Killer Whale squid hunt was on today as we travelled with Alki and her family pod with successful oil slicks appearing after a focused morning of foraging. The winds had finally eased and a cloudy sky greeted us this morning as the much calmer Southern Ocean seemed relaxed as we departed the Bremer Bay Boat Harbour. It was an efficient trip out to the sighting grounds and shortly after arriving dorsal fins broke the surface as the Killer Whales arrived on scene. It was fantastic to see them all as they spread out and we could observe straight away that tracking was unfolding. The behaviour of tracking Killer Whales is amazing to watch as the disciplined, focused and synchronised movements display why they are such incredible predators. Spreading through The Patch and working hard it wasn’t long before the first oil slick appeared as dozens of Wilsons Storm Petrels fluttered in for breakfast. It was great to see the family pod successful as they fed amongst the slick with the oil coating their skin on each surfacing and spreading with them.
Alki continued to forage in the same area throughout the day which resulted in further oil slicks and more meals for the family. Gracie was excited today as she zipped along next to her mum as her ever protective big brother Nani watched over her as usual. It is very special to observe the important family bonds amongst pod members and how they lookout for each other. Mothers will always have the closest bond with their calves but all pod members establish strong connections and friendships as they mature, just like human families. The lessons learnt everyday are important for Grace and her development as the skillset practiced this morning and into the afternoon was all about the Killer Whale squid hunt and tactics required to be successful in securing these meals in the deep. The birds enjoyed the odd scrap and continued to monitor the movements of the family pod ever hopeful for further mouthfuls of food. The species that depend on the Killer Whales success is vast and when they are doing well so are many others who benefit from the leftovers with not a morsel ever going to waste.