The day started off with a BANG, the crew screaming ORCA within the first 5 minutes of dropping over the shelf! Of course it was El Notcho and his pod. The way El Notcho glides through the water like butter truly is an incredible sight! It wasn’t long and at least TWO more pods were sighted in the distance, with screams ORCA at two, followed by ORCA at 7 O’CLOCK! The customers were mind blown, leaving them with the hard decision of WHERE to look?! For the next 45 minutes we cruised with El Notchos pod as they scanned the area for food. The intensity of their behaviour paired with the pods co-operation definitely equates to their success when on the hunt! But..not so far! Still, no swirls of birds and no oil slicks, suggesting the family were yet to find their lunch. Then all of a sudden in the blink of an eye everything changed, the energy rose and just like that….THEY WERE ON!!!!! The crew yelled HOLD ON, the motors revved as we gained speed, charging with the pod at 25 knots! The bull surged past the boat, porpoising and punching through the water with splashes of white on either side of the boat. ORCA from far beyond the stern passing us with ease! Customers cheering as we pointed at every animal that arose from the deep blue! Nobody knowing where to aim their cameras as the white water splashed over the bow. It is breath taking to see how killer whales hunt and withstand such great speeds with such ease!
Although there were three different pods, it seemed as though one was calling the other two over to help with their kill. By now all three pods were in close proximity of each other and our vessel! The pursuit went on for 7 mile before the orca were gone! Chasing their pray down to the sub-surface! By now the pods had split up again, it seemed as though they came up short! OR we got there a little too late to witness the kill!
These intense chases and porpoising behaviours went on for hours, with pods travelling in every direction, the hardest choice was WHO to follow! Four large isosceles triangle shaped fins were spotted throughout the tour indicating the presence of four big and beautiful bulls! We followed a new pod who were headed back towards the “hotspot”. By now the orca seemed VERY hungry, giving the boat no notice as their surface activity shortened and their dive times increased. Not too far ahead was an oil slick! They finally made a kill! As we headed for home the orcas behaviour changed drastically, from wolf like pack hunting to giant sea puppy activity! We were MUGGED by orca!! Rolling on top of each other as they cruised past the boat at EVERY angle for over 10 minutes! It was such an amazing experience to witness both extremes in one tour! To top it all off a large pod of common dolphins decided to make an appearance, leaping through our wake towards us, then riding the bow for at least 15 minutes!
We definitely had 25 grins at the end of today’s tour (plus 5 more from the crew)! What a day in Bremer Bay! Bring on tomorrow!