Queen of the Bremer Canyon we found ourselves in the presence of today as matriarch Queen and her family pod along with Pilot Whales stretched out in The Patch. It was a calm and peaceful morning as we made our way towards the sighting grounds as the odd Shearwater glided past. The calm conditions make it difficult for the seabirds to cover much ground efficiently with no breeze to carry them. It didn’t stop the Shearwaters from finding the Pilot Whales though as over eighty cruised towards us and were in forage mode. All age groups joined in the hunt for breakfast as the deep round-out dives, quick sprint through the water column and speedy return to the surface was repeated for each foraging dive. It was also fantastic to see Offshore Bottlenose Dolphins travelling and foraging alongside the Pilot Whales happily today.
Further blows not far from the Pilot Whales were taller and followed by distinctive dorsal fins… the Orca were in town! Queen and her family pod surfaced as all members travelled together including Shredder and Samurai whom we had travelled with yesterday. The family were relaxed and also in forage mode just like the Pilot Whales as they covered ground in search of that next meal. Squid appears to be in good daily supply over the last week as multiple captures have been made and we hoped that Queen and her pod would also be successful. Smaller squid were found by the family as the odd squid tentacle or flesh would float past as the Albatross and Shearwaters desperately dived to capture before it escaped to the depths below. It is always a joy to spend time with the Queen of the Bremer Canyon and her family as she shows us the ancient trails they have followed for generations to find food to feed their pod. During the after afternoon sunshine lit up the Southern Ocean as we waved good bye to the Orca and enjoyed the racing Common Dolphins company on the way back home to the Bremer Bay Boat Harbour.