Literally less than ONE MINUTE after announcing our arrival to the hotspot the orcas materialised out of nowhere! Nobody had time to figure out where to watch the action as the dorsal fins rose at the bow and ran down each side of the hull! A ever-growing juvenile Shepp appeared at the stern, lifting his head just enough to parade a large piece of flesh around like it was his first merit certificate! The youngster was so proud of his “achievements”, that were likely presented to him by the elder members of his pod. The customers almost didn’t have time to acclimatise to the presence of orcas let alone grasping the fact that there was a dead animal carcass being spread around like a buffet lunch!
Amidst all the chaos and instant carnage a light grey/brown mass patrolled past the portside, everyone on the top viewing deck had a better view, soon yelling “HAMMERHEAD”. This shark was large and wasn’t at all phased by our presence as he slowly drifted back to the depths after giving us all a really good glance! As we turned toward the bow to check where the orcas had dispersed to we saw a mass of surging fins rising through the swell line toward us. Long-finned pilot whales in the hundreds were moving in like a stampede of wildebeests during the rains of Africa! The orcas dropped, and fast! All except for two seemingly distracted killer whales. A large bull was in pursuit of a favourable female. The pair moved closer, the female staying at the surface while the bull flipped upside down as if to present himself to her, showing off his endowments to..well everyone! In one swift motion, the male attempted to spread genetic diversity and populate the canyon. We hope he was successful! Only 1.8 years until we find out! The killer whales were magnets for the wandering albatross today! Every bird swirl that enveloped consisted of at least two of the world’s largest seabirds! With a 3m wingspan, these awe inspiring, globe navigating animals are able to stay at sea for up to 7 years without touching land!
The customers described the watercolor as “Gatorade blue” today, especially when we encountered inverted orcas rolling beneath the hull! Even the saddle patches behind the orcas dorsal fins shone like a beacon as a wall of orcas pulsed directly toward us! We had a whole pod of 8 killer whales from 2-9m in length and all ages coming toward us in ONE wave crest! When you witness an orca face on they look like they’re smiling like the joker from ear to ear! (So did our customers!) once the entire pod split and hovered alongside us, rolling on their sides to get an eye in!
We were treated to multiple spy-hops today, the best one right at our 6’oclock after the SECOND kill of the day! The blood bubble erupted in front of us, soon the sea turned green and oil dissipated over the surface. We didn’t get to see what animal lost its place in the gene pool but it was much larger than yesterday’s squid!
As we sat stationary awaiting the orca’s return from the depths our skipper ran out of the wheelhouse…” WERE GOING INTO LOCKDOWN”, it was like Deja vu! This time two months early, and just like that covid had entered our lives once again. We’re beyond grateful to have the experience that we did today, before many of our customers head back to their homes to batten down the hatches, lets hope its all just 5 days! The day was over but these memories will be hard to forget! From sharks, sex, spy-hops, and surging ALL before 12 pm today was a great day in Bremer Bay for killer whale watching!