Queen’s pod strikes again as the family succeeded in yet another Beaked Whale hunt as celebrations followed during another spectacular day with the Bremer Bay orca. The easterly breeze was back and as we made our way out towards the sighting grounds it wasn’t long before the seabirds began to soar and we could see Orca surging straight ahead as they powered towards the west. It was Lucky and her family pod who were excitedly surfing the swell as they worked their way consistently westwards. Matilda and her family now joined in with the fun as we were surrounded by surfing Orca which is always an amazing sight to observe as they power through the swell like black and white torpedoes. Slowing and focusing in on a particular area the families regrouped and spent some time foraging but not for long as it seemed important for them to start making their way back towards The Patch.
The urgency in the journey back east was interesting to observe as they travelled with purpose and momentum, the energy around the Orca was increasing at a dramatic rate. All went quiet momentarily before an explosion of white water erupted as the surge was back on again and the Orca were flying towards a gathering storm of Orca just ahead of them. The hunt was on and amongst the fast growing oil slick we watched on as multiple Orca charged into the area all at once and the distinctive colour of red mixed with white water. A powerful hunt and with so many Orca involved it didn’t take long before we could see the family breaking up their meal and sharing amongst the pod members. The distinctive dorsal fin of a matriarch we love surfaced in the heart of the slick and green tinged water as we could see that Queen’s pod strikes again as all of her pod members celebrated the successful hunt. Breaching, tail slapping and exuberant surfing of the swell followed as amongst the feeding we could see the happiness of the Orca after a challenging hunt. Three Stripes and Queen carefully lifted the skull of the Beaked Whale above the surface and we watched on as the family delicately fed together.
It is such an intimate part of the Beaked Whale hunt when the family carries the skull and usually the elder members of the family are responsible for carrying the trophy of their hunt. You can see in the images where the beak has been broken during the process of hunting, a reflection of the power and intensity of these events. There is always an element of sadness to these hunts as it means the loss of Beaked Whale who are incredible creatures in their own right. The importance of such days is vital to the ecosystem as many creatures such as seabirds, sharks and fish all benefit from the incredible amount of food that is created by the Orca in leftovers. Nothing goes to waste with every Beaked Whale providing sustenance and life to many hundreds of creatures who depend on days like today to sustain them until the next opportunity. The Bremer Bay Orca are truely an incredible population to spend time with and never cease to amaze us, especially the Queen of the canyon and her families apex hunting abilities.