Orcas are highly intelligent and highly savage.
Off the Iberian coast of Europe, pods of killer whales are smashing and sinking boats — 3 down so far — in a crazy string of orchestrated attacks that scientists say were probably started by one angry whale whose actions have since spread to other orcas through learned behavior.
The killer whale boat attacks started in May 2020 and are becoming more and more frequent. There have been a bunch of them outside of just the 3 that ended in sunken boats — like, hundreds.
The experts who follow these things believe it was one crazy warrior orca named White Gladis that kicked off the violence. The killer whale apparently came to a point in its life where it decided that boats were its sworn enemy, and it started ramming them and trying to sink them. Eventually, others joined in. Then, other killer whales started mimicking them.
They think maybe Braveheart Gladis was hit by a boat or something, and it flipped the murder switch in her brain.
Check out these descriptions of the attacks that sunk the boats:
Three orcas ... struck the yacht on the night of May 4 in the Strait of Gibraltar, off the coast of Spain, and pierced the rudder. "There were two smaller and one larger orca," skipper Werner Schaufelberger told the German publication Yacht. "The little ones shook the rudder at the back while the big one repeatedly backed up and rammed the ship with full force from the side."
Schaufelberger said he saw the smaller orcas imitate the larger one. "The two little orcas observed the bigger one's technique and, with a slight run-up, they too slammed into the boat." Spanish coast guards rescued the crew and towed the boat to Barbate, but it sank at the port entrance.
Can you imagine your boat just suddenly getting savagely attacked by a squad of freaking killer whales?
This the craziest thing ever. Here's another:
Two days earlier, a pod of six orcas assailed another sailboat navigating the strait. Greg Blackburn, who was aboard the vessel, looked on as a mother orca appeared to teach her calf how to charge into the rudder. "It was definitely some form of education, teaching going on," Blackburn told 9news.
The killer whales are teaching their offspring how to charge and ram boats and try to sink them!
Reports of aggressive encounters with orcas off the Iberian coast began in May 2020 and are becoming more frequent, according to a study published June 2022 in the journal Marine Mammal Science. Assaults seem to be mainly directed at sailing boats and follow a clear pattern, with orcas approaching from the stern to strike the rudder, then losing interest once they have successfully stopped the boat.
To me, that is just the gnarliest thing ever.
Anyone boating out that way, watch out for roaming gangs of 7,500-lb murder machines!