I have to admit, when I was a little kid, I thought of orca whales as sweet creatures that did cool tricks at Sea World. However, as I got older, I learned that these creatures are very territorial, and can be VERY aggressive if they feel threatened. Also, no whale belong is a cage like Sea World… these are massive creatures not meant for (and too smart for) captivity. Your dumb whale show be damned…
With that being said, here is a perfect example. According to The New York Times,Florian Rutsch was captaining a catamaran on the Strait of Gibraltar. In an effort to keep large predators away, his crew put together a “Metal for Orcas” playlist, as heavy metal has been known as a way to keep orca whales away.
But, this effort backfired, as attacking orcas went for the boat’s rudder, making it impossible to steer. Luckily, all of the crew members were rescued, and Spanish authorities were able to tow the vessel back to shore.
Andrew Trites, the marine mammal research unit director at the University of British Columbia, told Business Insider:
“Initially, the playing of loud sounds underwater might mask the signature sound of sailboats — but ultimately, the whales would catch on and use it to more easily locate vessels playing it.
The biggest problem with blasting music underwater of any kind is that it is ultimately just adding more noise pollution to the ocean, which can have detrimental effects on other marine life.”
A number of orca attacks on boats in this specific area have occurred since 2020, with at least three boats sinking. There have been no known reports of someone dying in these attacks. I can imagine that this crew won’t be playing heavy metal music to keep the orcas away anytime soon.