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.
“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,” Hauser told Cater News. 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.
“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,” he told the news agency.
The whales, Caters News explains, are known to play with their prey. They tend to target smaller animals, and on this particular occasion, an unlucky stingray.
Although Hauser says the orcas “played” with the stingray for a solid hour, the video below is edited from that encounter. In the clip, the stingray appears to have survived the slap and continues to swim, albeit a little more slowly.