Flashes of dark flesh amidst copious amounts of white water were what made up our first encounter….but was it orca??? As we edged toward the group we discovered it was in fact three adult sperm whales!!!The sperm whales came alongside for a brief moment before they proceeded to arch their peduncles into the air, launching their 60 tonne bodies back toward the depths, likely for a feed of giant squid! It didn’t take long to spot our black and white friends today! As we nudged closer we soon noticed a wide array of dorsal fins, all synchronising as they broke the surface. The docile, slow moving behaviour of over 25 orca were clear indications of the orca resting. When sleeping, the orca switch off half of their brain as they are conscious breathers, similar to dolphins. Killer whales usually sleep sporadically and for short periods, usually between 30-45 minutes at a time. Much of the day was spent with Nibbles, Kodja, Bear and another unknown males pod. The groups spent time within close proximity socialising, also splitting up to increase their chances of honing in on prey whilst they were hunting and on the prowl for a beaked whale..or two. Both groups lined up into an echelon formation while they patrolled the area around the “S-bends”, which may I add, looked so impressive alongside the vessel!! At one stage we had orca on our port side, between us and the other whale watching vessel and off on their starboard side, which consisted of over 40 individuals sprawled in a line! Once the orca awoke from their nap they changed course taking us on a multidirectional route over an 8 mile radius, patrolling for a nice afternoon snack! After over an hour of cruising the orcas behaviour changed in the blink of an eye! A large bull started to tail slap and the cracking sound that emitted off the water vibrated through everyone on the bow! This set off the whole pod! Tail slaps soon escalated into breaches, and all sorts of funny manoeuvres! All of which seemed to be mating behaviour to impress the many females in the area. While the sub-adults and adults showed off for us the calves and juveniles proceeded to come alongside the vessel to check us out while the parents weren’t looking! The sight of orca just below the surface never seizes to amaze! Teasing us just below the surface as to when they are going to surface, before launching their entire bodies out of the water! Today was definitely a textbook tour for our lucky customers!
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