Today proved that patience is a virtue and we just want to say a huge thankyou to our passengers who stayed positive throughout the morning as we searched and searched for Orca!
You never know what the Southern Ocean will throw at you and as long as we are in the canyon there is still a chance of seeing our favourite black and white dolphins!!
After a loooong run for miles and miles on another extremely calm and beautiful day we finally spotted a blow right off in the distance! On approach we noticed the angled blow and slowed as to not scare the resting whale off, it was a sperm whale and a large one at that! We spent a few minutes while the spermie rebreathed ready to take another deep dive, as its back arched and its tail flicked up high into the air we held our breaths as the sperm whales second half became vertical and slowly descended into the depths.
We soon realised we were alone again so kept meandering further and further away from the coast. With anxious eyes all over the horizon another white splash was seen 2-3 mile away! What started as one became two, three, four and more! We boosted up and saw a very large surge like splash, staring down on it, a black dorsal rose up between the distinct “V” splash and IT WAS ON! ORCA! SURGING! Another surge, this time a biiiiggg black dorsal rose up above the white water… who on earth were we following?! The passengers who had never seen Orcas before were now witnessing them in their element surging PAST the boat which was now at full speed.
What unfolded next was incredible, a pod of beaked whales were taken out by around FIFTY orca! No distinct pod groups on this predation just the whole lot all working together. As we watched blood bubbles surface all around us we knew it was more than one animal being hunted and eaten. We still had more orca surging towards us only 50m from the stern lifting their head right out showing us how girthy they are. Where to look! More orca were still being called in for backup as mothers and calves naturally being slower were among those last to arrive.
Various chunks of meat were brought up to the surface including the spine of one and the head, although missing the majority, of another! More blood, more meat, more orca, moving around the boat as if we weren’t there, going about their business feeding their families and no doubt pulling apart more and more beakies below out of sight.
The individual orcas today were mostly unrecognisable apart from a large male, not yet sighted this season and a female sighted two days ago on another beaked whale predation! This is really special as we are still only able to estimate the population size and the more Orca we can observe the larger the identification catalogue can become and the greater chance we have of understanding their home ranges.
By now there was more splashing off in the distance that became closer and bigger and more …angry… By now we could identify them as the Pilot Whales! We are loving all the interactions that we have been having with the angry sausages and as the two waves punched in they became one very tight unit in the presence of Orca. They all played nice and hung around in close proximity to each other and that made up the end of our day. PHEW… what an epic month we have had! I cannot wait to see what the next month brings!