with you.
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