A woman was paddleboarding near Deception Pass, near Oak Harbor, Washington, when something incredible happened – a pod of orcas emerged from the waters around her.
Jenny Willkie Bull, who captured the moment on video, was out with a friend when the majestic creatures surprised them on Wednesday.
Bull shared her “epic” experience on Facebook and wrote that the orcas were chasing a seal.
“We probably should have been (scared), but it just didn't process or really even hit us what happened until we got back to shore,” she wrote. “It was really cool.”
Two groups of orcas frequent northwest waters: transients and residents. Transient, mammal-eating orcas became familiar with northwest waters in record numbers last year.
Scientists and whale watchers reported that a boom in the pinniped population -- seals and sea lions -- last year meant a set table for the orcas.
Pacific Whale Watching Association reported the orcas, also called Bigg's killer whale T60D, are all business at mealtime, coming onto the scene swiftly, in small groups and without a sound.
About 320 individually identified transient killer whales swim along the West Coast of North America.
Resident orcas’ diets mostly consist entirely of chinook salmon—a food source that’s population has been cut in half since the 1980s. As of last year, there were only 79 resident orcas left.
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