The 2020 Bremer Bay killer whale Wrap-up!

This has been our 6th season circumnavigating the Bremer Bay killer whale hotspot! We ventured further, witnessed RARER encounters AND had our socks knocked off MORE than EVER before! 

 

Every season enables us to uncover more about the killer whales of the southwest, making our entire team more experienced and knowledgeable for the benefit of the orca’s safety AND protection! So, with that said, we would like to thank EACH and EVERY one of you!! Without your support and your Bremer killer whale experiences, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do OR conduct research that helps protect the area and WA’s beautiful orcas!

 

Six years of expeditions JUST scrapes the surface when shining a light on one of the world’s GREATEST biodiversity hotspots AND is still JUST the beginning! The more we learn, the more we realise how much we STILL have to discover! Hence why EVERY season has exponentially outshined the last! 

 

The complexity of these animals is what makes EACH and EVERY day so incredibly unique to the one prior! We’d LOVE to thank our regular and returning customers for appreciating this and booking for 3+ days with us to guarantee they encounter the EPIC smorgasbord of behaviours that the orcas display!!! We witnessed everything from playful, curious and social displays to precise, energetic and VERY well “orca-strated” group hunting and feeding spectacles throughout the season! 

 

To better elaborate, here are a few of our FAVOURITE moment from the insane 2020 Bremer Bay killer whale season! 

 

Our BIGGEST highlight of the season was watching THREE newborn calves (especially little NEO!) flourish and grow into the CUTEST and most playful creatures amidst one of the most powerful, roaring oceans on the globe!  -The ENTIRE pod protected their neonates so intently, it was incredible to watch! FUN FACT: The calves launch their entire bodies out of the water EVERY time they breathe because they haven’t quite figured out where their blowholes are!! 

 

The adventures of our FAVOURITE male Nibbles and his new teen prodigy Digby were VERY entertaining! The pair were NEVER far apart. We were keeping a close eye on the pair after last seasons CLOSE courtship encounter!! The love interest definitely thrived throughout this season with PLENTY of boisterous surface activity and showing off! Go the breaching boys! 

 

The “Huntress”  (Split-tip) is always a crowd-pleaser from her grandmotherly, maternal visits to each pod as she protected and trained the next generation of apex predators, to her incredible hunting techniques as she participated in almost EVERY predation event this year! 

 

On TWO occasions this season we were taken on the longest most EPIC pursuits with the orcas for over 10 mile! 30+ individuals each side of us, we felt like we were part of the hunt! Two 9 tonne bulls with the largest dorsal fins lead the surge like police escorts! The white water plumes erupted in every direction before everything came to a screaming halt! The killer whales dived, the ocean went still and moments later long-finned pilot whales emerged! On one occasion an enormous oil slick dissipated over the surface between two pods of orcas and a small pod of long-finned pilot whales!! On the second instance, the orcas rounded up the pilot whales, surging in circles until the pod were in a tight formation! The anticipation rose immensely, however on that instance NOTHING prevailed! We now have a huge question mark against the relationship between the two species! 

 

Sharks, sharks and more SHARKS! Hammerheads, oceanic blue sharks AND bronze/dusky whalers 

 

The RV Falkor enabled us to explore the depths (1000-4000m) LIVE as researchers delved into the unknown abyss that is the Bremer canyon system! (check out the highlights on youtube) 

 

Predations GALORE! From the LARGEST Cuvier’s beaked whale hunt that lasted over 1 hour and 70+ killer whales to the SMALLEST predation and juvenile training drill on a Beaked Whale calf!!!

 

Rare birds galore!! such as Little Shearwaters, Barau’s Petrel’s, Cory’s Shearwaters, Great Shearwaters, Sooty Albatross, Great Winged Petrels, Long-tailed Jagers, Wandering Albatross’, Campbells albatross’, Polar Skewers and Huttons Shearwaters just to name a few!! 

 

As the killer whales become more accustomed to our vessel their trust in us grows simultaneously! As the killer whales get closer and more confident with us, so do their curious calves! We are now regularly given the honour of becoming a killer whale “nursery”! The adults often left to patrol the outskirts, leaving their youngsters under our watchful eye to play and roll under our bow! The most memorable, and for many, once in a lifetime sight!!!! 

 

The wake of our vessel is a place to watch!!! On multiple occasions we’ve had killer whales, mega pods of dolphins AND false killer whales surge and porpoise through our wake as we turned for home!!! There is nothing quite like standing on the back deck watching marine life chase you as you depart an already breathtaking day!!! This is always the cherry AND sprinkles on top!! 

 

 

Meeting and training ALL our amazing marine interns and watching them encounter the southern ocean AND the killer whales for the first time is so memorable for us!  

 

And last but not least, ALL the incredible customers that we met throughout the season and watching our return customers tick their bucket lists with interactions/images they hoped but NEVER thought they’d to achieve is our FAVOURITE part of the job!!! BRING ON 2021 

 

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