Hi everyone! My name’s Eva and I’ve been lucky enough to be on board Naturaliste Charters as the marine intern all of this week. It’s my first time in Bremer AND seeing orcas and it has (almost) literally blown my mind. I am so stoked to have had this opportunity to see all the unbelievable creatures that live in this region and to meet such incredible, friendly and knowledgeable crew and customers every day!
Today was absolutely unreal! We had beautiful weather – loads of sunshine and just enough swell for us to be positive we were going to see some orcas. Energy was high on board, with anticipation building on the ride out to the hotspot. Before we knew it, the yell came down, “Blows – 11 o’clock!” Everyone rushed to get a view of what we might be seeing this morning then, “More blows – 2 o’clock!”. Orca, and two pods of them! We headed towards the nearest pod and were greeted by the big bull with the females and a young calf! The calf swam towards the boat and dove under – we all ran towards the stern of the boat, but they were teasing us and popped back up at our bow. Before long, we were joined by more orca, with Cookie’s resident pod heading into the area to dive with Kodja and Co! While most people on board were watching the action, enthralled with the synchronised behaviour of the two pods, the crew were constantly scanning the water and noticed at least 3 other pods in alignment with us, all heading west.
Before we knew it, the pods around the boat started surging! Conversation stopped, and after a period of silence, everyone began specualting what the pods may be hunting. We saw big bird swirls in the distance, indicating that there might be something big being taken down. After a chase, the pods dove and we thought the mystery was about to be revealed! After a period of big dives, we saw Split Tip and her pod pop up from the depths, which meant we were right in the centre of things! The birds began squabbling and we were all squinting to see what they had in their mouths. After a few more dives, the pods split up and began moving slowly apart. We were stumped – had they failed in their hunt? Or had they just been teasing us? Then, we saw a huge hunk of squid floating on the surface of the water – we pulled it aboard and identified it as a red arrow squid! THAT’S what the orca had been hunting below us!
We decided to give the pods a break that we’d been watching over the morning, and within 20 minutes of leaving them, we saw another big group with THREE huge bull dorsal fins! Slim Shady, Chalky and Maleko who’s pods were all hanging out together. It was pretty special to see such a large amount of orca surfacing to breath all together. We thought the day couldn’t possibly get better than this, and were thinking about heading back in, with “Last drinks!” called around the boat, when ANOTHER pod headed over to us! And it seemed they really wanted to put on a show for us all! We had multiple orcas diving under our boat and coming up along our side, with even the big bulls getting involved! In all the excitement, we lost a camera cover over the back of the boat and mentally noted to head back for it once the orcas dove again. But the orcas had other ideas – with one coming up below to wear it as a hat! As the pods began moving away, a juvenile swung around for one last inquisitive wave just below the surface at our stern. As we started heading in, looking around the boat, you couldn’t see a face without a huge grin on it. Such an incredible day!
I’ve still got one day left here and every day just keeps topping the day before! I’m so excited for what tomorrow may bring.