Boaters in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez were astonished Sunday as an orca leaped 15 feet clear of the surface while attacking a bottlenose dolphin.
The accompanying footage, captured by Miguel Cuevas of Cabo Pulmo Divers, shows the orca launching itself and the dolphin as the orca rammed the smaller mammal during a high-speed vertical charge. (Best viewed with sound.)
The predation event at Cabo Pulmo, a dive spot north of Cabo San Lucas, occurred after several boats had gathered to view an orca pod as it hunted dolphins.
Cabo Pulmo Divers described the great leap as an “amazing moment” on Facebook.
Researchers who had seen the video tried late Sunday to obtain more information about the encounter and to determine whether any males accompanied the pod.
They noted that another Instagram post contains underwater footage – viewers must swipe to the third clip – of the orcas’ dolphin pursuit.
Cuevas told For The Win Outdoors that he counted “at least 10 orcas,” all females, and that the predation event, although it involved just the one kill, lasted several hours.
He estimated the height of the leap to be “four to five meters.”
Eastern Tropical Pacific orcas, or killer whales, prey largely on marine mammals and mobula rays, which are abundant in the gulf. The orcas are known to express curiosity toward boaters and to occasionally surf in vessels’ wakes.
On April 20, farther north in Bahia de los Angeles, several orcas from a pod of 12, including a young calf, swam so closely to a panga that one of its passengers later recalled, “I laughed and cried and was in utter disbelief.”
–Images courtesy of Miguel Cuevas/Cabo Pulmo Divers
Source: Cabo Pulmo Divers