It took “only” 8 days to get from Azores to Portugal. Reaching Europe was a dream come true, with the breathtaking ocean views and the wind in the sails creating an unforgettable experience.
However, my excitement was tempered by reports of Orcas attacking sailboats and destroying their rudders. The thought of being stranded in the middle of the ocean without a rudder was terrifying, especially with commercial shipping traffic all around us.
In the past year, these attacks have become increasingly frequent, with over 50 reported incidents in just a few weeks. Even more concerning, these attacks have spread to the Mediterranean Sea, making it more important than ever to be cautious.
As we sailed towards Portugal, my mind raced with thoughts of what could happen if we encountered one of these creatures. I had seen videos on YouTube of Orcas spinning boats 360 degrees and destroying their rudder, leaving the crew stranded and helpless:
It was a scary thought, and I couldn't shake it from my mind.
Luckily for us, we didn't encounter any Orcas during our journey. But some of our friends who sailed the same route a few weeks later weren't as lucky. Their rudder was destroyed, and they were left stranded in the middle of the ocean.
Scientists are still baffled by this unusual behavior, and they have yet to come up with a solution. The safety protocol they recommend involves dropping all sails, shutting off the autopilot and engine, and praying. But so far, no one has successfully used this protocol. Some sailors have reported that dropping the sails and motoring on reverse on a downwind course has made the Orcas go away.
As I reflect on my journey, I can't help but feel a sense of unease. The thought of encountering an Orca and having our rudder destroyed is still fresh in my mind. Crossing the Gibraltar Strait again is a daunting prospect, but I know that with caution and vigilance, we can make it through safely.