Well what started as an overcast day in the harbour certainly did not stay that way out in the canyon!
A pod of Striped dolphins bouncing and porpoising playing in our bow wave were the teaser for the day as we dropped off the continental shelf with the sun beaming above.
The first glimpses of orca were by the tail slipping duo Noosa and Urkel. These two were cruising west, slapping the water’s surface with their tails when Urkel catapulted himself out of the water, breaching TWICE right before our eyes!! The first was absolutely outstanding, with his body and tail clearing the water almost vertically!! He hit the surface, belly-flop style with a distinct ‘boof’ and proceeded to breach again, this time with not so much gusto but still spectacular to see none the less. He caught us all by surprise but we managed to capture his second attempt on camera!
Our morning was filled with orca action as we began to notice blows along the horizon, a breaching sperm whale in the distance was signalling to the orca to stay out of his space but the orca seemed to take no notice as multiple pods could now be distinguished all moving in the same direction in a line formation. Surging! It was ON… or so we thought…
We passed Urkel and Noosa and went to check out who else was in the line-up. Billie, Nicki and Madison next then Flapper, lil Machi, Alki and more! Two of the unknown females from yesterday made up another pod and in the sixth pod… yes six… was Split Tip and Mako! Were they all hunting something and about to bring it up from the depths?
Twenty minutes had now elapsed and the orca slowed. The big suspense had fizzled with orca turning around and milling about as we suspect the unknown prey had escaped what was now approximately 50 apex predators (orca)!
As if that wasn’t enough for one day we were next treated with close passes from a curious cluster of juveniles. The three orca were rolling and pushing each other towards the boat when the dominant male Mako surfaced right at the bow with Split Tip close behind. It really puts into perspective the sizes of these calves and females when we can compare them next to the big bulls like today. This playful and curious behaviour continued before we finally headed off for home after another amazing day out in the canyon!