To sum it up nicely, this season has given witness to endless displays of spectacular natural behaviour that some would say is unique to anywhere else on the planet!
The Bremer Canyon has, for this season, been at the forefront of discoveries, world AND national firsts and mammoth encounters! This incredible biodiversity hotspot has "dropped the jaws of both scientists and tourists alike with the action and activity witnessed from our vessel DAILY throughout this year’s orca season". Here are a few of our favourite moments from 2019!!
A customer stated that her day in the canyon was "equal, if not better than her previously considered favourite day of her life, where she had stood next to a silverback gorilla in the wild. The rush you receive when in close proximity to ANY apex predator, let alone a pod of orca is unlike any other! When you become part of the hunt, pursuit and take down of their pray you almost feel like you're a part of the pod! The infectious laughs, shock and adrenaline that pumps through your body leaves most people speechless after being witness to a breaching orca OR a kill in the canyon! These natural displays truly demonstrate how these living machines made it to the top of the food chain!
Before this season we didn't even "fathom" blue whales being on the orca's radar, let alone a part of the orca's potentially regular diet! Now to have encountered the FIRST ever observed take down of a blue whale by orca AND the second less than two weeks later is beyond mind-blowing! The hours of well "orca-strated" manoeuvres and precision was a feat that suggests this isn't the first and won't be the last time we observe behaviour like this! To make it even more exciting, after five years, this is still only the beginning in terms of the activity and endless unknowns still to be uncovered out here!
The behaviour exhibited by many of our well known and observed killer whales throughout the season far exceeds what we had previously EVER witnessed and even considered these incredible animals to be capable of! From backward, inverted flips and manoeuvres to the level of their consciousness and how aware they are of us in the way they approached, cruised alongside and looked at us from the vessel was equal parts daunting and exhilarating! Our customers experienced these spectacles on many of their FIRST times ever being witness to a killer whale in the wild, and that is one of the crews favourite parts of the job!
The customers and crew develop a sort of favouritism toward certain orca individuals over the years and watching them grow, develop and even give birth to their own young are absolutely incredible and so rewarding! One of both our marine biologist's favourite memories throughout the season was watching Razor (a well-known female) care for and raise her calf, watching it grow stronger and become more curious of us with every encounter! We can't wait to see how big and healthy she is next season!! And with that said we are already counting the days until we depart on next seasons tours! If it's ANYTHING like this season you'd want to keep posted AND get your front row seat amongst the action alongside the orca and us! Not to mention the extensive array of other marine life we encountered over the season from long-finned pilot whales, oceanic blue sharks, sunfish, dolphins, seabirds, false killer whales, beaked whales, sperm whales, leatherback turtles and seals just to name a few!!
Lastly, just a HUGE thank you to the Bremer community for being so accommodating of us, ALL of our lovely customers and most importantly our incredible volunteers (both our photographers AND interns)! NONE of this could happen without any of you so thank you again from EVERYONE at Naturaliste Charters. Here are some of our FAVOURITE images from the season! Enjoy!