Killer Whale’s Silent Seal Death

Tourists always want to be at the scene of the kill – it adds to the authentic experience of an African Safari, and when the safari is one out on the ocean amongst Killer Whales then the primal killer instinct is observed at such close range that one can taste the blood and feel the fear as desperate prey seek to elude the hunters.

On Sunday 7 April 2013 local tour boat owner, Rainer Schimpf of Expert Tours, accompanied by Silke Ptaszynski, doing a production for the SA foreign Tourism Ministry in Germany, 2 Swiss and 1 German tourists was searching for Sardine Run activity when they came across a pod of 4 Orcas hunting seals at about 11:00am. All went quiet on the boat as the group of 4 killer whales approached the rubber duck, around 10 nautical miles off Port Elizabeth.

I am sure that some made a quick mental note to see if their affairs were in order as one male, bigger than the duck, critically examined the occupants, sizing them up like a diner in a fine restaurant, before diving under the boat.

Then the sport began as the Orca’s chose their prey – the seals – over the wetsuit clad tourists.

The Orcas targeted a group of seals basking on the surface of the Indian Ocean by breaching and forming circles to confuse the seals. Then the Orcas dove deep, to almost 100 meters deep and powered up to the surface trying to surprise the seals with an attack from below.

Aftre a few hours of this sport the Killer Whales finally killed one of the seals which was dragged down into the deep with only a few morsels of blodd and guts left for the diving Skuas squabling over the leftovers.

Silke Ptaszynski said; “This was the most amazing experience I’ve ever encountered in my life, to see live and with my own eyes how Orcas hunt and kill is thrilling, at one point in time I really thought they would come and snatch us off the boat. But these magestic animals just watched us and proceeded hunting!”

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Alan Straton

Chief Cook, Bottle Washer and Broom Mechanic at MyPE
Passionate about Port Elizabeth and definitely NOT packing for Perth. Alan's ethos is epitomised in the words of Nelson Mandela; "I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society. If need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." See more articles by Alan.