Southern Ocean safari it was today as a mysterious Cuvier Beaked Whale, airborne Striped Dolphins, breaching juvenile Mako Shark and the magnificent Orca kept us busy today. The morning started with sunshine and a calm sea as we departed the Bremer Bay Boat Harbour and made our way towards the sighting grounds. A slinky cloud cover could be observed on the horizon and as we approached it settled around us disguising the glare and allowing for great viewing conditions as we dropped over the shelf. A unique dorsal fin and scarred back surfaced just on our port side upon our arrival as everyone gasped to see a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale surfacing in the very heart of the Orca hunting grounds! A large individual surfaced and seemed completely relaxed even as we nervously glanced around hoping that the Orca were not too close. Observing a Beaked Whale in the wild is extremely special as they are deep diving specialists who spend most of their life hidden away as they work the depths for squid and fish.
Thankfully our Beaked Whale made a few more surfacing’s before diving calmly and back into the safety of the depths for now. A slight haze of rain moved through briefly and on the other side we could see movement flying towards the west and on our approach hundreds of Striped Dolphins were airborne. Brilliant to watch as they porpoised past us with ease and covered ground efficiently as they leapt completely clear of the ocean below, dozens at a time. It was extremely amusing to watch as a few individuals gained height and found themselves a few meters in the air with their flukes still flailing before crashing back down again amongst the pod. Stunning in appearance and arial acrobatics the Striped Dolphins continued to push west as we moved out in search of the Orca. A school of pilchards leapt alongside the Steep Point as we moved past when suddenly a juvenile Mako Shark breached amongst them much to everyones surprise.
Landing with a splash the youngster was busy chasing after the pilchards in search of a meal and it is always amazing to observe the ever busy food chain unfolding throughout each tour. The call of Orca went out as they moved in from the west and pushed back up towards the edge of The Patch in a hurry. The family kept busy and it was great to see Biggs and his pod looking very well. Scanning carefully we were all smiles to see Orca calf Charlie looking healthy and happy as the little ones first birthday fast approaches. Lovely to spend some time with this family pod who usually travel to the west of the Orca grounds and only visit The Patch on occasion. A fantastic Southern Ocean Safari and opportunity to witness some of the most remarkable species that call this beautiful part of the world home.