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You could say it was a surf and turf war.

Whale watchers off the coast of Vancouver Island recently witnessed an underwater heavyweight battle of epic proportions. It all began when a gang of orcas spotted what they thought would make for an easy lunch: a humpback whale calf.

“They started harassing the young calf and going after it,” Paul Pudwell with Sooke Coastal Exploration said. “And the mother was trying to protect it, to the best we could tell.”

As the battle waged on, however, the mom began to realize she was out-gunned. So that’s when she decided to do something we thought only humans did: she called in backup.

“In that time we noticed another humpback come, and then another pair came and then another humpback,” Pudwell said.

With the scales now tipped in the humpback’s favour, the fight took a different turn. And what the orcas didn’t know was that their enemy was also packing weapons.

“They have barnacles on their tail flukes and on their flippers, which are kind of like brass knuckles,” whale expert John Ford said.

For the record, all of the whales leave the fight alive and there are no graphic shots in the video. You can see how the incident played out for yourself in the clip above.