Those Orcas Aren't Chasing That Boat To Attack — They're Playing
A group of boaters in the Pacific shows a pod of orcas jumping in the wake of a speedboat, coming just feet from the boat's stern and amazing the passenger's on the boat.
It's a truly astonishing experience -- the video circulated last year, but others have been cropping up recently, too. Earlier this week, a couple boating in Florida filmed a pod of dolphins trailing in their wake:
An underwater camera caught this amazing footage of whales and dolphins following a boat last year:
And another group filmed a pod of orcas in 2008:
So what's really going on here? Do the whales think this is a really big, tasty seal? Or are they just playing in the surf? We talked to marine mammal scientist Naomi Rose of the Animal Welfare Institute to get to the bottom of this bewildering behavior.
"This is a common behavior in certain places -- the whales I studied in British Columbia, Canada did this," Rose said. "It's called wake-riding and they are doing it for fun. They are literally surfing -- they can go very fast with very little effort when riding in the wake of a boat like this."
She also noted that usually dolphins ride at the bow of a boat, while orcas ride in the wake because they are too big to ride by the bow. This stunning GoPro footage taken last year in Florida can attest to that: