The type of day that keeps on giving!
Each passing moment on the killer whales expedition today was filled with passionate conversations and curious cetaceans.
A shy sperm whale in the hotspot drew our attention this morning. The distinctive angled blow created a discussion topic on the spermaceti filled heads and ambergris filled gut of the current day dinosaur that is SPERM WHALES. However our views were fleeting and this shy creature didn’t hang around for long.
Sightings of blows by our legendary photographer Machi, uncovered two pods of orca! The familiar piccaso, patch and their youngster who we haven’t sighted since mid March. This trio were with the eight orca from our last expedition, yes those who we have barely had the chance to get to know!
These orca were VERY relaxed and cruising around in the calm southern ocean. The two or three year old calf from the new pod couldn’t help itself but get a closer look at our vessel. It came in along the side of our vessel, swam with us for a moment. Then to the other side, the same behaviour then back to mum. A slight change in behaviour saw the orca spread out and spend lots of time underwater – we got the hint, so on we went!
After many hours on the water today, we unfortunately headed home without catching a glimpse of the main attraction, orca.
Although orca-less, our day certainly wasn’t without wildlife. Pilot Whales kept us entertained in the morning while we encountered energetic striped dolphins at midday and then a lone bull sperm whale in the afternoon.
Squalls of light rain whooshed past us, and on the horizon were more patches of this same weather. It provided an epic moody backdrop, with a waterspout appearing at one point! A waterspout is a vortex or column of water connecting the ocean to the clouds above. Basically like a mini cyclone. Ours juuuuust touched, enough for Machi to get a legendary photograph.
The grand finale to our day was the spy hopping pilot whales! A whack-a-mole style interaction! A pod of almost 200 whales each took their turn to spy hop and get a better look at our vessel. Over 50 spy hops in the space of a few minutes. I have never had an interaction like this before and it certainly cemented the fun and lovable cetacean that they are. You never knew where the little black basketball shaped heads would pop up next. Some would only show up to their chins, pursed lips breaking the surface to only point skywards. Others would show their entire heart-shaped white chest markings, by pushing their bodies a metre or so up.
A slow, steady cruise back into harbour with a short stop via Glasse Island to look at the sleeping Sea Lions, topped our day off. All in all a well-rounded and eventful day!