Australian Made Orca celebrated on Australia Day 2021 as we were welcomed into the pod and had the most extraordinary experience we will treasure forever. It was a beautiful morning as we made our way to the sighting grounds and shortly after arriving blows were sighted just up ahead, it was El Notcho and his family foraging. Swirl approached curiously and we could see that Cookie was leading the family quietly towards the shelf, something was keeping the family pod from making too much noise. Suddenly, breaching began just ahead and it was followed by further tail slapping as we could see an enormous FLOT line of Orca taking up over a kilometre of water space as far as the eye could see. A big male surged past and we recognised Bear who is a member of Lucky’s family pod whom we have not sighted since last season. Excitement rippled through the boat as we witnessed powerful surface activity erupting all around us with Orca launching skywards all around.
Dozens of birds were congregating as many blows were sighted and we caught a glimpse of an Orca with no dorsal fin, Lucky had arrived! Her family pod raced to great us and surrounded our vessel before swimming over with a juvenile Sunfish. The Sunfish was proudly brought over to us and then dropped in front of our bow almost as a gift from the family pod as they were vocalising amongst each other (checkout the video below to listen). A beautiful female Orca named Mia approached us curiously before stopping and hovering mid water, looking up towards us. Seeming to be watching us intently, we began a slow and gentle wave towards her and as she lifted towards the surface right next to us. Lifting her beautiful eyes above water level, she wiggled and turned as she connected with us and in that moment we were one with a completely wild Orca… she was mimicking our movement and appeared to be waving back. A moment treasured by everyone onboard and her connection with us was such a powerful interaction that we were all stunned for a few minutes afterwards, the memory is still with us and will be forever!
Completely surrounded by Lucky and her enormous family pod of over 25 individuals, there was no where else we would rather be to celebrate Australian Made Orca on Australia Day in such a dramatically beautiful part of the world. The privilege of spending time with wild Orca and connecting with them is precious beyond words, today a perfect example of just how extraordinary Australia is as a Nation. A free, wild and beautiful country to love and protect with our Australian Made Orca proudly nurturing their family pods from one generation to the next in freedom and peace.