A group of boaters recently left the shores of Norway in search of whales — and had an especially “fantastic” encounter.
The Orca Channel boat went farther from Skjervøy than usual in an attempt to spot the sea creatures, according to a Nov. 20 Facebook post. When they spotted a “huge male” come to the surfacing, they stopped and waited.
“After a few minutes of scouting the horizon with binoculars, we saw a huge jump with a big splash,” the company said in its post. “It was an orca.”
Shortly after the first jump, the “magnificent” animal jumped again, Orca Channel said. That’s when the group noticed another two to three “small-fins,” or juvenile orcas.
“We started approaching slowly but kept quite a distance and did not mean to disturb what was happening,” the post said. “In between the jumps, we also witnessed some tail slaps.”
The boaters soon realized that they were witnessing something much more special than just some jumps and tail slaps — the juveniles were practicing their hunting “techniques.” Young killer whales often exercise their hunting skills by practicing on living “toys,” sometimes birds, according to Orca Channel.
“This time, a poor little auk crossed paths with this group of orcas,” the post said. “The orca was probably jumping in the distance during its chase after the little auk.”
Boaters said the “poor little bird” looked “quite terrified,” but they weren’t sure if it escaped.
The North of Norway is a “rare place” that hosts the “biggest congregation of cetaceans” — the order of marine mammals that includes whales — because it is home to a type of herring that comes close to the shore, according to Orca Channel.