On arrival to the hotspot this morning the smell of an oil slick in the air was rife! Organic and slimy, the orca had just finished a mammalian breakfast but the party was over as the orca and birds had moved out of the area to continue hunting leaving only the slick as evidence of their early morning activity…
It wasn’t long until the first orca was sighted, with the call coming down from the crow’s nest that orca were coming towards us! These patrolling orca could not help themselves but tease us and come in for a few close swim-bys allowing us to get a glimpse at how big they are compared to our vessel.
There must not have been much action below the surface to occupy the orcas as we were followed by a sub-adult female for a long while and she must have felt we weren’t giving her enough attention so she proceeded to play by rolling and pushing her belly up and out of the water just by our bow, heart-warming!
The young female joined back with her pod which was made up of about ten including razor and the sprouting male Nibbles, both of which we have been spotting regularly this season! Another addition to this pod was a very small calf! This calf wouldn’t be much older than a few years and was sticking VERY close to mum, resting its head against her as they would come up to breathe. This pod was very relaxed and was like a small family gathering with multiple calves, sub-adults, and two sprouting bulls rounding out the group.
Our stop off at Glasse Island on the way home showed that the orcas weren’t the only ones enjoying their Sunday with family as the Australia Sea Lions were hauling out on the warm rocks with a Bull (adut male), Cow (adult female) and multiple pups. They were also joined by their closely related cousin, the New Zealand Fur Seal, which had made itself comfy in a concealed section of the rocks, enjoying the afternoon sunshine that was peeking through the clouds.
Another great day out in the canyon!