Underwater photographer Jorge Hauser was left in awe after capturing the once-in-a-lifetime experience during a dive in the Sea of Cortez, Gulf Of California, USA.
He and his fellow divers were observing a stingray in the waters when orcas appear out of the depths and one approaches the unsuspecting ray only to smash it with its tail before continuing to play with the creature as somewhat of a sport.
In the video, the orca whizzes close to Hauser, before diving back down into the blue shadows.
“I had a feeling something interesting could happen, as the orcas had been playing with the ray for a while, coming and going,” said the 33-year-old. “I’m typically a photographer, but I luckily decided to switch to video and get close to the ray,” he told Cater News.
“At first, the orcas were paying little attention to us – they would briefly come to check us out and then leave, but when they saw the ray, the game changed. It felt like they were trying to show us what they were doing, switching between interacting with the ray and then showing off for us, like they were trying to say, ‘Mom, look at us!’”
The sound of orca whistles echo throughout the video. The veteran diver has visited the spot for several years and says the experience is one he’ll remember forever.
“This interaction and the behavior I witnessed was without a doubt the most incredible underwater experience of my life. I have photographed great white sharks, saltwater crocodiles and even free anacondas, but this experience was without a doubt the most incredible underwater experience of my life.”
These wild whales, known to reach up to 12,000 pounds of mass, are known to play with their prey, usually smaller marine animals such as the stingray. These took their hunting game a step further, circling the stunned ray for the next hour, taunting it. In this encounter, the stingray appears to have survived the slap and continues to swim, albeit a little more slowly.