Battle of the apex predators in the Southern Ocean today as a pod of nine Sperm Whales stood their ground as Orca surged towards them. The morning started peacefully as shortly after our arrival we were greeted by Cheryl and her family pod including the magnificent B-Slice who has grown yet again and continues to fill out his enormous frame. Moni and her calf Millie raced over and gave us a belly up hug as they dived underneath our bow, a beautiful greeting since our last time with them in Season 2021. The family was happily swimming with Blade and some of Queens family members as they searched for the next meal that was yet to be found in The Patch. Muffled blows indicated that Sperm Whales were foraging in the area and we were amazed to see between 9-15 individuals surface together. A slightly earlier sighting in the season for these species and it was wonderful to observe this social pod of young bachelor males.
A large oil slick formed close by and as the Shearwaters squabbled over squid scraps the Sperm Whales continued to saturate their blood with oxygen with consistent, steady breathing. It all changed as the Orca began to move in on the area with the Sperm Whales now becoming agitated as the battle of the apex predators began quickly. Appearing like a submarine in front of our bow one of the Sperm Whales launched into an enormous breach which erupted with white water as the giant of the deep came down with an almighty crash in an effort to intimidate the Orca. Moments later Queen appeared directly in front of our bow as she surged forcefully towards the pod of Sperm Whales who scattered and panicked. The rest of the Orca followed and unsettled the Sperm Whales by surrounding them and surging past. The Sperm Whales seemed to use their secret weapon as whale poo turned the ocean a distinctive brownish hue. The Orca peeled away without any squid pilfered from the Sperm Whales but won territory rights as the unsettled Sperm Whales began to move away from The Patch and out to deeper water.