Sunday, 11 April 2010

Orca (Killer Whale) seen off Criccieth?

It was a gorgeous day yesterday (Saturday 10th April) and my wife and I took a spin up to North Wales. I was sitting on the sea-front just below Criccieth castle scanning Tremadog Bay through my scope in the hope of seeing porpoise or dolphins. The sea was mirror calm and there were lots of auks scattered around a wide area. I wasn't surprised that I didn't see any cetaceans as there were some jet-skiers around. My wife was sitting beside me reading the North Wales edition of the 'Daily Post' and she said have you seen this? To my surprise she showed me an article regarding a possible Orca (Killer Whale) which had been seen very close inshore at Criccieth and it showed a rather poor quality image of the animal which had been taken by 18 year old Jenny Donelan who was on the beach with her mother Carys Roberts. It didn't say when the image was taken but I presume in the days previous. Looking at the photo it does look remarkably like an Orca with the white under the chin and a blunt 'beak'. There also seems to be a dorsal fin which from the angle looks quite tall which may indicate an adult male. This 'animal' seems to be tossing something in the air which is assumed to be a species of fish. The paper must have contacted the 'Sea-Watch' foundation for comment and Gemma Veneruso of that organisation has examined the photo but could not conclusively say whether it was an Orca or not and studying the image I think she was right in saying that. However if you take a look at the image which you can see on the link below I pose some interesting questions for you to ponder over. If this image is of an Orca (and I'm not doubting that its authentic and taken at the given location!) and if I'm correct in my assumption that its an adult male due to what appears to be a tall erect fin then compare the lenght of the so called fish to the fin in order to get a size comparison. If an adult Orca fin is say 1.8 metres then I would say the 'fish' is as long as that. So is it a fish? Could it indeed be a seal or a porpoise? I don't know readers please take a look at the article and the photo and come to your own conclusions on what you see.