Two new Orca attacks off Portuguese West coast in 24-hours
One of the latest 'interactions'/ attacks, photographed here by Tomás Barradas, posted on Facebook

Two new Orca attacks off Portuguese West coast in 24-hours

Social media sites buzzing as attacks accelerate

The awe-inspiring if not terrifying ‘interactions’ of killer whales with sailing boats continue off Portugal’s west coast, with two having taken place in 24-hours this week.

In both cases the boats were immobilised – their rudders destroyed – and the crew had to radio for assistance.

Neither attack was as bad as one earlier this summer, that saw a whole family abandon their boat as it sank. But these ‘interactions’ as marine specialists like to call them are causing real concern among the sailing fraternity, not least because ‘official advice’ on how to deal with interactions doesn’t appear to work.

Some sailors have resorted to ‘less than humane’ measures – like pouring large quantities of diesel into the water around the boat; shooting live rounds into the water; playing loud music, etc., anything to try and save what otherwise ends up being a very costly repair, and possibly worse.

Boats online have discussed sailing in convoy, but one commentator suggests even this may not be the answer: “They are not pirates! They are underwater assassins teaming up just means more targets close together…”

Truth is no one can be certain what is going on in these extraordinary animals’ minds. Could it just be ‘fun’ they are having? Why do they pick off sailing boats, and leave fishing boats alone? So far no one has the answers.

The latest attacks took place on Monday 12 miles off Cabo Sardão, and in the bay off Melides on Tuesday. There appear to have been four or five Orcas involved. 

Anyone sailing needs to keep in touch with other sailors on social media sites. According to current ‘conversations’, this is a complicated month for Orcas as they are swimming after tuna in the area. Give it another few days and there could be ‘trouble free sailing’ for at least another two months.

For more information see:

Orca attack Iberia 

Orca attack reporting 

Orca attack solutions:

There is also a website exploring this phenomenon which only really got started in the early days of the pandemic.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com