May 24, 2019

Dorsal fins at dusk – swimmer has ‘Jaws’ moment

Orca fin - Ok so it is not the classical shark shape, but when you are sharing the ocean with it and it is only a few metres away would you stop to check?

A pod of Orcas were being watched by a crowd on shore at Scorching Bay,Wellington, New Zealand, when they noticed a lone swimmer in the water.

A lot yelling got no response. As two Orca started closing in on the swimmer he eventually heard the cries of alarm and saw what all the yelling was about. Two large dorsal fins closing in on him in the gathering darkness.

Yes it is one of those ‘Jaws’ moments. ‘The great fish moved silently through the night water….’. We know that there is not too much for humans to be worried about with Orcas, aside from them being a very large mammal.

But for this unknown swimmer, being in the water in the gathering dusk with two large dorsal fins heading your way must have been a frightening experience.

“Because everybody was paying attention to [the orcas], no-one really noticed that there was a swimmer,” Miramar resident Shannon Thomas said. “He didn’t know that they were there and they just kept getting closer and closer and closer.”

“You should have seen his face when he turned around and saw the two dorsal fins, he was running pretty good.” Shannon Thomas took the phot below of the swimmer exiting the water.

Conservation Department marine mammal specialist Nadine Bott said it was just as well the orcas weren’t interested in the man, because no amount of rapid swimming or running would have done him any good.

“It’s interesting that people talk about swimming as fast as they can to get out of the water. There’s no way you could out-swim an orca. In some ways, you kind of think `just enjoy the experience’.”

Orcas visit Wellington between spring and autumn, and enjoy feasting on delicacies such as sting ray in the warm shallow waters around New Zealands capital.

A swimmer sets a new personal best time for exiting the water with a little encouragement from some rather large dorsal fins.