Approximately FORTY storm petrels greeted us on arrival to the Hotspot this morning, not “the most ever seen in the canyon” but certainly a great sight! The orca had already devoured breakfast but it didn’t hit the spot as they continued to forage. El Notcho and Cookie’s pod were busy and extremely uninterested in us so rather than motoring around them we decided to go find a different pod!
Not too far further along the contour line was Razor, calf Blade and their BFFS (very scientific orca terminology). These whales shot over to us as soon as we were in eye sight and buzzed around the boat greeting us! Nibbles and Digby were off in the distance leading the dispersed pod west. We were on the trailing end and had the curious calves playing around with us. A pirouette spy hop was the highlight as Blade and Shepp, followed closely by their Mums, raced past the boat, tumbled through the waves, pushing and shoving each other – seemingly daring to get closer to the boat. The mums couldn’t let the youngsters have all the fun and they too joined in on the action by running in to a helpless sunfish, pushing it up and out of the water! After each play they would try catch back up to the bulls who were busy seeking out prey.
We had been watching Nibbles and Digby from afar when they moved in and b-lined straight for the maternal pod, semingly fed up with the unhelpful lot. Once they had joined in, the pod’s demeanour changed from a playful one to hunting! They began searching the depths spending only a few minutes at a time up on the surface catching their breath. Oil slicks were appearing and the Storm Petrels danced across the surface but no prey item brought to the shallows. As last drinks were called this afternoon the Orca swam directly under us and off to the West saying goodbye and securing their spot in our passenger’s hearts.