Killer Whale clears Uluwatu lineup… again
Story by Lucas Townsend | Photos by John Barton What would you do to have the Uluwatu line-up to yourself? Share it with a killer whale? Saturday was your chance! It was 9am and Impossibles was good, double overhead and the late-season crowds were typically thin, roughly 10 gents out. An hour before the commute to […]
Story by Lucas Townsend | Photos by John Barton
What would you do to have the Uluwatu line-up to yourself? Share it with a killer whale? Saturday was your chance!
It was 9am and Impossibles was good, double overhead and the late-season crowds were typically thin, roughly 10 gents out. An hour before the commute to Denpasar airport, which can break a sane man, photographer John Barton did the rounds of the Bukit Peninsula as a swell filled in. He’d been staying on top of the hill at Bingin for five days with his gal and was about to head back to the Mentawais where he doubles as a surf guide – what a life – when he spotted something.
“We had an hour to kill and I pulled up to Uluwatu on my scooter and there was five guys in the lineup down near Racetracks. Within a minute of being there, I hadn’t even taken a shot yet and my girl pointed out, ‘shit, shit, there’s a whale in the lineup.’ I got my camera on it as soon as it breached again and saw the huge fin.”
Oh, Padang. An orca is just so far from the things you associate with a place like this.
John stood on the Single Fin bar balcony, looked out towards Racetracks and watched the solo orca follow the line of the reef headed towards the top of the Peninsula. Locals who filled the cliff face began yelling and whistling (even bursting into laughter), trying to get the attention of the fresh fibreglass bait.
Coming in from Ulus is always a very calculated move, especially if there’s a high-tide and six feet of swell. You paddle further up towards Temples and pick a wave that’ll chip-shot you into the narrow cave. Miss it and, well… you just don’t.
But we’ve all seen what happened to those damn cute seals. There’s no second chances with an orca, should they decide you look enough like something they’d chew, and knowing this, the surfers weighed up a few reef cuts as opposed to a missing fucking leg and went straight in over the reef.
“It was too close for comfort I reckon,” said John. “People say they’re not very dangerous but I wouldn’t have liked to have been in the water as close as those guys were. They freaked out and went straight in over the reef. I didn’t see them come up because they disappeared beneath the cliff line and considering the size of the swell, it’s definitely not where you want to be coming in.”
But there’s always one, isn’t there. One man who eats cement for breakfast and decides, instead, to laugh in the face of a whale with four-inch teeth; carnivores that eat marine mammals like seals and sea lions and other whales. And if humans are mammals too, ones flavoured with the salts of the ocean couldn’t be too much of a foreign cuisine, could they?
It’s the second bizarre sighting of orcas on the Bukit. Earlier this month Indo Surf Life reported local fisherman had never seen the creatures in those waters before. Their reasoning, albeit vague, was the orca were attracted by the local squid fisherman, squid being their caviar.
This ain’t the first time surfers have been ejected from the lineup by bouncers aka orcas:
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