Trophy of an Orca hunt is the skull of the Beaked Whale for the Bremer Bay Orca which is carried by the elders of the family and today we were witness to this intimate event. A stunning morning with a big blue sky, calm sea and warm sunshine was set to linger all day as we made our way out towards the sighting grounds. Arriving in The Patch the team from CETREC advised of a very large pod of Pilot Whales moving through the area in a social and relaxed mood. Surfacing alongside us it was great to spend some time enjoying the company of these charismatic individuals who were easy going this morning as they meandered through the area. Wishing them well we continued onwards and came across a large oil slick with many Shearwaters and Albatross gathering. Jet black dorsal fins broke the surface and we could see that the apex predators were in town as we made a gentle approach. Lucy surfaced with members of her family as they swam straight towards us for morning greetings and were very happy to see us today. The family appeared full and it didn’t take too long to figure out why as Fanscar surfaced carefully with the skull of a Beaked Whale gently being raised above the surface.
The Orca had succeeded earlier in the morning with a Beaked Whale hunt and the trophy of an Orca hunt like this is the skull. Carefully carrying and sharing the skull between Lucy and Fanscar we watched on for over an hour as they enjoyed every moment of parading their trophy and presenting it towards our vessel. Extremely curious we observed as Dart and Fanscar approached the Steep Point and would settle alongside us vertically. During these vertical moments it appeared they were almost mimicking the behaviour of everyone standing on the bow as they peered with eyes wide-open back at everyone onboard. The family carried the skull for a very long time until eventually they began to move out to deeper water and reluctantly released the skull which will now sink to the seabed floor and feed a host of small creatures in the depths below. Dart departed the girls and beelined towards the open ocean for a journey of over four mile before reaching the rest of the family pod. Big male Giovanni was waiting to great Dart as the family regrouped a bit and settled in for an afternoon siesta with full bellies and very content Orca on a most magnificent day in the waters off Bremer Bay.