We found one group of orca as soon as we dropped off the shelf and stayed with them for a few minutes before we realised there was more action ahead! We pushed further South to find they were chasing something, surging through the water at pace. It was not long until a medium sized Beaked Whale porpoised out of the water in the middle of the Orca group. It was flanked by two sub-adult orca who quickly pushed it back down under the water.
As we watched on the Orca methodically worked as a team, which involved multiple calves and adults. Razor, Blade, Cookie, Nibbles and Digby were all involved in the predation with approximately ten other orcas coming in to assist.
As they made the final blow to the prey a sudden explosion of white water was stained red. Although very confronting it was over within seconds and the orca was soon below the surface out of sight. Glimpses of sharks filled the time void and the Albatrosses and Giant Petrel entertained passengers while the orca were busy deep below.
Digby rose slowly, his dorsal fin slicing through the oily surface and presented us with the top half of the whale… except this time the animal was a lot smaller than the first sighting… could it have been they hunted a vulnerable beaked whale calf and its mother?
There are over 20 different species of Beaked Whale and identifying the species can often be difficult from only a quick glance at the animal or even limited photographs. We believe the whales today were Cuvier’s Beaked Whales, a typical species on the Orca menu.
The juvenile orcas seemed to be right in on the action every step of the way as we watched on in awe for hours. Some orca became excited or agitated and breached, belly flopped, tail slapped, surged, and the curious ones came past and under the bow too many times to count, giving the passengers a front row seat to the wild orca show!!
We have been asking and waiting for the Orca to show us their prey and they most certainly did that today. A few soggy passengers from this morning’s rain were treated with clear skies on the way home to dry out as they reminisced on the day’s unreal expedition!