Just an orca checking out a New Zealand paddle boarder, and nibbling on his board.

Too bony and gristly.

Anybody else have any close encounters of the animal kind?

I’ll start out:

When I was in high school I went hiking in some bluffs, and was scrambling up a small cliff when I reached up and placed my hand near a rattlesnake. It just rattled and slid away, and I slowly went back the way I came.

Similar situation in Glendalough, Ireland, again scrambling up a small cliff, and at the top of the cliff was an angry sheep snorting at me and telling me to go back the way I came. (Managed to snap a photo of the sheep, but don’t have it digitized.)

And the first time my wife and I went for a drive in the Shenandoah National Park, she was driving and I was looking at the map. We were driving very slow (it was a 10 or 15 mph zone) and she started to hit me. I looked up and she was pointing at my window, where a black bear was running alongside the car and staring at me through the window — “Welcome to the park.” After we made eye contact, the bear turned and wiggled its big but up the hillside next to the road.

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EDIT: Can’t believe I forgot this one, probably because the animal didn’t seem at all wild. Once went snorkeling in Dingle Bay, southwest Ireland, and swam with local aqua concierge Fungi, a 13-foot dolphin that’s been in the bay for decades. He likes to perform for people and will push sea kayakers around. I took some underwater snaps, but again, they’re not digitized. If you’re ever in that part of the world, he’s not to be missed. (That’s him lazing in the shallows.)

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