*DISCLAIMER* Please do not view this blog if you have a weak stomach! The images attached are very graphic and capture a beaked whale being taken down by orca (both description and imagery are explicit).
The morning was slow to start, after 30 minutes of nothing but blue we decided to head south of the “hotspot”. Once sighted, the orca were timid but still an awe inspiring sight for the customers that had ALL never placed their eyes on these black and white beauties before! Slim Shady’s pod scouted the waters, patrolling the sub-surface for hours, displaying very similar behaviour as yesterday. Four minutes down, 2 minutes up, making every surfacing orca a challenge to spot, as by now they could be any direction AND distance from the vessel! Long story short…persistence pays off!!!! Our patient punters were about to witness a once in a lifetime experience. The next time the orca surfaced EVERYTHING changed, and in an instant the orca started to surge past the boat before we could even yell ITS ON!!!!! We gathered everyone inside, told them to hold on and we attempted to keep up with the black and white bullets! As we scanned our eyes out beyond the near porpoising orca we could see white water and fins coming from every direction! But okay lets skip right to the gory details! Please only read on if you’re ready for a gruesome and brutal description of what we all witnessed today…let us also remind you that this is all part of nature. It is a privilege in itself to see these beautiful animals in the wild but to observe an apex predator do what its biologically manufactured to do amongst its’ pod is almost UNCONCEIVABLE, even after witnessing it with your own eyes! The orca were honing in and circling a small area near the bow, while over 20 other orca steamed in from the port side. While the majority of eyes gazed at the passing orca, trying to capture the surging water erupting over their faces as they punched passed us, something was escalating at the bow! Two large bulls were amongst the ever growing group of orca that were creating a vortex right in front of us! In an instant blood bubbled up from the depths and exploded into the air! Flashes of a somehow still intact beaked whale rose between the pod! Its head lunged into the sky as it gasped for another breath! The orca were starting to dismantle the beaked whale right in front of us! Every time the bulls pushed the mangled body back under the surface we thought it would be the last! The prevailing colour of the water around us changed to a shade of dark green from the pools of blood trailing out of the carcass, an oil slick developed and a very distinct “organic” smell wafted towards the vessel. The orca forced the beaked whale back to the surface, this time we could only see glimpses of what we later discovered to be a body with holes where the pec fins had been, completely disabling what was left of the beaked whale. Let me just add this whole encounter flashed before our eyes in less than 5 minutes! BLOOD, GORE, and GUTS!!!!! The last and final surfacing was brutal to say the least! By now the orca had peeled back the beaked whales blubber like a banana, skinning it whole, only to leave the beak intact before splitting the animal in half! Guts, intestines and other indescribable insides bulged out of the flesh whilst the five dominant males shredded the carcass into pieces, proceeding to take the chunks of flesh back to their pods! Amongst all the action staff started to speculate, it wasn’t until we stopped and properly scanned the images that we could confirm, not ONE but TWO beaked whales were taken down today. The size and colour difference of the animals quickly determined that what we had witnessed was in fact a mother AND a calf being hunted to their gruesome death!!!!!! We believe that the species is the Cuvier’s beaked whale but are happy and open to other informed suggestions from our followers and fellow researchers! After 20 minutes of high intensity action and adrenaline filled encounters the ocean started to settle. The whole boat was silent, we were all trying to absorb what had just unveiled right in front of us, all definitely in shock! As IF we hadn’t witnessed enough, we were greeted by over 100 angry little sausages (long-finned pilot whales) that proceeded to nudge the orca out of the area and off into the distance and just like that, the action was over as quickly as it escalated!