An Orca named Blackberry lives in the Bremer Canyon and today we were fortunate to spend some time with this magnificent male Orca and his family pod. Cruising out to The Patch and shortly after arriving Dad (Captain) needed to use the restroom before we moved into search mode. Today was the funniest sighting so far this season as the stillness of everyone onboard scanning for Orca was broken with loud shouting from the restroom, “2 o’clock!, 2 o’clock!” as we heard Dad calling out loudly. Dad has spent his entire life at sea and as a pearl diver has spent over 3 years, 24/7 below the waters surface when we tally up his dive time. The understanding of the ocean that comes with this experience on and in the ocean is incredible and today we had the giggles up as even from the restroom he was still spotting the Orca, we believe he is part Orca himself! The first family pod we interacted with was Cheryl and a couple of her family members who were moving up towards an enormous oil slick that had formed. The slick was peaceful except for the numerous birds scattered over the area and we could see a big male dorsal fin up ahead.
Approaching the pod we were excited to observe around 12 individuals and from a family pod we don’t always have the opportunity of spending time with due to their movement through the hunting grounds. An Orca named Blackberry travels in this family pod and he is one of the largest males in the catalogue with a booming dorsal fin and powerful body. It was social time as we arrived as Blackberry and a younger male swam with us for a little while before the family moved into foraging mode. Pilot Whales had also arrived on scene after the boys had become a little bit surface active with tail slapping, peduncle lobs and a couple of breaches to gather everyone together. After a short chase the hunt proved successful as another large oil slick formed as they carried their food with them. Social time continued once again and a flash of pink from one of the younger males had everyone averting their gaze, a unique moment to see the private parts of a wild male Orca. These types of behaviours can often unfold in and amongst social interactions as the family celebrated the hunt and enjoyed involving us with the activities. Blackberry came so close to our bow we could hear every exhale and watch the muscles of this handsome male move through the ocean with ease. Blackberry’s biggest fan is Pod Member Natalie and what a treat today for Blackberry and Natalie to spend some special time in each others company!