We celebrated Earth Day in style today! Our typical visiting cetaceans were present and accounted for – Long Finned Pilot Whales and Sperm Whales. With multiple encounters of both these species throughout the day. We even spied a small pod of beaked whales momentarily before they surfed the swell and dived back down again. These elusive marine mammals are known for being very quiet and they didn’t even stay to have their picture taken. Notable absence once again were our black and white sea panda friends, Orca. We searched high and low over almost 100 nautical mile and found no trace of them. Luckily we were distracted with other wildlife!
The action really kicked off just 2pm. A Sooty Albatross started the excitement! My personal favourite pelagic bird – they are so cute! With their big cartoon eye and big chocolate coloured body. I flew on our six o’clock, soaring in our slipstream. It was also looking for orca, where it would then feed opportunistically on any snacks left by them.
A large blow on the horizon at the hotspot caught our attention, appearing large we assumed Sperm Whale from a distance. We meandered over as it was in the general direction of home. We jokingly mentioned it could be a Blue Whale because of the height it reached. Not quite big enough for a blue, but we were not expecting to find what was responsible for it!
On approach we found False Killer Whales with a swirl of birds above. They were uncharacteristically friendly! Coming straight for our vessel just like orca do. They hung around us, with some still off in the distance fishing. Bottlenose dolphins were here too. All of these animals were mingling together but little did we expect what unfolded next. The almost 3 metre swell was creating for a fun atmosphere with BIG gentle rolling waves. They might have been big, but our next whale was bigger…
A FIN WHALE…! My oh my. The big blow we spied earlier belonged to this baleen fellow.
In the history of our tours out here in Bremer, we have only had this privilege once before. Fin whales come in second for biggest whale, only after the Blue whale. They are filter feeding, with asymmetrical pattering on their lower jaw. This means that one side is white and one dark blue!!
The fin was chaperoned by two friendly false killers, who appeared to be playing and socialising together! A chance encounter and luckily for us the whales hung around our vessel for over an hour ensuring plenty of photo opportunities. How lucky are we that our Earth gives us magical moments like this.