The hunting techniques of Orca (Killer Whales) vary greatly around the world and from one pod to another. Specialised hunters will focus on one food source while generalist hunters can consume a wide variety ranging from fish through to other marine mammals. Today we certainly were thinking about the hunting behaviour of the Orca of Bremer Canyon as we watched for the second time this season a pod of Orca shadowing a large bull Sperm Whale, were they planning on pilfering the hard earned meal from the largest toothed predator on the planet? It definitely seemed that way as we watched the Sperm Whale focus on replenishing his oxygen levels after a deep dive while the Orca lingered around only 100 meters away.
The large male Orca who seemed most keen on staying close to the Sperm Whale was Kodja, a well known male from the Bremer Canyon who was named after the Aboriginal Noongar word for spear. His name certainly is fitting for such a large male Orca who was showing us his hunting thought pattern but today may not have been the right time so the pod of five continued their forage along the canyon wall. The breach of a much loved Orca known as Swirl caught our attention and she raced over to greet us like a long lost friend, even though we had seen her just a day ago! The rest of Swirls pod joined up with us and as one we marched back towards The Patch as the afternoon sun changed their hunting behaviour once again.
A sleepy New Zealand Fur Seal was looking rather motionless on the surface before his big whiskers spun around to look up at everyone on the bow, he seemed pleased to see us and decided it was time to show off his thermoregulation which is most commonly seen in marine mammals. The NZ Fur Seals will hold onto their flippers above the oceans surface to regulate their core body temperature, a breeze will cool the blood down while the warm sun will increase the warmth of their blood as it travels back to their core, this way they can maintain the perfect temperature in between diving for the next meal!