That is the sound of minds exploding all over the deck. Seriously, today was that good. Like, I will happily ramble about this day when I am 80 and look back to those times I was young and free, and got thrown around on the deck of the Naturaliste charters Orca boat, winds up, skies dark, sea swirling and ORCAS EVERYWHERE!!!!
Ok, are you ready… here we go.
The trip out to the hotspot was fast, we made great time and the winds were up and we were psyched. In essence, it felt like great Orca weather, and the birds knew it too. We had them with it from the moment we left the marina. Flesh footed shearwaters gliding in our wake, and not long after black browed albatross joined on our journey. Everything pointed to today being a special day – but we had no idea how good it was going to be!
On arrival to the hotspot the orcas were with us, and they were UP! Our first sighting was a young calf breaching in glee 2m from the stern of the boat and right away playful animals were all around, bellies up under our hull, they cruised in and around us, the smell of oil was in the air. It seemed there had already been action out here as an oily slick spread far and wide. They were so inquisitive, eyeballing us, lolling around and so close we could have reached out and touched them (not that we would of! Yikes, not after what we’ve seen!!).
But the fun wasn’t over, oh no, no way, it was only just beginning. The birds were EVERYWHERE! Huge swirls of them… they had a sense that something was happening. And then, amongst the fun and lolling, something clicked. It was like grand-mamma orca flicked a switch and it was game on! The orcas were pumped, and they were ready to hunt. The chase was happening in front of our eyes!!! Surges ahead and going fast. We pulled everyone in from the bow, closed the sea-door and floored it (metaphorically speaking). We had to move fast to keep up with the orcas, and at times we didn’t. There surges were ahead, and then they were all around. And this was happening in every direction. Jamie the skipper said there were pods doing the same thing in every direction, seriously 6 or 7 pods all hunting at the same time!!!! The energy, electric! Were hunting beaked whales?? Tuna?? We couldn’t tell! But the seabirds were coming up with red flesh and sinew in the wake of the orcas. It would be hard to say how many or what ended up as dinner, but it was a feeding frenzy.
So, the water was oily and smelt of blubber, sea birds were squabbling, and the orcas were total Rockstar’s. They cut through the swell, at times 8 animals in a row on one wave, cruising together. We watched in awe, they were hyper-colour under the waves, the white of eye patches and bellies shining aquamarine blue amongst the swell. A man next to me at one point yelled ‘I don’t know where to look! There are too many orcas everywhere’… it was that good. Tail slaps and breaches were happening, the air was electric and the orcas continued to play. This was one day that will stay with all who were involved forever.
The might of these animals is phenomenal. They are so vibrant, so alive. It’s an honour to be a part of it. Thank you to all who joined us today. We are blown away by the things we get to see out in the Bremer Canyon, and wouldn’t be able to do it without you, our loyal, determined, courageous and adventurous patrons.