Nature never ceases to amaze us with its captivating and sometimes brutal encounters. On the 18th of June 2023, an extraordinary event unfolded in Mossel Bay, South Africa. Orcas, named Port and Starboard, showcased their remarkable yet brutal hunting skills by preying on great white sharks. This unusual occurrence sent shockwaves through the marine research community as they watched in disbelief.
12:46 - The First Sighting: The day began with an exciting discovery as a dive client, JJ van Ginkel, spotted the Orca "Port," in front of the Tergniet, Reebok area near Grootbrak. Moving towards Klein Brak, this sighting raised anticipation for further encounters with these magnificent creatures.
1:00 - Around the same time, Oceans research interns also reported observing blows from Diaz beach, indicating the presence of orcas heading towards Seal Island. This convergence heightened the sense of anticipation as researchers prepared for potential interactions between the Orcas and other marine life.
2:20 - The GoDive Mossel Bay Team embarked on their vessel, Wildcat, towards Seal Island. Elton Polly, the owner of GoDive Mossel Bay, suspected a predation event but could not confirm the target of the orcas' hunt. However, the presence of oil slicks and commotion just north of Seal Island, accompanied by a fur seal nearby, hinted at the unfolding drama.
2:40 - Port and Starboard, the two orcas, altered their course, moving closer to Diaz Beach. Port started veering into the bay towards the harbour, while Starboard remained along Diaz Beach. However, they soon changed direction and began moving back towards Seal Island, keeping researchers on their toes.
3:02 - The intensity of the situation escalated when Starboard was caught on camera conducting a predation event on a white shark, directly between Seal Island and the beach. Port was last seen on the other side of the island, possibly involved in another hunt. Soon after the predation event, Starboard emerged near the research vessel, First Strike, with what appeared to be a significant catch in its mouth, indicating the success of their hunt.
Final Sighting: Following the predation event, both Orcas were observed heading north of the island towards Hartenbos, marking the last known sighting of these impressive predators. Their departure left the researchers in awe and eager to study the behaviour and ecological impact of such encounters on the local marine ecosystem.