What a difference a day can make. The swell was up today and the wind stiff from the south west. Ideal conditions for killer whales. Ideal conditions for celebrating a birthday in dramatic style too as expeditions Amanda did today. We arrived at the canyon and set to the task of finding the orca, scanning the lumpy grey swells. Birds swirled in several locations on our horizons, and we scanned hopefully beneath them, looking for fins and blows of surfacing killer whales.
Our luck was in. Kind of. Our expeditioners excitement as they saw those first black dorsal fins cut the rough grey chop was infections, and cheers went up from all decks. But, the pod headed off directly into the oncoming sea. We battened down the hatches and followed, punching through the southern ocean swells our Alison Maree was purpose built for. Soon, our perseverence paid off. Shouts of “incoming”!!! were carried on the wind as the pod turned and headed in our direction, surfing in on the grey swells, disappearing under our vessel before surging from the surface on the opposide side, exhaling with a pneumatic hiss. We pointed out familiar fins including the easily recognised B-slice. The pod popped up again, this time behind us, a welcome treat as we turned and enjoyed the calm of a following sea and a back deck bathed in sunshine,.
We kept sight of the pod, and they again made several close passes before heading away, only to return at intervals over the next hour.
We lost sight of them briefly, and contemplated approaching a different pod we could see in the distance. As it turned out, it was us that were approached! As a pod headed in our direction, we could see it was the same family we had spent our morning with. But, they had brought their friends. El Nothco and Cookie and their band were easily picked out by our repeat expeditioners as they surfed the swells alongside, and made several abrupt detours to investigate us from all quarters.
Their behaviour as they surged alongside had us enthralled and baffled in equal measures. They travelled as a tight group, and then came to an abrupt halt and began to roll over each other in a tumbling killer whale scrum, There were many tail stands, tail slaps and half breaches. We could clearly make out them rolling together. B-slice seemed to collide with one of the juveniles, knocking it sideways, unusual in individuals that are usually so well coordinated.
Every day is different at the Bremer Canyon, and every day is amazing. And many like today leave us something new to puzzle over.
The Bremer Canyon Crew