The canyon was on fire today with a charging swell and tireless Orca! Dropping off the shelf we first sighted Orca just of the bow at our 12 o’clock. They appeared to be surrounded by a number of shearwaters and storm petrels, both Wilsons and White faced. Sightings of Wilsons storm petrels are becoming more prevalent as the season progresses and they return from their migration to Antarctica. The family of Orcas appeared to have a newborn calf with them. Our second sighting of the calf this year. The small calf appeared to be slightly orange in colour highlighting its youth. Young calves tend to appear orange in their first year as their blood vessels are closer to the surface of their skin. We watched as the mother and calf slowly passed the bow before re-joining the rest of the pod taking a deep dive.
After which we called all our passengers in from the bow as we made our way back to the hotspot, leaving mother and calf to rest. On arrival we noticed a huge aggregation of birds swirling above with a fairly fragrant and slowly dispersing oil slick. Decelerating our engines to a slow stop we waited to find two dorsal fins breaking the surface following 3 blows. We tracked over to them to see if our top predators were perhaps looming with their fresh kill encountering a hammerhead shark on the way. Being an opportunistic feeder, the hammerhead was possibly attracted by the release of oil into the water from the kill.
We watched as their dorsal fins sliced through the swell changing their direction and approaching us. They proceeded to swim under the boat, rolling and revealing their white underbellies through the aqua coloured water. Like playful dolphins surfing the open ocean waves they surged through the swell, beside the boat. We picked up the pace to keep up with them, watching as they charged through the whitecaps.
The energy ignited with the Orca porpoising out of the water and even breaching! Forward facing breaches, backwards facing breaches, half breaches, everything, they didn’t seem to rest. In between all of this aerial action they began trailing behind in our wake, breaking through every now and again to surf the swell running parallel to the boat. With the trailing swell behind us we followed them somewhat 6 or 7 miles out of the hotspot! Throughout the ordeal they were even kind enough to remain on our starboard side away from the glare as much as possible. What a magical day!
The Bremer Canyon Crew