Julian stared into the rough, untamed sea, taking a deep breath when he felt the cold wind on the back of his neck. He watched the dark shadows glistening on the water’s surface, noting that it looked as if they were fighting an intense battle.
When the wind started showing, Julian’s stomach twisted into a tight knot. A massive storm was approaching, but he couldn’t turn back now. It was too late. Taking one last deep breath, he jumped into the ice-cold water.
No Time To Waste
On board, something was preventing their boat from moving. Rain began to fall and a strange sound hummed beneath them.
Suddenly, one of the fishermen spotted a huge mass one meter away from the boat. He shouted at Julian to come back, but it was no use. Julian was already deep down in the water. There was no time to waste.
Julian Dunngio was an experienced diver who worked and lived in Gorontalo, Indonesia. This region is home to whale sharks, spinner dolphins, pilot whales, and many other unique sea creatures. Many of whom are still yet to be classified.
Julian always adored the ocean. It was where he felt most at home, so when a position opened up to work at the boat tours and fishing trips near his town, he applied and never looked back.
Every day, Julian took tourists out on the water and explored marine life with them. Watching wild creatures roam the oceans had a calming effect on him.
Every day was different; one day, he could be leading a diving tour. Another day a boat tour, but on this particular day, he decided to join a fishing expedition, clueless as to how this decision would change his life forever.
On The Water
Julian helped the crew set up their fishing equipment and head out. After about one hour of being on the water, Julian and the rest of the group noticed big dark clouds closing in over the horizon.
He had just checked the weather forecast before joining the trip, and it was supposed to be clear and sunny all day. He shook his head, annoyed at the weather app’s wrong prediction yet again.
Change Of Plans
No one except Julian had brought their rain gear with them, and fishing without it was nearly impossible. The crew decided it was best to go back to the shore and call it a day.
But just as they began to turn the boat around, Julian saw something from the corner of his eye. Suddenly, he heard a loud noise coming from underneath the boat.
Something Was Blocking The Way
Julian walked to the edge of the deck, clasped the rail with his hands, and looked firmly down into the ocean. He wasn’t sure about what he was looking at, but something large was floating just under the boat.
He locked his gaze and saw a strange movement. It was some kind of creature. It was barely moving, but it was large and strong enough to slow down their boat. Julian’s heart began to pound.
The rain started to cease, and just like that, Julian made up his mind. He walked towards the equipment room and took out his wetsuit. The thrill of a new aquatic discovery coursed through him.
As Julian prepared to jump in and find out what kind of creature he had crossed paths with this time, others tried to stop him. But Julian’s curiosity got the best of him, just like that curious cat we’d all heard about.
As soon as Julian jumped in the water, one of the fishermen spotted a fin right next to the boat. His shouts came from the pit of his stomach as he ordered Julian to come back but he couldn’t hear him.
Julian was already underwater and diving further into the jaws of this ominous ocean mystery. Julian did his best to settle his nerves as he swam closer and closer to the dark mass. Suddenly, he gasped.
20-ft Long Orca
In front of him was a 20-feet long adult orca. Julien had never been so close to one before – he knew better than to mess with these killer whales. The news stories from Sea World ran through his thoughts, freezing his entire body.
These creatures were smart, very smart and also extremely dangerous if felt threatened. Then Julien saw its dorsal fin.
Something was very wrong. Julian saw dents and unusual shapes etched into the whale’s skin. Julian decided to get a closer look at it.
Now he knew that he wasn’t the only one in danger, this orca was too and the closer he got the more his body screamed at him to turn away.
The Orca Was Stuck
The orca was wrapped around in fishing lines from the boat and could barely move. It was visible the mammal was under a lot of stress. Julian couldn’t stop himself from wanting to rescue it.
Without thinking, he grabbed one of the fishing lines and tried to remove it from the orca. The orca didn’t like that one bit and snapped its jaw threateningly, almost catching Julian’s hand. He tried to move away, but it was too late.
The orca began violently thrashing side to side in an attempt to ward Julian off. Julian moved back only to realize that the boat on the surface was thrashing violently too.
He swam up to the surface to hear everyone shouting his name. They were relieved to see him alive, but now everyone was in immense danger.
Running Out Of Time
The rain had started again, and this time it was back with a vengeance. The waves were growing bigger and bigger. Worst of all, the boat was at risk of flipping over.
They needed to head back to shore – now. Their boat wasn’t big enough or strong enough to withstand the stormy seas. They were running out of time.
Julian knew he couldn’t free the orca on his own, so he called a few other men to help him. Everyone looked at him like he was crazy, then three men from behind the crowd put their hands up. “We’ll help”, one said. “I’ve always wanted to have a close encounter with a killer whale”, another said.
Julian yelled at them to bring knives, but they had no idea what they were in for.
The only way to get them all out of danger and the boat away from the impending storm was to band together and unwrap the fishing lines from the stressed out orca.
By the time the four men approached the orca, Julian could tell that it was exhausted. All its trashing had drained the whale of any of its aggressive energy. It was now or never.
Terrifying Yet Majestic
The men swam cautiously over to the mammal. Julian kept watch on its eyes, it was looking directly at him with an expression that was equally as terrifying as it was majestic.
The men started working together, removing each fishing line one by one. The orca began blowing water in an attempt to scare them away. The sudden water waves made it hard for them to see anything. One wrong move, and it would be over. Then, the unthinkable happened.
This was the first time in Julian’s life when he felt absolutely helpless. He knew a lot about orcas, and when they are stressed, they are capable of anything. The clock was ticking, and he knew the weather was getting worse above the surface.
He needed to find a way to calm the orca down for good so he reached out his hand once more. This time, something unbelievable happened.
Desire To Comfort
As Julian gazed into the eyes of this gigantic beast, he felt an overwhelming urge come over him. He wanted to somehow tell the beast that he wasn’t going to hurt him and that he was going to be okay.
Through the bubbles, Julian reachout out his hand and petted the side of its body while keeping locked eyes with the creature. Suddenly, the bubbles stopped.
Julian started petting the orca’s fin and speaking calmly to it. He didn’t know what else he could do at the moment and didn’t expect it to react. Then, to everyone’s big surprise, the orca became completely still.
It’s eyes softened, it’s sharp open stare began to relax and its eyes blinked. Julian couldn’t believe what he was seeing. It was an obvious sign that his touch made the beast relax. Or so he thought.
Julian kept petting the orca while the rest of the men continued removing the fishing lines from its body. It took about 5 minutes for all of the lines to be removed.
Two of the men quickly scrambled towards the boat. Julian and the other man were left to see its body completely free. Slowly, they moved away from the orca, cautiously moving towards the boat. But the orca wasn’t done with them yet.
As Julian slowly glided away, he noticed that the orca still didn’t move an inch.
The orca was now free to go, but it wasn’t moving at all. Julian felt torn. He and his team needed to get out there asap but he wanted to rescue this orca and see it swim back into the depths freely. Something didn’t feel right.
On the one hand, Julian and the crew needed to get back to the shore to escape the storm that was getting stronger and stronger overhead, but on the other hand, he desperately wanted to help the orca.
He had worked so hard to get it free and now felt a strange connection to the animal. He couldn’t turn back now.
Julian boarded the board hesitantly. Now that the orca wasn’t preventing the boat from moving, the crew were desperate to go back to shore. Knowing the pressure he was under, Julian decided to try one more thing.
He grabbed a massive stick from the back of the fishing boat and pushed the orca with it. What happened next left him speechless.
Julian was afraid that something had happened to the orca in the process, and it could no longer move. But, after he gently pushed the animal with the stick, he saw its tail slowly moving, and soon the orca was moving its entire body.
Julian felt overwhelmingly fulfilled, but they still had a long way to go to hit the shore. Would they make it back safe?
Julian and the rest of the crew made it back just before the thunder hit the area. This brave diver showed that even the most dangerous situations can be resolved with strategic thinking.
If he had chosen to ignore the shadows beneath the sea or had been too frightened to dive into it, neither him, the crew or the killer whale would have made it out alive. And that’s not all.
Claim To Fame
Julian and the owner of the fishing boat, Anshar Rahman, were later interviewed by the media.
“If someone kills a strange animal in the sea, he and his family will live in bad luck. This is our ancestor’s message. Lots of evidence,” said Anshar Rahman. But this was only the beginning for Julian. Soon, the video of him helping the orca went viral.
Someone on the boat had recorded Julian untangling the fishing lines from the orca, and the video was noticed by Whale Stranding Indonesia. They uploaded it to their Facebook profile, explaining how the brave diver helped the animal.
“The fishers chose to rip their fishing net (and thus lost the two tonnes of fish they had caught earlier) to rescue the orca,” the post said. People from all over the world were praising the diver. Julian used this opportunity to share an important message.
Not So Killer, After All
Orcas, also known as killer whales, are the largest members of the oceanic dolphin family. They are majestic creatures that are also super fast. The average speed of an orca can reach up to 56 km/h.
While they certainly look intimidating and dangerous, Julian hopes his story will change people’s opinions on them. In fact, they even share some similarities to humans…
According to one recent study that used drones to record orcas, it appears they also have “close friendships.” Orcas prefer to interact with others of the same age and sex as them.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.