Bremer Canyon Beaked Whale hunt unfolded today as two family pods worked together and successfully completed a powerful kill within meters of our bow. Arriving in The Patch and enjoying the still conditions, we observed distant blows and could see three family pods spread over an enormous area. It appeared that everyone, even the youngest of the calves, were incredibly focused and quiet. Matching that energy, we calmly followed the pods and wondered if they were successfully tracking their next meal opportunity. Queen, Noosa and Adina along with the younger pods members were calmly surfacing in front of our bow when suddenly they launched forwards and the surge began, the hunt was on!
Orca surrounded us and began to surge quickly, the call had gone out and a short time later Noosa surfaced on our stern as she gathered together everyone. Fifty meters ahead we could sight a lone female Orca who surfaced with a Beaked Whale right alongside her. There was a calm amongst the 20+ Orca who were now moving in towards the lone female Orca and now that she knew there was backup the younger calves began to tail slap, but only gently as they sent out the call to the others. Young male Orca Adina moved in and just as the Beaked Whale looked to dive and evade the entire pod closed in and pushed upwards, a bubble veil concealed the powerful approach of Adina as he quickly finished the hunt on the surface and made a powerful impact causing much blood and a thick oil slick to form instantly. Birds launched into the water all around us as the family began to prepare their meal and strip away skin, leaving behind the most nutritional parts for the Orca to enjoy and share amongst the family pod.
Adina, much to everyones great surprise, began to swim towards our bow as he carried the skull of the Beaked Whale proudly. It is a truly fascinating (and in may ways gory) event we often sight after successful Beaked Whale hunts as the Orca carry their prize and display it to everyone onboard. Adina and his family continued to feast for the next couple of hours right alongside us and as bellies began to fill the energy levels changed. Calves raced around us excitedly as Adina continued to carry his meal past the bow and swim within meters of us, a truely awe inspiring moment to be so close to these apex predators. Once everyone had their fill the family regrouped and began moving back towards The Patch where we wished them well and thanked them for welcoming us into the pod during such an important event in the life of an Orca family.