How Can I Dive or Swim with the Orcas?

          Diving with sea creatures is the dream of many divers. SCUBA diving enables us to explore reefs and swim through the open ocean with sea creatures. Swimming with dolphins is exciting for many certified divers. Some divers love the rush that comes from swimming with sharks. People go whale watching and dive with whales to experience Earth's largest sea mammals. It is no wonder that many of us are fascinated by the killer whale. Orcas are very social creatures that use echolocation to catch their prey. They can grow up to 10,000 pounds and, their dorsal fin can reach up to 6 feet long. This massive mammal has earned a reputation as a man-eating beast due to its name and size. Its mammalian appearance makes it more approachable than a shark. However, killer whales are related to the dolphin and socialize intimately like humans and other aquatic mammals. This apex predator is very threatening for large sea creatures such as sharks but poses very little threat to human life. Humans are the more dangerous predator. There are no reports of orcas attacking humans in the wild. There is still reason to be cautious around these 8,000-pound hunters. Their swift speed and tail slap used to confuse prey could easily injure or kill a human. Orcas have no interest in attacking humans. There is no chance of confusion because they use echolocation to evaluate the prey. Their mothers teach them early on to identify what constitutes food. Anyone who is fascinated with orcas should check out these unique opportunities to experience killer whales up close. 

Norwegian Fjords

     If you wish to dive or swim with the orcas, the Norwegian fjords are filled with herring from late October until mid-January attracting wintering orcas. After you fly to Tromso, you will board the M/V Kingfish before setting sail to the freezing Arctic waters. Along with the orcas, you may encounter shipwrecks -from WWII, spiny dogfish, wild salmon, seals, the aurora borealis, kelp forests, and nudibranchs. (Nudibranchs are spiny mollusks. In the Arctic, they look like glassy white snowflakes.)This opportunity to dive with orcas will allow you to see how the ocean's most dominant apex predator collaborates with his pod to obtain as much herring as possible. Look out! Their black backs blend in with the dark depths below. 

British Columbia and Strait of Georgia in Canada

Here you can charter a boat from April to October and see orcas breach. If you wish to go diving with the orcas, pick a diving charter that will get close to the orcas and allows divers to board. Usually, your instructor can set up an excursion with a charter boat company and, they will take your dive team towards the breaching whales. 

Poor Knights Island in New Zealand 

       If you wish to see orca pods in a more comfortable climate, New Zealand waters are warm. In the warm months (December through February), orcas will flood the area. There are multitudes of diving charters that make Poor Knights Island ideal for SCUBA divers. You can see pods of 6-12 orcas pass through usually 2 -3 times a month near Kaikoura. You may also be able to see orcas pass through Wellington Harbour.

Costa Rica 

     In Costa Rica, Isle de Coco, Cabo Blanco Marine Reserve, and Cahuita National Park are hotspots for watching orcas. Diving in Tambor Bay, Cabuya Island, and Tortuga Island are readily available. Here there are lots of charters to SCUBA dive with the Orcas. Around September, you can see orcas start to come through Coco, Costa Rica. You can also free dive with them. The best time to visit is around September. 

Other Activities Involving Orcas 

If you love to free dive, whale watch, swim, or encounter orcas, there are many places you can go without SCUBA diving.

Freedive with Orcas.- Most places have Looking for a beautiful time braving the open ocean. You can free dive with the orcas. Plunge into the cold waters of Norway or free dive with Orcas in the fjords.

Swim with Orcas.- Swimming with orcas is illegal in most countries across the world. However, there are places where you can legally swim with orcas if you dare. You can snorkel on the surface or swim with them in Coco, Costa Rica, or Norway. 

Encounter Orcas at SeaWorld.- SeaWorld Orlando, San Antonio, and San Diego offer behind-the-scenes orca encounters such as dining with the orcas. The time is limited since they are no longer breeding orcas in captivity. Families may decide the best way to develop a love of SCUBA diving is to expose their children to aquatic wildlife. 

Kayak with Orcas.- If you are an experienced kayaker, kayaking in Seattle, Washington, Puget Sound is a unique experience. Orca can come very close to your kayak and, you will feel more secure as they pass by your vessel. 


Lots of the places above offer whale watching and orca watching. Even visiting places like Puget Sound allow you a breathtaking view of these beautiful creatures. Whether you are an orca lover or a whale lover learning to SCUBA dive will open up your world to more realistic encounters. For any questions, feel free to contact By The Shore SCUBA Instruction. Ask Kevin about charting an Orca dive. 

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