The Unique Bremer Sub-Basin never ceases to amaze as today we sighted four different cetacean species who are rarely sighted in the waters off Australia, expect of course from Bremer Bay! Our work on the waters around Australia has taken us far and wide over our lifetime, working in many special ecosystems but nothing quite compares with the waters located just 19 nautical mile off the coastline of Bremer Bay. Arriving in The Patch we had Shearwaters all round as Marine Scientist Josh called out, “Orca at 3 o’clock” and with that he added another point to his tally of sightings for this week. It was Cookie and her family who seemed very excited to see us as they swam quickly towards our bow. Younger family member Oreo was ecstatic, zooming past the bow and propelling upside down in torpedo style fashion directly underneath our feet. Oreo continued this fun game throughout the morning and seemed thoroughly pleased to spend some playtime with everyone onboard. A large gathering of birds just ahead caught our attention and on further investigation we were excited to observe the distinctive movement of Pilot Whales. Gently approaching we watched as over one hundred individuals in two seperate pods gathered close to the waters surface.
A truely beautiful species to spend time with, our day was about to surprise us again as we noticed smaller shadows swimming amongst the pod. Offshore Bottlenose Dolphins were travelling with the Pilot Whales in a much smaller pod of 8-10 individuals and it was wonderful to observe these two different species travelling together. Offshore Bottlenose Dolphins are well protected when travelling with Pilot Whales from not just sharks but most importantly the apex predator, Orca. Completely surrounded by the Pilots and Dolphins, we spent some time with them before moving back towards The Patch where once again Oreo came racing towards us at high speed.
Cheryl’s pod had moved into the area and were in a hurry to the west. Surging at pace and finding ourselves moving quickly we could certainly feel the energy of the Orca was focused and tracking something important. Slowing slightly and watching carefully we noted that the Orca suddenly went very quiet, we kept our eyes open for what the next surfacing would bring. To our great surprise a small dorsal broke the waters surface only fifteen meters from the vessel, it was a Gray’s Beaked Whale! A true privilege to witness in the wild and very rarely observed due to their discreet surface behaviour. He was extremely quiet and moved calmly for a few breaths right next to us and we enjoyed every moment watching this beautiful Beaked Whale. Slipping back below the surface again and scanning the horizon it appeared our little friend had managed a miraculous escape as Cheryl and her family had continued to the west. The unique Bremer Sub-basin revealed another magnificent journey today with four beautiful cetacean species, hundreds of seabirds and our cuddly Australia Sea Lions making special memories for the first day of Autumn.