Luke Reilly was paddling around Kuaotunu, New Zealand when a curious orca whale suddenly spotted him. Awe or fear, how would you have reacted?
Luke Reilly began his day with the intention of paddling around the cliffs of Kuaotunu in New Zealand. Armed with his Go-Pro, he was intending to film the contrast of the rugged, rocky landscape against the ostensibly flat water. Instead, he caught the surreal moment that an orca whale appeared out of the depths and surfaced inches from the piece of foam he stood on. Intrigued by the board and what originally appeared to be a potential meal, the whale skirted first underwater before surfacing and rising from behind. When it understood that there was nothing interesting to eat, it disappeared into the open ocean again leaving behind nothing but unforgettable footage and a stunned paddler.
Luke Reilly later indicated to the local media that he was a bit worried, especially regarding the animal’s intention towards him. After all, the orca is renowned for its intelligence and formidable killing skills, catching everything from sea lions to whales to stingrays.
Sabrina is a 2nd year at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, USA majoring in Biology and Foreign Affairs. She has volunteered for La Dolphin Connection for more than a year, spending most of her time translating articles from French to English and writing originals in English. Additionally, she was the co-founder and co-president of the Protect Our Dolphins (POD) club at her high school, working to donate money to the Oceanic Preservation Society.