To drop over the shelf to the sight of 50 orca blows, hundreds of birds and a GIANT oil slick was exciting to say the least!!!!! As we approached the action we were GOBSMACKED at the sight of long-finned pilot whales, which were closely intermingled between the vast number of orca! This is the first EVER encounter of orca and pilot whales displaying a sense of mutualism! In the past, EVERY observation of long-finned pilot whales encroaching on the orca has been closely followed by the killer whales dispersing from the area. To have the two species almost hunting in between each other was equally amazing and mind boggling! From our observations we can only speculate, coming up with a plausible theory, so here it is!
The orca were feeding on beaked whales, from our images it suggests the species were greys beaked whales! The beaked whales feed on squid and baitfish and so do the pilot whales! So it’s possible that the beaked whales were feeding before being hunted, leaving plenty of squid/fish for the pilot whales to feed on amongst the action of the orcas predation! This also backs up our theory that the orca only disperse when then the pilot whales outnumber the orca and in this instance the orca definitely outnumbered the pilot whales, 50 to ~30 respectively!
We had countless recognisable orca amidst the war zone! With every minute the oil slick grew and the sub-surface massacre continued! Even calves were among the front line, being taught hunting techniques from the large females (of course our huntress split tip was front and centre)! The dominant bulls assisted each other as orca rose and dove at every angle! As the action died down the youngsters began to play! Nibbles pod hung around for quite some time before leaving the juveniles with us to babysit! Check out the images of the two joyous calves playing, porpoising and breaching at our bow for over an hour of endless enjoyment for our customers! The two cheeky calves almost looked as though they were playing chicken with the hull, seeing who could get closer with each run toward the vessel!
The orca cruised in close proximity to the boat all day, barely leaving our sight! Today was another day of witnessing hunting, playing and cruising ALL in one tour! Such an honour being able to witness these beautiful creatures in the wild and to see all facets of their being! It was another BRILLIANT day in Bremer Bay!