Well, Easter came and went and now we are already seven days into APRIL! Time flies when you’re having fun, right?
New weather reports indicate La Nina has eased off! This weather system brought WET conditions to the eastern and northern parts of Australia. It also brought a marine heatwave to the coastline of Western Australia. Temperatures reached 3 degrees WARMER than average!!! On land, that doesn’t appear to be much BUT in the water this is pretty drastic. It can cause mass bleaching and changes in the fisheries. The last marine heat wave we experienced was in 2010 – 2011. Here in Bremer, the waters are heavily influenced by the Leeuwin Current which brings warm northern water down around the South West corner and eddies out into this area. Which means we don’t see the dramatic changes but a temperature increase has definitely been noted! We have already noticed a few northern visitors too. For example, turtles and manta rays, along with our ‘early’ humpbacks and that very cute blue whale calf and mother!
With cetacean encounters aplenty we are enjoying the last few weeks of our 2021 time here in Bremer Bay.
We have had our first (known) MATCH for sperm whales this season! This confident, well-worn whale had an old but unique boat propeller scar down its back and helped match photos from yesterday’s expedition. Most likely making the most of the calm weather and the buffet of calamari in the depths below. The sperm whale was one of three today and logged just ahead of a large group of orca.
These orca also appeared to be utilising the calm seas. Maybe the calm before the storm, literally! The wind is forecast to reach 25 knots tomorrow!! A lay day is in store for us but the wild orca will be out there enjoying the dark n stormy seas.
Encounters of the maternal kind this morning, a very small orange calf escorted by mum and its four older day care buddies. They were travelling slowly with bursts of play. A cheeky spy hop and belly flops came from the smaller members of this pod. Split Tip was here, never venturing too far from the pod. She always seems to be where the teachings are. No doubt playing her crucial role of matriarch, passing on valuable information to the younger generations.
Blows in abundance! The further you looked out the more orca you could see. We had three defined pods with us and a fourth travelling in succession. Nibbles and his cheeky bro were showing off just as they have been for the last few weeks! Upside down belly roll style movements with nibbles coming up underneath pushing the smaller orca right out of the water. Back bends and lots of floppy relaxed dorsal fins were on show. Touch is very important in the whale world, no doubt more so than we fully understand.
With a return to “normality” for our weather patterns we hope to see a few of our typical orca come back, such as El Notcho and Cookie who have been notably absent for weeks. No daily whale blog tomorrow so keep an eye out for a special post instead 🙂