Home News Return of the Orca from ‘JAWS’

Return of the Orca from ‘JAWS’

by Piper St. James

Cape Cod Shark Biologist Greg Skomal has big plans to recreate the Orca, the vessel in Jaws that pursued the 25 foot, 3 ton great white off the coast of Amity Island.

‘Jaws’ 1975

With Discovery Channel’s Shark week closely upon us, this news can’t come at a better time! The highly anticipated week long ode to sharks begins August 9 and runs until August 16 and marks the 32nd anniversary for shark aficionados.

It was 45 years ago when audiences were introduced to one of the most successful and iconic movies in cinematic history directed by Steven Spielberg; Jaws.

‘Jaws’ 1975

The movie’s heroes pursue the man eating shark on a boat named the Orca. Ironically, the orca, also known as the killer whale, has recently been discovered to be the only natural enemy of the great white shark in the wild.

In a Hulu documentary entitled The Whale that Ate Jaws, specialists in the field examine the phenomenon that orcas will attack a great white just to eat their liver. The killer whales will not eat any other part of the long time feared fish. This behavior has been most notably been observed in waters off of South Africa.

Seeing the blood thirst for sharks incited by his book and subsequent movie, author Peter Benchley was soon hit with the guilt of these beautiful creatures being slaughtered in oceans across the world. Soon after he started a shark conservation to help education the public as well as protect these creatures of the deep. After his untimely death in 2006 his legacy entitled the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards have been instituted and carried on by his wife, Wendy Benchley and David Helvarg.

Peter and Wendy Benchley

Almost five decades after the release of the horror movie that kept many out of the water, a goal of an indiegogo campaign is to recreate the Orca. However, while Captain Quint’s vessel was initially created and deployed to destroy sharks, this research team is recreating the iconic ship to observe and study marine life in the same waters off of Martha’s Vineyard where the movie was filmed.

However, the vessel will not be built from bare bones. Instead, the team found a Nova Scotia lobster ship named Lydia along the coast of Massachusetts, and it is this ship they will remodel for their project.

Nova Scotia lobster boat, Lydia

The original Orca has been lost for 30 years, and since that time a replica has not been produced. This new ship will be deemed Orca III, as there were two Orcas created for the filming of Jaws.

To assist in the remodeling of the lobster vessel, Jaws production designer Joes Alves has come aboard to refine the details and characteristics that made the original Orca so memorable. In many ways, this ship was a character within itself, and Alves will help bring it back to life. Alves will be providing art direction as well as design plans to replicate Orca III and make the final product as similar as possible to Orca and Orca II.

Joe Alves

Martha’s Vineyard local boat builder Chris Crawford has joined the team to undertake the responsibility of physically recreating Lydia into the Orca III. Crawford origionally refitted the Orca for the 1975 film from a boat in 1974 in a mere four weeks! No small feat.

Joe Alves and Chris Crawford on the original Orca in ‘Jaws’

To help bring the Orca III to life, the team has set up an indiegogo page where they are aiming to collect a total of $150,000. As of the date of this article, August 4, 2020, the campaign has collected nearly $9,500.

To learn more about the project and indiegogo campaign click here. To learn more about the Return of the Orca be sure to check out their website!

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