Sporadic viewing of the orca under the glorious beaming sun this morning was abruptly interrupted by the words “Blue Whale”.
Blue Whale? BLUE WHALE! And there it was right in the apex predators hunting grounds, an estimated 10 metre long Blue Whale… at first glance we assumed the blow came from a Sperm Whale as we quite often see them in the canyon and NEVER see a blue whale but it wasn't until closer inspection that we could confirm exactly what it was!
It had slipped right past the Orca cruising at a top speed of 12 knots up onto the continental shelf! We travelled with the blue for almost an hour as it ventured and surfed the swell through the Bremer Canyon system all the while we were waiting for the orca to strike. However this did not happen and this magnificent creature will go on to live another day. We suspect it silently moved through the area not to alert any predators, maybe it was a female as they do not sing out with only the male blues having a song. Or maybe the word is spreading that the orca are capable and WILLING to take down whatever they want. Either way a blue whale is not an easy meal for the orcas and with two blue predations in the last fortnight maybe the orcas weren't up to the challenge.
As we waved goodbye to the small pygmy blue we headed back out into deeper water (1000m) and we came across a small pod of not so angry sausages (Pilot Whales) accompanied by a few oceanic Bottlenose Dolphins. They looked rather relaxed, most likely feeding as the birds were above waiting to pick up a spare scrap of food. Orca once again in the afternoon, this time it was Nani’s pod, a young sprouting male, and Mako’s pod again. They too were potentially feeding with a cheeky spy hop and close passes from some of the youngsters in the groups. Our passenger’s today will definitely take home very special memories of the orca!
It’s interesting to note that this is the first time we have spotted a blue whale in the deep water of the canyon with both our other blue sightings/predations being on the shelf in shallower water. What could this mean for the Orca in the area… you will have to stay tuned to our blogs to find out as each day brings a new experience! We never know what a day out on the southern ocean will bring us and we can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow.