Three pods straight off the bat! El Notcho, Maleko, and Nani’s groups were all within a mile of each other. The pods were intently patrolling the high seas in search of their next meal. The Australian orca populations have a very diverse diet and unique hunting techniques for each prey item. Marine mammals– minke whales, humpbacks, blue whales, beaked whales, dolphins, fish– swordfish, sunfish, tuna, cephalopods – colossal squid, giant squid the list goes on! What would be on the menu today???
This time of year the predominant prey item seems to be the beaked whales, and more recently the larger baleen whales as they begin to migrate north from their Antarctic feeding grounds. With the current La Nina and warming waters, many whales have been sighted off the WA coast from Bremer, Albany, and even as north as Dunsborough already! A few unlucky whales have been caught running the gauntlet through the killer whale hotspot, some making out alive, others losing their place in the gene pool.
The weather conditions were quite similar to yesterday, resulting in more optimal orca activity! The three pods all took turns throughout the day making a beeline for us with continuous close passes and flashes of black and white as they surfed the treacherous seas toward us! Little NEEEEEEOOOO was definitely the crowd highlight! The curious 2-year-old is getting more playful with each encounter! The youngster continuously left the pod to come and inspect our hull before bursting out of the water in the “free willy” formation!
The pods were actively hunting well into the afternoon, with no signs of a substantial feed. Two days of searching will hopefully equate to an action-packed day for us tomorrow! Stay tuned to find out!