Hey, I’m Julia and I’m lucky enough to be this week’s marine intern! Our day started with a very RARE and unexpected sighting of more than six BLUE WHALES! The animals varied in age and size quite significantly! The mother/calf pair were the closest to shore, tracking along he 70-meter contour mark which is well before the drop off to the shelf! The ocean giants were traveling from east to west, calmly cruising in a loose group which isn’t often seen amongst blue whales!
Our first sight of the orcas in Australia were the big splashes of them surging ahead of us. We were surrounded in a 3 nautical mile radius with more than 60 orcas! They were very focused today and swam with speed, surging and porpoising, changing direction regularly. Our matriarch of the canyon SPLIT TIP made an appearance, of course, swimming up to the boat to say hello!!!
In an instant, the pods changed direction, all heading west and FAST! The orcas had led us to a MASSIVE oil slick. After weeks now, FINALLY a KILL!? Potentially a beaked whale or MAYBE even a solitary blue?! It was definitely a large mammal by the amount of oil! Only gizzards remained in which the two pods of orcas were dividing up when we arrived.
After the kill, it was time to PLAY! Split-tip could be seen playing with her grandkids. There were lots of tail slapping, swimming upside down and BREACHING!! Wonks, Nibbles, and Digby were also seen. We were also lucky to witness spy-hops, another rare sight! SO MUCH happened over a 5 minute period after the kill, the excitement was high amongst the pods AND the customers!
Our next sighting was PILOT WHALES! The pod was very small and a seemingly perfect target for the orcas! The orcas were rounding them up, aggressively surging into the pod. They built up a lot of hype and we were ready to see a KILL, but nothing came of it….for now!
With all the extra energy they surged us almost half the way to Albany! They were still very playful and there were MORE breaching and tail slapping right next to the boat! We were surrounded by more than 30 orcas which were ALL displaying short downtime and COPIOUS surface activity.
Banjo and two ladies could be seen courting and showing off including even more breaching and tail-slapping between the wholesome group! We’ve NEVER encountered courtship behaviours SO CLOSE to the boat!
While we were busy following the playful orcas, in the distance was a SPERM WHALE TAIL UP DIVE! This massive whale was diving back down to its 2000 meter depths in the search of its next meal…That’s two in two days, it’s finally SPERM WHALE SEASON!
What a smorgasbord!!!!
We are a few days from our Augusta Whale Watching! Book your tickets now!