Just like clockwork El Notcho and Cookie’s pod were spotted as we dropped off the shelf into the hotspot! We noticed a slowly dissipating oil slick, missing the action only by moments! The pod spent a few minutes below the surface in search of their next meal, then coming up to the surface for a quick reprieve before their white markings faded into the deep blue again! Every surface was like clockwork, making a great game for the customers and crew!
Orca can hold their breath for just over 15 minutes, diving to depths of up to 900 metres. The pods behaviour continued predictably as other Orca such as B-slice and Mako another large bull came into sight. The pods were keeping a safe distance, moving through the swell with ease in tight formation until a curious female began to mob us!! The customers cheered, moving from each side of the vessel as the curious Orca rolled and turned under the hull of the boat, coming right up beside us, so close that we could feel the blows! We know this orca was a female as our underwater cameras spied her single genital slit and two mammary glands which are her nipples! Cheers and laughter were infectious as the orca kept returning for just one more look as we tried to edge away!
As the wind dropped so did the energy from the Orca. The pods began to slowly head south further into the canyon where the sea floor plummets to over 1200meters! The groups formed an almost perfect line formation stretching as far as the eye could see on either side of the boat. Nobody knew where to look as the pods glided through the surface like butter for one last pass by before disappearing on us in an instant!
As the wind completely dropped off, orca interactions were few and far between! Eager eyes were scanning the horizon for a fin when we spotted a fin, however it wasn’t an orca….it was a sunfish! Gracing the surface the sunfish laid on its side warming his body through thermoregulation between feeding on bluebottles that bobbed at the surface!
The crew are always on the lookout and as we were travelling back to shore we spotted a beautiful big jellyfish with a colony of small fish finding refuge within the tentacles.
To top it all off, our end of trip drive-by Glasse Island presented us with the surprise and rare visit from a Little Penguin.
We cannot wait to see what weird and wonderful animals we will see tomorrow! And of course our Orca!
Images by Keith Lightbody and Sharkyaerials.