This man and an orca sure know how to have a whale of a time together.
New Zealander Nathan Pettigrew and a wild orca named Pickle have been gliding across the crystal clear waters of Welcome Bay in Tauranga for years. Pettigrew first spotted Pickle in 2010 and was able to recognize him from then on due to his unique dorsal fin, which seems to be missing its upper half.
“More than likely, at a very young age, Pickle had his dorsal fin bitten off by a shark, or possibly another orca,” Pettigrew wrote on his YouTube channel, The Kayaking World of Nathan Pettigrew. “But it doesn't seem to bother him in the slightest.”
The blackfish that Pettigrew described as "young, energetic, inquisitive and innocent" seems to be able to spot his human pal as well, who always wears the same outfit, a red hat and a red shirt, whenever he kayaks just in case Pickle is around.
In Pettigrew’s latest video featuring Pickle, which he posted to YouTube last September, the two get incredibly close:
Though it appears that Pettigrew may have touched Pickle in the video, the avid kayaker claimed that he never touched the killer whale.
“I try to keep some distance but it can be difficult in a kayak, especially if an orca like the one in this video wants to come and say 'hello,’” he wrote. “One advantage I do have, should they come nearby, is that I don’t have a propeller that could possibly injure the animal.” Pettigrew’s cautiousness seems to reflect his passion for protecting the ocean and the wild marine life that inhabits it.
“It is so incredibly important that we keep their home clean, so that young orcas, like Pickle can grow to be healthy, strong and one day have a family of their own. Just like us.”
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