With sporadic orca sightings around an old oil slick it was looking like a tough morning. With seabirds aplenty we knew the orca were up to something. Three orca suddenly appeared and surged – but after four surges they dropped below the surface and disappeared. Damn they were up to something but they were not giving it away!
Birds began gathering to the north, and orca blows were right below. The closer we got the more dense the bird swirl became… something was going on right at this very moment! Next thing we new we had a HUGE bull orca surged beside us! It overtook us heading on the same trajectory.
Ten or so orca surfaced in unison. This contained cows and calves – one was very NEW! Could it be another new calf?? We couldn’t get a good look of the newborn but it appeared to be with the females Asha and Moon and was very very small. These orca were honing in on a Gray’s Beaked Whale and were about to serve themselves lunch.
Blood, blood, blood and more blood. The orca did NOT keep it PG for us! If you blinked, you would have missed it. It was all over within 3 minutes. There was plenty of thrashing and even more bright red juices pouring out! They had almost completely skinned the whale by twisting and jarring their bodies while holding on tight to its flesh. The seabirds were squawking with glee as they picked up any small crumb that came off the predation.
The usual feeding began as adult females took their share and grouped back up with their pods. By this point the orca bulls had turned up, Fue, Wonks and Blackberry were first on the scene once the females had secured the whale.
With about twenty orca in close vicinity the juveniles became sociable with spy hops and close passes, delighting crew and passengers alike. A thrilling and action packed day during this long weekend! We observed Blackberry and Noosa rolling and canoodling in the afternoon with two other pods close by. It was now time to head for home with a full boat of smiling and joyous passengers!