NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
El Notcho, Cookie and Oreo were south west of the hotspot AGAIN today. This seems to be a place of interest for this pod being the third time this week they have been sighted down here. Maybe they just like giving the hotspot and the beaked whales a break from their constant presence! This pod wasn’t alone here today. They were accompanied by a NEW pod! A mother and calf pair who we have not sighted before! Among other pod members too. The mother had very distinctive scarring on her dorsal and it does not match up with any individuals from our current catalogue of Killer Whales (Supplied by Project Orca).
Very exciting as it may be putting one more piece of this puzzle together!
These two pods moved effortlessly together, El Notcho and the new male were very comfortable in each others presence and the females and juveniles formed a maternal pod with the teeny calf. With three breaches from El Notcho, the two pods separated and one went north and the other, went south in the complete opposite direction.
We searched far far away for an inkling of more orca action. There tends to be a lot of fish, oil and birds in this area and on occasion ORCA! We have been successful finding multiple pods of orca hunting together here. Today we had no such luck. So on we searched back towards our hotspot. This proved successful with multiple pods all aggregating together as the wind started to pick up and our rolling swell kept us on our toes.
These pods were in their own family groups but clearly working on a larger scale. Each time they surfaced it was synchronised. Each individual at the EXACT same time. It was incredible to witness such large numbers of orca spread out over a vast area, all manoeuvring together. They were chasing fish with lots of birds scanning the sky above.
These pods were El Notcho and Cookie again, PLUS the male FUE, named last year and his pod. This VERY large male appeared even bigger with this pod of six in close quarters. In addition to today, the last time Fue and pod were observed was in March last year and had not been sighted since. It’s great to see more unfamiliar pods utilising the nutrient waters around the hotspot. It is also great to see this pod still happy and healthy, having made it through another winter – wherever that may have been.
A female from this pod came over for a final pass. She deviated from the pods synchro and headed straight for us. She dived slowly under our bow as we idled holding our breaths. This big female popped up on our 12 o’clock and did a BIG POOP! We couldn’t contain the laughter, and with the cloud of green she had just left for us she went back to the pod’s busy schedule. Our passengers certainly got to experience a lot today, and will hopefully hold onto these memories for years to come! Here’s to meeting new orca and being the butt of orca jokes.