CNH Tours - Cultural and Natural Heritage Tours Galapagos
Thursday November 18, 2021
Snorkeling with Orcas - the Video
Orcas, with their contrasting black and white markings, are the most easily identifiable whale in the ocean. The male's dorsal fin is very tall - giving them away quite easily even from a distance. Orcas have captured the imagination for seafarers for many years. They play a big role in the iconography of West coast First Nations people in Canada and the USA.
Orcas are common in Galapagos. While there are never any guarantees of spotting them on a typical 8 day cruise, the odds are not too bad that you'll run across some. Occasionally, you'll even get a close up view, as your ship's course intersects that of orcas on the move. While dolphins in Galapagos will regularly change course to intercept a ship so that they may ride the bow wave, orcas don't usually go out of their way that much.
On rarer occasions, a ship may come upon a group of feeding orcas. While feeding the orcas are not traveling, and it's easier to approach them. On some occasions though, orcas will "tag along" and follow a ship, or zodiacs on the move.
Last week, guests aboard the Samba had the not very common opportunity to actually snorkel with orcas. In this 2 minute video, taken from (and below) the zodiacs of the Samba (by Rahel Linder), we see a pair of orcas swimming right by the zodiacs. The naturalist guide (Juan Salcedo) tells guests what to expect in the water, and then we're taken for a snorkel for a a minute. You can hear the nervous exclamations of guests as they get ready to go into the water.
See the video by clicking here
An internet search does not come up with any real credible incidents of wild orcas attacking humans. There has been a documented incident of an orca taking a surfer into its mouth in California, then spitting him out.
So, if the opportunity arises while you're in the islands, and if your naturalist guide gives the OK, don't hesitate to get out there and swim with the orcas!
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