Random Jottings

Send for Captain Ahab!

As there are killer whales around the Islands!

It has been a while since anyhave been seen but we have had reports of Orca at the Islands, not really a surprise when you think of all of the protein on fins that are 'baby seals'.

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/killer-whales-spotted-coast-northumberland-14625693

For years I have been telling anyone who will listen that with so much 'food' for apex predators in the shape of seals we must get regular visitors and lo it has come to pass, both with the stranded Greenland Shark and now with Orca.

Up until the late 80's there was a permanent presence on Longstone at the lighthouse and the keepers always said that a small pod of Orca, comprising of just three individuals which were supposed to be two adults plus calf/juvenille, would visit every year as regularly as clockwork, arriving just after Christmas and departing late January.

On the attached link you will see that regular sightings ceased in 1990..........Since the keepers were moved from the lighthouse following automation in 1990 there hasn't been a permanent presence on the Islands and tour boats simply don't sail in the winter so maybe these visitors are present more than we think?

http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/interests/mammals/mammals-north-east/killer-whale-orca/

This particular pack would 'lurk' around Piper gut and woe betide any young seal that got caught in the horrendous flow of water on the flood tide as the topography of the rocks makes it hard for a seal to haul out quickly and the water goes 'deep' rapidly. On the Ebb a seal might be able to dash ashore on the back of Harcars where there is a steady and slow slope, but as I said if the tide is flooding things don't look good.

Would Orca attack divers in the wild? Well there is a report from 1972 about a bite and leave type incident on a surfer and a second where a scientist who was diving with seals in the 80's was grabbed but with no bruising or marks I have my dounts, apparently the seals were exiting the water and it was in a melee........... oh, there are occasionally instances where pilot whales have reported to get hold of guys who were swimming and then dragging them down before releasing them.

I do vaguely remember dives being pulled back in the early 80's as there were orca around the islands but also I tried to get some photos of them in the 90's and later with no issues but no photos and they did come close.....I relied on strange sounds from my rebreather to 'inform' them that I wasn't a pinniped!

Dive safe......................

RichW

 

 

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