Split Tip with Wonks in close pursuit were patrolling the hotspot this morning! Asha’s new calf is going great guns although still very orange. See Jodie’s pictures below for a baby orca close up. Too cute, the little dorsal finned sea panda is getting used to the whole ‘swimming’ concept as it dives deeper and longer on every encounter we have.
The big boys were in town!
Three very large male orca, Blackberry, Nibbles and a fully grown unknown male. It gives us goosebumps that we are still sighting orca who aren’t in the Project Orca Catalogue!! Images will be submitted for the end of the season and we will be able to provide a figure of new 2021 sightings! Their dorsals fins are mind-glowingly big. Blackberry stands close to 1.8m tall, the unknown close behind and Nibbles who still has some growing to do it catching up quickly!
These three were accompanying five fierce looking females. Fanscar, Spot (who I personally have not sighted in the three season of work out in the Bremer Canyon, she has a very distinct white splodge on her dorsal) and two more un-catalogued. This mob caught our attention by BURSTING south-west! They drew us over 30 nautical miles away from land with their enticing surging behaviour. A unexpected mix of orca, but with photo identification working its magic we can track behaviours and learn more about the social structures in which they live. With the water still up at 22 degrees celsius the prey of choice is variable. Since the water has been this temperature we have sighted giant oceanic mantas, turtles, sunfish, sharks, sperm whales and blues to name a few.
The bird life this weekend has been VERY entertaining!
For an example we have watched as giant winged petrels buzzed around, looking more awkward than their brown mates – Flesh footed Shearwaters. The petrels are getting into the groove of the southern ocean as they begin to come into these latitudes, it is about time the orca gave these visitors something to feed on!!! Three black-browed albatross parked up on the water while we enjoyed close passes by the big mob of orca. This looked like an important meeting with some disagreements – a pink beak stretched out as one ably bit another on the head. Neither seemed deterred, and they soon had their webbed toes racing across the water to take off! The giggles of onlooking passengers is a sound we hear all too often as many have never seen this type of bird before.