To some up today it would be “MYTH-BUSTED”!
For a long time we have assosicated the Trichodesmium (red tides) algae blooms as one that the orca DO NOT LIKE. Almost every time there is a bloom in the hotspot the orcas are absolutely no where to be found! This lead us to believe they did not like the sawdust type algae. Trichodesmium has been known by seamen as Sea Sawdust since the 1700’s and is an important part of the marine ecosystem as it contributes a large percentage of Nitrogen! Food for other plant and algae matter.
Today was no ordinary day! The hotspot was covered in long bloom streaks of the red algae, and the orca, well, they were there too! Right in the thick of it! Trichodesmium streaks would be concentrated full of bacteria, germs and other nasties but these orca didn’t appear to mind one bit.
Afternoon football anyone?
This afternoon we were treated to a footy match, but this was no ordinary game. We were playing by the orcas rules and instead of a football they used juvenile SUNFISH! The small sunfish wouldn’t have stood a chance against these athletes. Cookie scored first, but Split Tip was close behind! With a sunfish flicked out of the water, then body slammed seconds later, it was no doubt consumed by the hungry orcas. Small oil slicks were appearing left and right as more orca scored! There were more pelagic fish too, most likely blue-fin tuna! They appeared to be getting eaten and flung out of the water too!
El Notcho, Chalky, Oreo and the rest of the crew were all over it. Tail slapping the surface to potentially stun prey or “POW” out of the water the fish came, with an orca following directly behind! The fish weren’t safe in OR OUT of the water. An absolute epic show – one that will not be forgotten by the crew anytime soon.
Chalky couldn’t let us leave without showing off his GIANT dorsal fin. This is now becoming a habit of his. While the rest of the pod are cruising up ahead he comes in for not one, not two but at least THREE close passes. If he was any closer today we could have reached out and touched this beast of a whale. He moves slowly and so so smoothly. Our jaws dropped, but quickly closed again as his fishy-breath was blown onto the boat by the light winds! His stinky breath made the close passes even more memorable.
On the way in, we took our usual stop at Glasse Island to see the Sea Lions. We always keep a watchful eye out for penguins and today we saw SIX! Six little blue penguins all huddled in the bat cave. Little penguins have an annual moult this time of year, which takes a couple of weeks. While they are moulting they can become distressed as they aren’t able to go into the sea! They lose their waterproofing so head to their burrows and fast until their new feathers are oily enough to withstand the sea!