Orca Mating in The Bremer Canyon

A truely extraordinary day as we witnessed Orca mating in the Bremer Canyon right under our feet! Queen (Split Tip) had the attention of a young male known as Hookfin and was leading him on a journey away from the rest of her family as this amorous male swam underneath Queen with his belly facing towards hers. We watched on in amazement as Hookfin continued to make advances towards Queen and mating was sighted between the two along with a sight rarely seen in the Western Australian Orca population, the privates of a male Orca in full display! A matriarch of the family will often take on the advances of young males to prevent them from harassing the other females in the family, especially now that we know Flapper has a young calf Queen wouldn’t want any problems with a cheeky male approaching. The rest of the family were in high spirits as they porpoised next to our vessel and two of the young calves were playing with their small morsel of food they were carrying with them. Chalky who is the son of Queen was keeping a close eye on proceedings and never ventured too far away until after approximately one hour of this continued interaction Queen appeared to have had enough. Powerful fluke slaps sent Hookfin a few meters away from her and as she swam towards us looking for a distraction we could see Chalky surging towards the boat, mum had called him in to help get control of the situation!

Hookfin continued his advances and we watched as Queen flicked him away with her fluke and rolled belly up alongside us and only meters away. Hookfin didn’t seem to slow his continued mating attempts until a dark shadow appeared underneath the two… Chalky had arrived and the show was over. Within seconds and with just a steely look from Chalky, Hookfin had gotten the message and reluctantly moved away from Queen, much to her relief! To witness such an incredible interaction was phenomenal and observing their behaviour in this situation taught us an incredible amount. Watching two Orca swim belly to belly and mating as we sighted the female matriarch protecting her family from the amorous advances of a young, testosterone focused male is remarkable. Over one hundred Pilot Whales were also surging just behind us as they confidently moved in behind the Orca, gaining ground as they moved through the feeding zone. Two NZ Fur Seals resting in the sunshine along with a beautiful Sunfish with his family of little fish following him along added to an already extraordinary day. A very special sighting of a Beaked Whale (unidentified species) as he glimpsed the surface on three occasions to replenish oxygen stores before disappearing back to the depths of the canyon below, we even managed to do a bit of rubbish collecting today as a white hessian bag and fifteen meters of rope and two floats was collected. A day that was filled with wonderful experiences and our guests are now one of very few people on the planet to witness Orca mating!

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