Australian Orca populations include the Bremer Bay Orca and today we had a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the company of well known individuals along with two males we have not seen for a long time. The known Australian Orca populations include Bremer Bay and in the waters off Exmouth with identified individuals gathering on a consistent basis each year. Orca have also been sighted off Rottnest Island and every other Australian state showcasing why they are the second most widely distributed mammal on the planet (coming in first are the humans). Found in every ocean of the world, Orca are widely distributed but to observe them in the wild can be very challenging unless you visit the right locations at the right times of the year. The Orca of Bremer Bay provide a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the company of many dozens of Orca spread over multiple family pods who forage, hunt and socialise together in the pristine waters of the Southern Ocean. Ready to explore the Orca hunting grounds we arrived in The Patch on a lovely morning with calm seas and gentle southerly breeze.
Scanning through the area we could see a good scattering of birds and with the news from the CETREC team that squid had been observed earlier in the morning we could feel the Orca were close. Beginning our grid search pattern we watched on as the birdlife ebbed and flowed but showed consistency as we moved to the west. A short time after our search began a blow was quickly followed by a tall dorsal fin as a large male surfaced and was heading towards the east. Joining with him we could see the rest of the family spread as they made a steady journey back towards The Patch where we had begun our search earlier. It was fantastic to see two males we have not observed for a long time with both Bullet and Joker having put on a lot of muscle since our last interaction! Travelling with pod members of Queen and Alki it was a very social day for the Orca. Cheeky calves Bubbles and Grace came zooming over for their Craig-Pro closeups and a murky cloud of Orca poo indicated they have been feeding well over the last twenty-four hours. A great surprise today was enormous leaping Big Eye Tuna heading straight for us as they chased after what was likely Pilchards and we watched on to see if there was any response from the Orca. Seeming unfazed the Orca continued on with their day and the tuna took off in a hurry to catch the rest of their afternoon tea.