Thats Flipper, not Jaws! Notice the horizontal tail and curved dorsal fin, this is a friendly!!!
A bull sea lion scared me more out in the water than killer whales or the threat of sharks. Didn't know whether the sea lion was mad because he thought I was another bull or amorous because he thought I was a cow sea lion. Both are very very bad!
I had a killer whale make a run at me while surfing south jett at Winchester Bay. It stopped about 10 feet away when it realized I wasn't a seal. When I first saw it coming and realized it had the intent of eating me the vision from PBS of whales flopping up onto the sand, clamping down on a seal and rolling back into the ocean flashed into my mind followed a split second later by the realization that there was nothing I could do but sit there. Thats what I did, just sat there and let the whale decide. He chose wisely and left me sitting there with a huge grin on my face. Oh, and unsteady shaking hands too!
I used to ride with dolpins and seals when I lived in souther california. It is actually pretty neat. It will give you quite the scare though, when the just "pop" up next to you. :shocked: :wink: :grin:
Many surfers, especially those from other areas of the country, would wonder why the heck we would fish B10 when its rough or chase a summer steelhead downriver at a full run in waders. Those activities seem like a good way to drown or break a leg. The addiction to surfing is just as strong as the addiction to fishing. Think of all the stupid, and dangerous, things we have done in pursuit of a fish even when the dangers were known beforehand.
As a surfer I can tell you if the waves are good enough it is difficult to resist going out. Its all a matter of odds - If I'm alone in the water and a shark attack occurs chances are 1/1 it is me. Add a buddy and those odds drop to 1/2. Add 3 buddies and those odds drop to 1/4. Then theres other odds like: you are more likely to be struck by lightning standing on the beach in Oregon than to be attacked by a shark AND 95% of all shark attacks are not fatal AND chicks dig shark attack scars. LOL The last one is probably not true, they see the scars and think "Idiot!"
If I had to guess, I'd say it was a false killer whale. Shape of dorsal, color and size are indicative of one in my opinion. Could also be a porpoise too. Still, I would scare the beegeebees
out of me if I took a quick glance.
Spent some time windsurfing Cape Hatteras No. Carolina. Obviously, sailboards don't look much like shark food but a local pilot told me he often sees sharks, sometimes large and plentiful, circling beneath paddling surfers. No thanks. :shocked:
The following is a true story I wrote for a column I used to have in a local paper up here.
Make of it what you will.
Owen Atkey, a very experienced surfer, was sitting on his board 100 yards offshore, waiting for a good set of waves to arrive. The reef, called First Peak Sombrio by surfers, was grooming the swell into perfect six to eight foot peaks. He was surfing it alone, picking only the best waves, having a great session. At the same time, a half mile to the east, a large male killer whale was swimming westward, surfacing to breathe every few minutes and looking for something to eat.
The Orca was a transient, the type that feeds on marine mammals, seals and the like. Owen spotted the tall dorsal fin when the whale was a quarter mile away. Even knowing there has never been an authenticated attack on a human by a wild Orca, he noticed his heartbeat increasing. Nervously he paddled in a bit. The whale kept a steady course, heading towards Owen.
"By the time I realized he was coming in towards me it was too late to make the beach," he told me, barely an hour later. "When he got close enough we had direct eye contact, and it wasn't friendly," he continued. "He circled the reef then swam into the deeper water of the bay, cutting off my route to the beach."
The whale accelerated towards Owen, water streaming from its dorsal fin. From a distance of 30 feet it pounced, heaving its bulk into the air and hanging momentarily against the sky. With mouth open it turned downward, towards its intended meal.
"You know that old saying about your life flashes before your eyes?" Owen asked. "Well, it's true."
Instinctively Owen rolled from his board and thrust it towards the whale, all the while thinking of his parents, his brother, his girlfriend and the life he knew was now over. He knew he was going to die, yet felt no fear, just anger. If the whale was going to get him it would have to eat his surfboard first, he thought.
In midair the whale rotated and arched to the left, as it realized its mistake. Owen thought the pectoral fin would hit him hard, but it barely brushed the board. Turbulence from the thrusting flukes spun him around and tore the board from his grasp. The whale leapt once more, going away, then disappeared.
"It's funny," Owen continued, "I cannot remember paddling to the beach. When I got there I couldn't stand up and literally crawled ashore. I dinged my board on the rocks, too."
Owen was in my living room when he related this story, drinking a large tumbler of Jack Daniels. He had calmed down considerably from when he first arrived. I had never seen him so excited during the six years we had been friends, and now I knew why.
"Did anyone see this happen?" I asked, not distrusting his story ..... but still.
"Yeah," he answered. "There was this guy from Quebec there and he saw the whole thing."
Owen took another swallow and continued.
"I don't know where Sombrio Steve was but there was nobody else around except this hippy French-Canadian guy. He was interested when I showed up with my board and watched me surf. The damndest thing happened when I crawled up the beach though. He came running over, flipped through the pages of a book he had, pointed at a picture, then said two words."
" What did he say?" I asked.
"He said: Tabernac.....Orca." Owen answered.
At that he burst into uncontrollable laughter, a well-known stress relieving reaction. I couldn't help myself and joined in. Tears rolled down his face before he regained control.
"I guess he was stoked to see such an event," I said.
"He seemed excited," Owen replied. "He couldn't speak much English though so he mostly just kept pointing at the book and saying Orca, Orca."
Owen left for home shortly thereafter and I contemplated his story. It could have happened I realized. After all, there had been two other incidents of Orcas swimming in towards surfers at Sombrio that I knew of, although nothing quite as dramatic as this.
Two days later I was in the Jordan River Hotel when a scraggly hippy type walked in. He reeked of woodsmoke, a sure sign he had been living on the beach. I approached him.
"Sombrio?" I asked.
"Yes, Sombrio," he replied.
I pantomimed a surfer and asked if he had seen my friend surfing a couple of days before. He nodded his head.
"I see surfer and big Orca jump on him," he added.
He tried to explain more but I thanked him and left.
I realize most people believe Orcas to be wonderful and intelligent creatures. They are all of that for sure, but they are also capable of making a mistake, recognizing it and making an instant correction.
You can ask my friend Owen about that..
I had a similar encounter with porpoises while boogie boarding in so cal... instead of one, there were two and I was a freakin but my cousin said they were just porpoises so we kept at it. They were playing in the waves just like we were.
It was cool but scarry.