The birds had found something interesting on the surface of the Southern Ocean and we could hear the muffled squabbles of arguing Flesh Footed Shearwater. The reason for the noise was quickly sighted, squid was floating on the surface and even the Albatross had joined in for the breakfast feast! We had the perfect opportunity to capture what remained of an Orca’s morning meal and with a little bit of patience a small amount of squid was collected and will be passed on to researchers who will be able to use this to determine which species of squid the pelagic seabirds and Australian Orca had been enjoying.
The Orca must have been close and as we scanned the calm oceans surface we sighted in the distance a very large dorsal of a male Orca and it was quickly followed by fourteen others. Joining up with this large pod we sighted two well known individuals including the handsome young male Bear and the very special Lucky who is missing her dorsal fin. The importance of the dorsal fin for an Orca includes their balance and most interestingly it helps in keeping their body temperature correct. During the summer months on warmer days (especially if you have a thick blubber layer!) and when working hard while hunting it would be easy for a large Orca to feel the heat . The dorsal fin breaking the surface and making contact with the ocean breeze will assist in heat loss and keep their core body temperature at the right level.