Let’s Talk About It, The Orca
With all the “boo-ha-ha” in Gansbaai, regarding the appearance of 4 Orcas in the bay, which seemed to coincide with the disappearance of the Great White Shark population from the famous Shark Alley, I thought I would take a deeper look into this phenomenon, of course only once the sharks had returned.
There seems to be differing beliefs here, some on the side of the Orca, saying they are not responsible for the disappearance of the Great Whites, as they are not a threat and others who believe they are a threat and the sole reason for the Great White Shark’s game of hide and go seek.
Both sides have a fair argument and both have proof to back up their claims. In False Bay in 2014, ASEC had many successful trips, filled with plenty shark activity out to Seal Island, and the trips were filled with so many of the oceans beautiful creatures, including dolphins, whales and the infamous orca! On the 35 minute boat ride from the Simons Town Pier to Seal Island, there were pods of 3 to 5 orcas swimming alongside the boat, playing in the wake with the dolphins. And on arrival at Seal Island, the Great White’s came out in pretty decent numbers to play, and proved active and engaging, with no apparent fear of the visiting orcas.
In 2016, we had another pod of Orcas visit our False Bay, and we found, what is believed to be evidence of Orca attacks on Seven Gill Cow Sharks, which as a result, scattered these sharks for well over 3 months!
Then there is video evidence of orca hunting on a Great White Shark, using its superior intelligence and strength to over power and kill the shark! It seems that certain cultures of Orca, have learnt how to make a meal of the previously believed, apex predator of the ocean!
This has led to the belief that there are different cultures within the Orca population; four have been identified to date, and one of them is the Great White Shark hunting and eating “culture”. When I say “eating” I don’t mean teeth, fins and all, but rather just the liver of the shark.
So it looks like both side of the coin hold truth, and it just depends on which of the Orca cultures come to visit at any given time. This also gives new meaning to the Apex Predator of the oceans, as an Orca, with its incredible strength and intelligence, is without a doubt a force to be reckoned with and a formidable foe, should he be one!
Join us in False Bay, for one of our amazing combination breaching, viewing and cage dive adventures, and may be you too will be blessed with the glorious sight of Orcas visiting our bay.
Till’ we meet again, keep that toothy grin!
By Nadine Bentley