Pirate FM News

VIDEO: A killer whale swimming in Plymouth Sound?

VIDEO: A killer whale swimming in Plymouth Sound?

Published by Emma Carton at 10:29am 20th June 2018. (Updated at 11:22am 20th June 2018)

Footage seems to show an Orca, commonly known as a killer whale, swimming off Plymouth.

A family filmed the creature earlier this month while they were out kayaking in the Sound.

They sent the video to the National Marine Aquarium, where experts have been busy analysing.

Scroll down to watch the footage and tell us whether you think it could be an Orca.


orca 3


What is an Orca?

The Orca (Orcinus orca) is one of the Toothed Whales called Odontocetes and the largest species of dolphin.

"Orcas, or killer whales, are the largest of the dolphins and one of the world's most powerful predators.

"They feast on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and even whales, employing teeth that can be four inches long.

"They are known to grab seals right off the ice. They also eat fish, squid, and seabirds".

Source: National Geographic

Neil Wright from Plympton said: "It was much larger than anything I had seen on previous trips out around the Sound, probably at least twice the length of the 2-metre-long Grey Seals I have seen.

"The height of the dorsal fin is what really stood out but sadly the encounter was over almost before we have chance to really think about what we might have just witnessed".


orca 1


Eileen, Neil's mother, submitted the footage to the NMA via its enquiries e-mail address where it was picked up by Curator, James Wright.

"Upon first viewing the footage my mind did jump to it possibly being an Orca and what an amazing encounter it would have been to have had. These are amazing marine predators which specialise in many hunting techniques. In theory, they can be found in our waters but one venturing into Plymouth Sound would be quite a surprise.

"Orcas can be found around the British Isles but not in any great numbers, they are normally confined to more northerly areas off the shores of Scotland and the islands of Orkney and Shetland. There has been one record off Plymouth some four years ago, but that was an isolated appearance.

"We did some research and looked at other possible specimens - Bottlenosed Dolphins do come into the Sound and one hung around for quite a while in 2015, but these have very different shaped dorsal fins.

"The particular individual to visit had a very distinctive dorsal fin and was named "Clet" - it was seen in many places around the UK and Ireland.

"Common Dolphins can be sighted further offshore, especially by dive boats heading out to Eddystone Reef, but these are much smaller animals and usually in groups.

"One which could fit is a Risso's Dolphin but at the description of the size it would be a large older individual. As Risso's Dolphins grow and age, they lighten in colour and develop scarring, which this animal did not seem to have.

"We circulated the footage with some knowledgeable experienced Cetacean experts who all leaned towards this being an Orca.

"We cannot be 100% certain without more definitive footage, especially of the characteristic white markings on the black body, but even if this a sighting of a Risso's Dolphin in Plymouth Sound is very special".

Watch the footage and tell us what you think at the link below...

Contact Us

If you would like to submit a query or provide more information on this story please get in touch below.

Please wait...
  • Up to 3 JPG or PNG images, 2MB max size
  • We will always endeavour to credit you when we publish your pictures.
  • By uploading you are agreeing to this non-exclusive reuse, royalty-free, across all Pirate FM platforms, which extends to our partner broadcasters.
  • You retain copyright to all images.
  • If you would like to send us a video, please upload to YouTube or similar and paste the video URL into the message above.
Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Pirate FM

Pirate Extra Pirate 70s Escape LoveCornwall