The hotspot went from a bustling, high traffic city centre over the past few days to a completely deserted ghost town today! We spent the first half of the day searching all of our well-known waypoints, with not even a trace of life! We were excitedly led toward bird swirls and small slicks, coming up short each time before deciding to take the risk and head “far far away”! With every minute we ventured further and further from the hotspot, seeing nothing for miles when out of NOWHERE we sighted white water AND blows at our 12 O’clock!! The long wait had the anticipation skyrocketing as we edged closer toward the action! Surges and dorsal fins confirmed the presence of orca!!!! BUT WAIT, there was MORE!!! Blows at 45 degrees confirmed we had sperm whales within close proximity of the orca. As we approached the adult sperm whale, he soon raised his fluke high into the sky before plummeting to the depths, reverting our attention toward the orca! By now the orca were charging off in a tight group, forcing us to pick up speed to keep on their tail!! It wasn’t long at all before the orca started to dive, thrashing at the surface and exhaling deeply each time they surfaced, clearly honing in on their prey! The activity died down for a moment, and so did the weather! The sun parted between the clouds, the wind dropped off, and the orca rose up the swell as it lifted them toward the vessel! On the approach, the orca dived again, this time in a line, ALL blowing bubbles as the customers looked down and beneath the boat! Oil slicks soon scattered across the surface with the orca sporadically surfacing and submerging in an instant, which are clear signs of feeding! By now birds were swirling around the vessel, including a sooty albatross and a few other (potentially) rare birds (awaiting confirmation)!
El Notcho and Nibbles pods were amidst the kill, including the brand new little calf AND Razor with her new calf! The tiny calf had white markings all over its body and was still dark red on its white pigment, indicating it may likely be a neonate (few days old)! The action started to dissipate, for only a moment, before we sighted surging in the distance!! You guessed it; the angry little sausages were coming at us at full speed, just like clockwork! It took over 5 minutes for the long-finned pilot whales to reach the orca, which instantly dived on their arrival! It wasn’t long before the hundreds of pilot whales pulsed through the area, disappearing into the distance, making it a TRIFECTA of marine mammals sighted in the canyon today!!We remain shocked by this behaviour and the complexity of the relationship between the two species! Each encounter is so unique to the one prior, making it hard to develop a consistent theory! The orca/pilot whale relationship is one of the great mysteries of the canyon that will can only denote over time, so we better come back tomorrow!