Each day this week the weather has progressively become rougher. From a no Orca and flat-as-a-tac day on Friday the orca have slowly stirred in conjunction to the weather. Yesterday we left them after a surge turned up nothing! We knew the wind would be up and that it may be a good sign for an orca feed!
The hotspot appeared barren with only a handful of mutton birds and a single small oil slick. Drats. We ran along the 1000 metre contour line and after thirty minutes decided to turn back to the hotspot and try again there. With eyes now forward a large white splash caught our attention. It was bigger than the white caps and more methodical as it went again and again! Sea birds honed in on the area and were now swirling. Something was happening here!
Birds, oil and orca!!! A predation had just taken place and we had front row seats! The prey was unknown but the tell tail signs appeared mammal-ly. The orca was buzzing all around us as we scanned to try and make sense of what had just gone down. Split Tip was here and were not surprised! Goku, Wonks and the rest of the pods were present too. The same orca we have been observing over the last weekends expeditions.
Watching the orca was like watching fireworks.
They were breaching all around us – full body exposed out of the water. They landed on their sides and bellies and the BOOM could be heard from a few hundred metres away! Passengers gasped as the orcas looked suspended in the air with time standing still.
Split Tip and Wonks were going one for one. Splish, Splash, Splosh. Being the big boss, she went first. Right on our bow. Wonks next and only 50 metres away. Then Split Tip again three more times. While this was happening we could heard the distant crack of tail slaps from all around us. A shark, most likely a whaler, was slinking behind looking for scraps.
Finally we saw the leftovers of what once was. Potentially a beaked whale. A female orca had it clamped in her jaws as she paraded it past our port side. For hours after we observed the orca in their natural habitat, re-group, feeding and relaxing after their adventurous activities.