Photographer spots pod of orcas off the coast of Shetland

‘I had been hoping to see the Orca for about nine years in Shetland, but never got lucky until that day. It was one of the best wildlife spectacles I’d witnessed and I’ve seen a few things now.’

This is the moment a photographer's nine-year long dream of capturing the elusive Orca whale on camera finally came true.

Norman Watson, 48, spotted the pod of Orca while on a mackerel fishing trip with his son.

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He decided to make the visit to Shetland, where his son Sebastian lives, after six-months of social isolation when he heard an Orca had been spotted near Meal Beach.

Norman Watson, 48, spotted the pod of Orca while on a mackerel fishing trip with his son.

Norman, a draughtsman and amateur photographer, from Aberdeen, said: “I was visiting my son Sebastian after the lockdown was eased. It had been six months since I saw him last!

“I heard that Orca had been spotted heading north on the west side of Shetland so took my chances and headed there as it’s close to where my son lives.

"One of his friend's fathers, Andrew Brown, had arranged to take us out on his boat to do some mackerel fishing and the Orca were passing at just the right time.

"They were hunting seals, which was apparent when we came across them. They were trying to scare the seals off the rocks.

“I had been hoping to see the Orca for about nine years in Shetland, but never got lucky until that day. It was one of the best wildlife spectacles I’d witnessed and I’ve seen a few things now.

“Orca are one of the oceans largest predators and are so intelligent. There are records of them hunting great white sharks, so they are true apex predators.

"Also no humans have been killed by wild whales, where in captivity, it’s happened on a few occasions. Top mammal.”

Shetland and Orkney are usually popular spots in the UK for whale watching.

Pods of up to 150 orca whales are usually spotted from the Orkney Isles several times every year.

To increase your chances of a sighting, the best time to visit is between May and September, although the whales are present all year round.

Further north, you may be lucky enough to see killer whales on Shetland between May and August, when they come inshore to hunt seals.

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