By Luke Kenton
This is the terrifying moment two small boats are surrounded by a huge pod of killer whales as they hunt for prey.
Just off the coast of Bowyer Island, Vancouver, Canada, Manon Buttaud suddenly finds herself in deep water during a spontaneous boat trip on April 11.
Surrounded by black fins in every direction, Manon and another sailor inadvertently find themselves caught in the middle of a group of hungry orcas on the hunt for their next meal.
Thrashing around the foot of the boat opposite, the man aboard clings on for dear life fearful of being caught up in the frenzy.
Manon, who only moved to Vancouver from France a few weeks ago, said: “We felt privileged to see such a spectacle, it was amazing to see them so close.
“There were about six of them in total, including two baby orcas.
“Though the longer they swam around us the more agitated they became, which paralysed me with fear at times.
“They started to get very close and were almost jumping out at times.”
The attention of the massive mammals soon turned to Manon’s boat, where two of the larger orcas swam right up to its side, with one even splashing down next to the vessel, causing gasps among those aboard.
Luckily though, the killer whales had no interest Manon and co. as they were trying to capture an invasive sea lion who had been teasing the beasts by swimming between the two boats.
Manon said: “The family of orcas had been chasing this sea lion for some time.
“He was using both boats as a shield, managing to stay away from them for over an hour.
“The sea lion stayed attached to the boat the whole back to shore, luckily escaping.
“In hindsight, I feel so lucky to have witnessed these incredible creatures hunting in their natural habitat instead of in a cage, it was truly unforgettable.”