South West Killer Whales it was today as our journey took us on a beautiful day spent with Orca and the first Pilot Whales for Season 2020! After almost a full week of strong winds and large swell, the storm had finally cleared and it provided a perfect opportunity to get back out and see what was happening off the coastlines of Bremer Bay. Our first interaction was with a very relaxed Fur Seal who was enjoying the peaceful conditions and as we continued on to the west it wasn’t long before the distinctive dorsal fins of another top predator glided just up ahead of us. Pilot Whales! A very exciting moment to see the first for Season 2020 and as usual they had arrived in February, perfectly timing in with the peak of the feeding season. Surrounding us for almost an hour, they seemed as happy to see us as we were to see them and were actively vocalising both above and below the surface as we could hear the talkative chatter as they calmly relaxed on the bow.
The Short Finned Pilot Whales had been foraging in an area we have spent time in before and usually visit in late February to March. The South West Patch is another location along the shelf that particular Orca families tend to spend some time foraging in and today we were very pleased to see Lucky and her family. A surprise visitor was hanging out with them though and he was instantly recognisable as his big, beautiful face pushed right up towards our bow, it was B-Slice.
Now, what was this cheeky boy up to hanging out with Lucky and her family pod? He seemed to be sticking close to one of the females and perhaps a romance has been brewing since we sighted that courtship activity almost two weeks ago. Lucky and her pod were successful in hunting this afternoon as a large oil slick formed just before we departed and the hard work foraging had paid off for them which is always fantastic to sight. Even more fascinating was once the oil slick had appeared, B-Slice ever politely began to swim away and we could see him slowly moving back up to his family pod located over a kilometre away, keeping in the good books with Lucky perhaps?