Brownies support whales and dolphins

16 February 2020

Record Breaking Riptide The Orca Swims From Iceland To Lebanon

‘Riptide’ the orca, was spotted in waters around Beirut, Lebanon, two days in a row on February 19th and 20th. To get there, we think he has completed a record-breaking journey from Iceland, via Italy!

Riptide belongs to an Icelandic pod of orcas who have been travelling surprisingly long distances over the past year. Riptide’s journey began off the coast of West Iceland (Snæfellsnes peninsula), where he was photographed in June 2018. He was then spotted with his pod in December 2019 off the Italian coast close to Genoa, before moving further into the Mediterranean sea off the coast of Lebanon.

Orca Guardians, a group dedicated to the protection of orcas in Iceland, report that there are 29 known orcas that migrate between Scotland and Iceland, but this is the first time in recorded history that an orca has travelled this particular route – Iceland to Italy to Lebanon. In fact, this journey of just over 8,000km (4,970 miles) is the longest known one-way distance travelled by any orca to-date.

Whilst this marathon swim is remarkable and exhibits fascinating orca behaviour, it is unusual to see orcas in Mediterranean waters and there are some concerns about Riptide’s health.  He appears to have lost weight and is travelling without his pod, which had been with him on his journey at lest as far as Italy.

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