angry whales

The Environment

Ester Kristine Storkson was asleep on her father’s small yacht earlier this month, sailing off the coast of France, when she was violently awakened.

Scrambling on deck, she spotted several orcas, or killer whales, surrounding them. The steering wheel swung wildly. At one point, the 37-foot sailboat was pushed through 180 degrees, heading it in the opposite direction.

They were “ramming the boat,” Storkson says. “They [hit] us repeatedly … giving us the impression that it was a coordinated attack.”

“I told my dad, ‘I’m not thinking clearly, so you need to think for me,'” the 27-year-old Norwegian medical student says. “Thankfully, he is a very calm and centered person, and made me feel safe by gently talking about the situation.”

After about 15 minutes, the orcas broke off, leaving father and daughter to assess the damage. They stuck a GoPro camera in the water, she says, and could see that “approximately three-quarters of [the rudder] was broken off, and some metal was bent.” Read on.