ORCA: The Amity incident
Captained by the misanthropic, eccentric war veteran known simply among island locals as Quint, The Orca was sunk off the coast of Martha's Vineyard following an extended fishing excursion in the summer of 1973.
On its final voyage, The Orca was crewed by Martha's Vineyard chief of police, Martin Brody, and a schooled oceanographer from Woods Hole, Matt Hooper. A game fisherman in every sense, Quint was steadfast as the boats' beleaguered captain to the very end, with machete and blood flying in dramatic recoil.
The demise of the The Orca was due in part to structural damage resulting from relentless attacks by a now infamous maniacal rogue shark. Although the boat had been designed to seek out and catch sharks, it was ultimately no match for the overtly cunning, pursuing predator Quint was hired to catch. Attempting to draw the monster in to the shallows, The Orca was eventually overrevved and inadvertently scuttled. After listing to port, Brody was able to fire one final explosive shot from the sinking mast at a compressed air tank in the mouth of the attacking shark, killing it and ending the menace to the beaches of Amity.
It was well known by most Islanders that Chief Brody had been at odds with the mayor which thereby cast doubt as to the validity of the subsequent police report filed upon his return. The town council also steadfastly refused to pay the agreed bounty ($10,000) as promised, claiming there was still no verifiable proof the shark had either been caught or killed per the terms of the contract.
Members of the council claimed the mayor had reluctantly been coerced into signing, citing fraud on the part of the chief. The town council believed that ORCA was purposely sabotaged, rather than having been sunk by the shark which had been terrorizing the island. Their official claim on record stated the ORCA had merely been scuttled as part of an insurance scheme, cooked up by Brody in order to appropriate the bounty. In addition, it was claimed that Quint had gone into hiding in collusion with Chief Brody to avoid tax revenue and fines due in part to civic ordinance violations, and zoning laws.
As a result, an investigation was launched and Brody was removed from his post as chief of police rather than being lauded as the islands’ savior. Brody subsequently fled his place of residence, and while evading local authorities was entangled in an altercation with a pair of amateur nature photographers who encountered Brody on a trail. One of the pair were able to take a photo of Brody at gun point before fleeing down the mountainside.
During the war in the pacific (WW2), while on a return trip to home port after having delivered the atomic bomb, Quint's ship, (the USS Indianapolis) was hit by torpedos fired from a Japanese submarine. With only a life jacket for floatation, he survived an ordeal at sea for five days surrounded by swarms of killer sharks. Quint's mission during the war had been so secret, no distress call was sent, and a crew of nearly 1,100 were lost.
Taking his new found passion and disdain for sharks to the extreme, Quint used what little funds he had and purchased a modified wooden lobster boat off Nova Scotia. As a working boat, 'Novi's' were dependable, highly buoyant, tough, and easy to repair; and were the mainstay for most lobster fisherman in the region. Aptly named 'Warlock', when Quint purchased it, the boat had been named by its first owner in an ode to warding off evil spirits. For Quint, this name seemed apropos as he had been plagued emotionally following his harrowing wartime ordeal at sea, and the last thing he wanted was to be in a ship that would ever sink again.
With the purchase of his vessel complete, Quint set about transforming 'Warlock' into the formidable 'shark seeker' known as ORCA. To improve its hunting capabilities, Quint added an expanded fly bridge, surplus search light, and a reinforced crow's nest to aid in measuring dorsal fins from extended distances.
While Quint was steadfastly against using fancy or advanced hardware, or portable cages to capture or kill sharks, he did use a limited amount of rudimentary tools. Many of which were homemade or jerry-rigged, like painted yellow rain barrels modified for use as ballast kegs. The kegs were set in a track system which could then be tied to harpoon wire fired from a makeshift Greener rifle Quint had acquired at an auction in Boston.
Quint utilized his innovative 'sharking system' to great effect while stationed at the end of a pulpit extending out past the bow. In this way, Quint could readily oversee sharks moving past in close proximity thereby allowing for more precision correlated aims.
After sinking, Orca's wreck was a popular destination for casual divers, but was thought to be cursed by the superstitious following the mysterious disappearance of a diver taking photographs in the summer of 1978. The wreck was subsequently raised and purportedly utilized for further study by Dr. Matthew Hooper at the Woods Hole Institute.
Remnants were also meticulously researched by visiting occultists and archeologists who firmly believed there was some paranormal connection with the boat and the shark. Scientists at the institute discounted any superstitions in their quarterly report, however Dr. Hooper was still firmly convinced that the shark which had attacked swimmers near the Island was likely possessed, or a genetic mutation of a more common great white shark.
The boat is believed to still be in a classified area housed in an off limits area of the institute to this day. Oddly, Woods Hole institute does not acknowledge the existence of a Dr. Matthew Hooper as ever having been on their staff or whether the ORCA is anywhere on the premises.
Film Production: JAWS
A boat was built to resemble the actual ORCA for the film adaption of The Amity Incident (JAWS) in 1974. It was later sold to a crew person who worked on the film, then sold back again to Universal Studios after the crew person complained the boat was possibly haunted, or cursed by flying luminescent ghost sharks. In addition, there were reports of repeated hull breaches taking on water even when it was in dry dock or land. Moreso, the crew person had recurring daydreams whereby he would be pursued by a great white shark when near any body of water, and simply wanted the boat gone. After years serving as a tram attraction center piece of the 'JAWS' attraction at USH, the boat simply disappeared, and to this day its current whereabouts are unknown.