Following Orca trails on a lovely Friday in Bremer Bay as we were greeted by Cookie and her family pod this morning. The start of the long weekend and a bright blue sky day to greet us as we made our way out towards The Patch. Shearwaters and Albatross gathered as they used the morning breeze to scan the sighting grounds and covered ground easily. A cloud of them began to form as we arrived just on the other side of the shelf as Orca surfed the swell towards our bow for morning greetings. It was matriarch Cookie and her family pod who were pleased to see us as they moved in to travel with us to the west for a little while. Upon our arrival we could see the Shearwaters squabbling in the water surrounding the Orca and it appeared that Cookie had been successful in securing a small meal this morning.
The lack of a heavy oil slick indicated that breakfast was calamari squid for the family who consumed it quickly before regrouping again. Moving to the west the Orca enjoyed surfing the swell as they powered with ease and glided effortlessly. Orca can reach speeds of up to 60kph which is generally reserved for hunting as it is energy draining for the Orca. Energy conservation is important to all wildlife as there is never any guarantee when your next meal will come about. Cookie had successfully found a small meal this morning which kept everyone happy but shortly afterwards it is then time to move on and find the next meal for her family pod. Oreo has grown so much and is really starting to look and act like a young adult Orca as Cookie is no longer needed 24/7 for constant supervision and guidance as Oreo starts to mature.
The bond between mother and calf will always be incredibly strong but Oreo is now becoming more independent which creates more time for Cookie to focus on leading her entire family pod. It is always fascinating to watch Orca learn, grow and develop as each season they grow from strength to strength. The rest of the family pods who have been frequenting The Patch over the last few days had moved out of the area. It was good news for the Sunfish who had gathered to feed on Blue Bottlenose not needing to look over their shoulder for cheeky Orca calves in play mode. Following Orca trails teaches us about the different areas of the hunting grounds and how the Orca will have preferences for particular locations. Cookie is teaching these Orca hunting trails to her pod members and it is amazing to think that she learnt them from her mother and the same lessons learnt have been passed down from one generation to the next.