After yesterday’s amazing predation in the east, we decided to venture west for the day and it did not disappoint! We started searching 54km offshore at one of our favourite little nooks in the canyon. As soon as we crept over the continental shelf we sighted orca, however the excitement soon died down as they disappeared right before our eyes! The orca sure can be elusive when they want to be!
For the majority of the day we were entertained by four juveniles that played within close proximity to the vessel, getting closer and more boisterous with every minute that their parents weren’t present! Although we couldn’t see the adults, they never seem to be too far away, always staying close enough to communicate with their young.
We were also lucky enough to encounter some extremely close interactions between the juvenile orca and a pod of long-finned pilot whales and their calves! The pods circled the boat for over 15 minutes, not seeming distressed or in their usual tight-knit formation as there was no threat without the presence of the bull or a matriarch female. The youngsters performed countless spy hops, almost as if it was a game!! Every time the larger juvenile launched out of the water to take a peek at us the three smaller calves propelled their tiny bodies at it with force, as though they were playing the “beaked whale predation” game, practicing for the real thing! The swell picked up significantly during the afternoon, providing the perfect waves to ride for both the young and adult orca that had returned to the group, also making for a magnificent sight for our customers! The juveniles proceeded to stay within close proximity to the vessel, launching each other right out of the water as they tumbled and played, clearly not listening to their parents that ventured ahead of us and beyond the approaching swell.
The large group of orca and all of their calves had clean and unrecognisable fins, soon discovering that the majority of the animals had yet to be catalogued! This is exciting news as the whole dynamic of the ecosystem starts to change with the changing seasons, currents, weather systems and therefore the entire food chain out here in the Canyon. Some of our predominant pods have been scarce over the previous week as new animals start to move into the hotspot, making for exciting times ahead! Who knows what tomorrow shall bring!