Hey guys! I’m Em, the marine intern for the week, and I’m gonna run you through today’s trip into the canyon. Half the ecosystem came out to play today and we were so stoked to see it! It was a beautiful sunny morning as we cruised out to the canyon in a light breeze and low swell.
As we travelled out from the harbour, we were admiring the research vessel RV Falkor, which aims to uncover the secrets of the Bremer Canyon. Before we even made it to the hotspot we were surprised by an unlikely visitor – a New Zealand fur seal! He looked to be enjoying the sunshine even more than we were. He was floating happily on the surface, with his flippers up in the air for a little thermoregulation! Occasionally he’d roll over to breathe or take a peek at us and seemed pretty stoked with all the cameras pointed his way!
Rolling into the hotspot we were stoked to see one of the biggest males we have here in the canyon – El Notcho was on the scene with his pod! Old oil slicks on the surface suggested the orcas had enjoyed an early morning feed and they were leisurely as they cruised around the boat and the canyon. The orcas were cruising around, super relaxed around the boat, and diving down for five minutes or so at a time. It was like they thought it was a game, popping up here and there in all directions leaving us scrambling to keep up!
As we played hide and seek with the orca we were lucky enough to spot another unexpected visitor – a hammerhead shark! It was moving quickly all by itself at the surface of the water and looked to be a juvenile scalloped hammerhead. You never know what you will run into out here!
Later in the arvo, we closed in on a few blows and saw we were in the company of a huge pod of longfin pilot whales! As we moved alongside them we saw pilot whales in every direction as far as the eye could see. As huge males surfaced beside the boat, mothers with calves popped up here and there in front of us. We spent ages hanging out with them and the mothers and calves got braver and braver and ended up showing off right in front of us! The whales looked beautiful in the golden afternoon sun and it was so cool hanging out with such a huge number of them. Some slapped their tails and others rolled over to show us their bellies and it looked like they were having just as good a time as we were.
After a great time hanging out with the pilot whales, we turned towards home. Lots of us thought we were done for the day, but we thought wrong! First, we ran into another New Zealand fur seal, just as relaxed and friendly as the first. Next, as we got closer to the harbour we found a pod of very excited common dolphins! They were bolting around so quickly, and heaps of them were surfing the wave of the boat. Some of them breached all the way out of the water!
Quality time with the orcas and surprise encounters with pilot whales, seals, and a shark – another incredible day in Bremer Bay! You truly never know what you might see in this incredible place!