Our daily routine is becoming quite fluent! Three dorsal fins emerged over the swell line as we entered the “hotspot” this morning! The call went out across the boat and before we knew it the orca had VANISHED into thin air (or deep blue sea)after our first glance! With excited customers on the bow the minutes passed slowly as we searched the area, scanning the surface to find nothing for miles!! This just goes to show, when the orca don’t want to be found, they won’t! This is also reassuring for us as 9/10 encounters with these apex predators involve close passes and playful behaviour where they clearly enjoy interacting with the vessel.
By the time we spotted the orca again we were in Malekos backyard! This area has had increasing activity over the past few weeks and seems to be what we like to now call “the honey hole”!!! Three orca (which seemed to be the three that vanished on us this morning) soon turned into 15! The pod was split into groups of three, the closest of which being Nibbles (B-Slice) and a mother and her TINY orange calf!!! The starboard side held most of the action, tail slaps soon evolved into nibbles LAUNCHING his 9 tonne body right out of the water!!! The sound and the size of the splash that soon followed was AMAZING!!! It didn’t stop there!! The calf took turns attempting to mimic nibbles manoeuvres! Tail slaps, backwards/inverted breaches, and peduncle slaps EVERYWHERE! Another group of three further off started to join in the fun, proceeding to pick up speed and punch through our wake with ease!! The cheers and screams grew louder with every porpoise toward us, soon followed by MORE breaching alongside!!! This behaviour went on for over an hour!!! We couldn’t believe our eyes!!! Bubbles rising from the depths after Nibbles and the calf plummeted head first into the water, almost giving them extra force and propulsion to gain speed as they dived deep, only to launch themselves above the surface yet again!
The number of birds increased exponentially, squawking and squabbling over the miniscule remains of an earlier kill. One of the orcas on the outskirts bought over a piece of meat which the group proceeded to share right off the bow! The customers had the best view of the orca below the surface as they darted back and forth, whipping their tails every time they rose for a breath! The acrobatics were starting to die down and then BOOM out of nowhere things just went up a WHOLE other level! The energy increased with every breach, spy hop and side swipe!!! There was definitely something in the water today! Dave Riggs is one of the founders of the Bremer Canyon orca and has spent over five years observing these incredible animals BUT he stated “today I have seen things that I have NEVER seen before”!!! This really just goes to show that this area and the interactions that we are lucky enough to observe EVERY day are still JUST the beginning! We really have only just started to scrape the surface out here! By the end of the day customers had tears rolling down their faces after what we had witnessed!! It’s always a pleasure, and until tomorrow!