Dozens of sea lions seeking to escape a pack of hunting killer whales in southern Chile on Saturday (local time) surprised a fishing boat by trying to board it en masse.
Fisherman Antonio Zapata told Reuters even though hunts by orcas are relatively common where he and his crew operate, he had never before in his four decades at sea experienced anything similar.
While sympathetic to the plight of the sea lions, whose predators circled metres away, thrashing their tails before moving in to grab at their prey, Mr Zapata said his boat was already low in the water with a full haul of sardines.
Mobile phone footage shows the water around the boat jammed with thrashing sea lions.
Although the 10-man crew can be heard joking about their predicament, Mr Zapata said they were genuinely concerned the boat would be damaged or they could end up in the water too.
They tried to approach a nearby island in the hope the sea lions could take refuge there instead, but the whales blocked them from nearing the shore.
The boat crept towards Talcahuano port, near the city of Concepcion in Bio Bio province.
The whales drifted away, leaving the surviving sea lions to swim for cover.
Man swallowed alive by humpback whale
Meanwhile, a diver says he’s lucky to be alive after he was swallowed and spat out by a humpback whale.
Michael Packard, from Wellfleet in the US state of Massachusetts, wrote on Facebook he was lobster diving on Friday before he found himself inside the mouth of a whale.
“I was in his closed mouth for about 30 to 40 seconds before he rose to the surface and spit me out. I am very bruised up but have no broken bones,” the 56-year-old wrote.
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