Holidaymakers enjoying a dolphin-watching trip just 2.5 kms out to sea near Albufeira got a major bonus when four Orcas turned up, accompanying the boat long enough for people to take plenty of photographs.
The massive mammals, better known as killer whales, are in Algarve waters hunting tuna, biologist Tiago Sá of Dreamwave, Algarve, explained.
“We know that orcas pass the Algarve coast at least twice a year, following tuna migration routes”, he said afterwards.
But it was still a major surprise for the 70-plus tourists on board Dreamwave’s boat.
Sá took the opportunity to dismiss some of the myths surrounding killer whales.
They are not whales, for a start, he said – being the largest species of dolphin that exists – and they are not killers, either.
“As far as we know, there are no records of attacks on humans by orcas in the wild”, he told reporters – though there are countless stories of orca attacks on humans at marine theme parks.
Last year, a similar sighting was registered 11 kms from Carvoeiro – suggesting the warmth of the seea this year may be bringing these beautiful creatures closer to shore.