Even if the orcas are escaping aggression, self-beaching is highly abnormal, particularly for a wild orca like Morgan. While a couple populations will occasionally beach themselves temporarily while hunting, wild orcas are constantly in motion, and even swim while sleeping.
There are also health dangers associated with beaching - including overheating, blood pooling and and "other physiological issues," according to Visser.
Orcas also dive hundreds of feet in the wild, meaning captive orcas - whose tanks are no more than a few dozen feet deep - are at an increased risk of sunburn. SeaWorld's orcas have already been spotted with sunburn, and lying out of the water in full sun could increase this risk.