Breaching Bremer Bay Killer Whales lit up the Southern Ocean today as we watched spectacular surface activity during Orca courtship behaviour. Journeying to the Bremer Canyon we were stopped by cheeky Common Dolphins who spent some time bow riding with us, a beautiful way to start the morning. Arriving in the Patch we could see an enormous oil slick spread out across the surface and dozens of Shearwaters, Storm Petrels and Albatross hovering. All of this activity but no Orca, it was time to go on the hunt and focus in on the movements of our apex predators. Looking carefully and following the signs, it took 45 minutes before Jade called out to our port side, “I think we have breaching Orca!’. All eyes scanned the horizon and we were amazed, Jade had spotted the distinctive plume of white water over a kilometre away and with a gentle rain obscuring the view.
Suddenly, we had Orca surging towards the bow and amongst the pitter patter of rain were dozens of Orca racing towards us. We could recognise two different family pods to start which quickly grew to four as further Orca moved through the area. In total we had approximately 60+ Orca and for the next three hours were amazed to witness powerful surface displays including breaching, tail lobbing, tail slapping, head lunging and inverted fluke slapping. The males from these four different families numbered 8+ and they were actively flirting with the females, especially Lucky and her pod.
B-Slice would swim belly up underneath the females trying to get their attention as Kai and Cortez performed the same flirty behaviour. The entire entourage of Orca were all excited and full of energy as they surrounded our vessel and we watched breaching Bremer Bay Killer Whales behind, to the side and directly in front of us! Lucky also revealed a brand new addition to her family today, a Orca calf who would be approximately 4-12 weeks old and very cute, the mother of this calf appears to be Kirra and if so this would be her very first calf… exciting times in the canyon!