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19/02/21 Playing hard to get – Orca style.

Hey Guys, My name is Caitlin and I’m one of the marine interns on board for this week! Yesterday’s harsh wind front died off today, providing us with a calmer day out in the canyon. Although there was still a decent swell of 3m, this weather typically results in less hunting action from the orcas. Nonetheless, we observed our friends nice and early on arrival to the hotspot. Banjo the bull was present, and he has changed so much since last year! His large dorsal fin stood out amongst the rest. The pod seemed busy doing their thing, travelling and occasionally swimming up near the boat. This interaction came to an end after roughly half an hour as the gang evidently had places to go and people (aka beaked whales?) to see. We decided to leave them be and venture out south west in the direction of Knob and Henry canyon where the waters plummet another thousand metres. We call this area “sperm whale territory” as they’re known to hunt at the depths (~2000m) searching for their favourite meal consisting of either giant or colossal squid.

Action was meagre throughout the middle of the day, aside from a beautiful resting albatross, a school of iridescent Mahi Mahi, also known as dolphin fish, and a not so beautiful plastic bottle. We are extremely lucky that we get to explore the pristine Bremer Canyon each day, so when we see plastic all the way out there it is a reminder of how man made products can make their way to the most remote of places. Whilst all eyes were looking out for the orcas, we spotted a large plastic bottle floating by. Thankfully our trusty deckhand Ando was able to retrieve it out of harm’s way. This is why it is great to reduce our plastic and opt for reusable bottles, bags, cutlery etc. to reduce plastic waste and its chances of making its way into our precious ocean. Eventually we arrived at Shrek’s canyon, but the orcas were still hiding from us so we made our way back to the hotspot. Days like these are a reminder that the wild environment is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get (unless you are like me and thoroughly examine each flavour in the box before choosing…).

Each day of this week has been so different to the rest and it is so interesting to see how factors such as weather can determine what our remarkable orcas are getting up to. Regardless, it was a great day and amazing to see Banjo and his crew for the first time this season, they’re growing up fast and looking super healthy. The next few days are forecasted to be even calmer so keep an eye out to see how this effects our next encounters! 

 

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