Bremer Bay Orca Attack Sperm Whale Pod

Bremer Bay Orca Attack Sperm Whale Pod Whale Watch Western Australia

Bremer Bay Orca attack Sperm Whale pod during an epic battle between the largest toothed predator on our planet and our oceans apex predator. Today began like any other day as we welcomed our Pod Members onboard and began the journey out towards The Patch and within moments of arriving blows were sighted just ahead. It was wonderful to see Alki and her family pod together as they approached to greet us good morning before continuing on with foraging. El Notcho was also lingering nearby as we settled in with Tarni and Stevie who were doing their part in helping by maintaining a good eye and ear over the little area they were covering. The morning observed very focused and dedicated search mode as the energy amongst the Orca had us all on edge and a feeling they were closing in on the prey they were stalking. It had been three solid hours of focused searching where suddenly Tarni and Stevie launched forwards as they regrouped with pod members and the surge was on, they had closed in on what they had been stalking.

Momentum carried them quickly as surging Orca could be observed far and wide with a surprise visitor launching alongside us, it was matriarch Cookie! She was leading the race towards their prey and was completely focused and motivated as she streamed ahead of everyone else. The rest of her family along with members of Queen and Alki’s pod were racing to catch up with Cookie and before we knew it our location was high up on the continental shelf and in only 90 meters of water. Cookie slowed and we could see her lingering for a few moments as she waited for further pod members to continue closing in as we finally could see what she had been moving towards… it was a pod of young Sperm Whales. The pod had noticed the Orca charging towards them and were regrouping as they swam towards our bow nervously when Cookie suddenly came flying through the water like a rocket at them all. Scattering frantically the Sperm Whales rolled and pivoted quickly to form a rosette in defensive towards the escalating Orca attack.

A rosette is where the Sperm Whales will face each other and point their fluke outwards to create a defensive barrier and hopefully protect themselves from the Orca. The youngest member of this pod was placed in the centre of the rosette for extra protection as they worked magnificently together to form a defensive barrier and it was clear not one of these Sperm Whales was going to leave the others behind, they were all in this together. Orca continued to stage further attacks as they propelled themselves at the Sperm Whales trying to find a weakness or seperate one of the individuals. Inflicting wounds was also the focus of the Orca as any blood loss would weaken the Sperm Whales but remarkably these youngsters continued to persist with their rosette and hold that defensive barrier making it very difficult for the Orca to get close enough. It was a relief to see the Sperm Whales doing so well under such intensive pressure and although young we could see clearly that their mums had taught them well on how to defend themselves from Orca.

On two occasions the larger Sperm Whale deliberately defecated on the Orca as they approached which worked in a defensive manner to disorientate and create a rather unpleasant experience for the Orca. Wonks got covered and was not very pleased as he peeled away quickly, the tactic worked very well in that situation! The attacks began to lessen in frequency as it was clear the young Sperm Whales were winning the battle as the Orca began to lose interest with no wounds clearly observed on any of the Sperm Whales. Shredder tried once more but ended up with more Sperm Whale poo directed her way which she was not pleased about at all. Shredder began to tail slap before one last powerful tail lob seemed to reflect her frustration as the Orca regrouped and began to slowly move back out towards The Patch. The young Sperm Whales started to relax and after staying at the surface throughout the entire battle which lasted just over one hour they finally disappeared below the surface as it appeared they began moving off in the opposite direction.

Needless to say we were in awe of the incredible event we had just witnessed with the extraordinary confidence of the Orca to attempt such a hunt and the immensely loyal and brave actions of the Sperm Whales to defend and protect each other. It is rare to witness such an event with very few recordings from around the world throughout history. During previous encounters with the Bremer Bay Orca and Sperm Whales we have seen a few halfhearted attempts from the Orca to approach/hassle the Sperm Whales but never with this much focus and intensity before. A battle witnessed that we will always remember and we know that today both the Orca and Sperm Whales learnt many lessons from such an intense interaction which will hold them all in good stead for their futures ahead especially that of our very brave Sperm Whales.

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