We’ve had quite the contrast in weather and sightings over the past 3-4 days! From seas so large we had to cancel to waters so calm we had no orca – and everything in between. Today the forecast was more than promising with +3m swell and consistent winds, the perfect equation for orca action. We weren’t wrong!
A large bird swirl was the first thing to catch our eye as we edged over the continental shelf. The number and form of the swirling birds were quite impressive even on their own. It wasn’t long before white tuffs formed, closely followed by falcate fins – orcas!
Two mature bull fins rose on either side of the vessel, Maleko and Chalky were discussing the canyons food distribution scheme along with other current events. The pair actively patrolled the periphery, occasionally surfing the swell toward us. We were soon greeted by El Notcho and his gang Cookie, Oreo, Kalimna, Spock, and Swirl. It seems as though El Notcho has reclaimed his top “notch” as far as hierarchy goes. The other pods kept their distance as the “royal family” made their way into the hotspot.
Before lunch, we were treated to some energetic surging activity that drove us back up the continental shelf with all three pods! They only took us a mile along the shelf before splitting back up into their family groups and headed off on separate trajectories. The question was…WHO to follow?
We decided to cruise along with the all-stars – El Notcho! Our decision paid off we were soon off on the SURGE again! This time the pod took us west toward the S-bends, they’d definitely picked up on something by the way they were surging. There was intent in their movement and co-ordination amongst the pod. After five-mile, the pod took a dive and the anticipation amidst the customers and crew rose immensely. Especially after coming up short in the morning! WHAT were we in for?
The next sighting was a group of 3 grays beaked whales! Only two surfaced more than once with one getting close enough to be able to discern the species. WHERE were the orcas?! It seemed that the beaked whales were successful in evading the orcas! With no sign of El Notchos pod, we decided to head back to the hotspot. We soon sighted the orcas again BUT only beneath the surface! The cheeky orcas must’ve been a little hangry by now after TWO near misses for their lunch. The pod ducked and weaved JUST beneath the water and even under the hull without breaking the surface once!
On that note, it was time to head home. Let’s hope they’re successful tomorrow!