A LOCAL sailor said he felt “caught in a horror movie” when a group of 30 orcs repeatedly attacked the yacht he was teaming on.
Nathan Jones, 27, of New Milton, said the 25-foot-long mammals, which can weigh five tons each, attacked the luxury ship for more than two hours.
âAt one point everything calmed down and I thought they were finally gone,â Nathan said. âThen I looked out to sea and spotted them about two miles away coming back. It was scary, kind of like that moment in Jaws when the shark returns.
Nathan had left Ramsgate with two other crew members to deliver the yacht to its owner in Lefkas, Greece, when the incident occurred near the Strait of Gibraltar.
He said that when his teammate Martin Evans told him that there had been reports of a pod of killer whales playing with boats in the area, he replied, “I think you’ve watched too many movies from the area. ‘horror, mate. “
Nathan, who grew up on the Isle of Wight, was asleep when the yacht’s skipper came to say he was being ‘attacked’ by whales.
He said: âWhen I arrived and saw all these awesome creatures around the yacht, I felt like I was caught in a horror movie.
âWhen you hear the sound of a whale vent right next to you, it’s really strange. “
âWe tried to get away from them very slowly at first, but they kept coming. We had the autopilot on, but it went off because the whales were biting or hitting the rudder.
âThe Coast Guard’s advice in our situation is to turn off the engine and the echosounder and lower the sails.
âThen we had to sit down. “
The crew couldn’t steer anywhere as the orcs’ movements near the rudder meant that no one could grab onto the wheel while it was whipped.
Nathan said: âWe were struggling from side to side. We had the life raft ready, as the lack of sails meant the yacht had lost its stability and could begin to take on water.
“Then he could have sunk. There were a few times when I thought we had it.
When the whales seemed to calm down, the crew pulled up the sails to “try to get away”.
When they had reached two miles from the nacelle, they turned on the engine and “limped into Gibraltar” where it was discovered that a large piece of the rudder was missing.
Nathan returned to England two days later, but is now in Greece aboard another yacht.
A former mechanic, he hopes to be able to pass his yachtmaster exam at the end of the year.
He said: âYou must have traveled 2,500 nautical miles before you can take the exam. If we had arrived in Lefkas, I would have managed 2,600.
âWhat happened did not deter me from sailing at all. It made me even more determined to pass the exam.
âIt also made me want to do whatever I can to support whale conservation. They are absolutely magnificent and magnificent creatures.
âIt’s their ocean, not ours. We humans don’t have it. I want to make people aware of what is happening to them.
âI have seen enough of the fishing industry to know that traditional whale hunting and feeding grounds are being destroyed.
âThis is probably what determines the behavior of pods like the one we have encountered.
âDespite how scary it was, I also feel really privileged to have been able to see these incredible whales so close up. It was truly an amazing experience. “