A lost orca ecotype found alive and well
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My first close encounter with an orca took place in May 1991. I was a student at the Leigh marine lab when I heard that orca had been sighted in the bay. Grabbing my snorkelling gear, I sprinted down to the beach and dived in. Nearby, the tall fin of an adult male was projecting from the surface, but under the murky water I couldn’t see him. I dived deeper, hoping to glimpse him, but moments later, as I headed up for a breath, there was a large female orca between me and the surface, lying on her side and looking down at me. We surfaced for air together, then I dived back down while she circled me before heading off. A few minutes later she was back, this time with a calf. They swam past me, then the calf started circling me rapidly, while I span round and round trying to hold eye contact. It was a game played under Mum’s watchful eye, and lasted until dizziness forced me to stop. Alas, the magic was broken. The female swam up and both creatures moved sedately out of the bay.
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