Bremer Canyon cycle of life is incredible to witness as today we observed the process of krill to squid to tuna to Beaked Whale to Orca resulting in another incredible Beaked Whale hunt. A big blue sky and sunshine greeted us this morning as we made our way out to the sighting grounds with signs of life strong within moments of arriving in The Patch. Shearwaters and Albatross were busy chasing after schools of tuna as we could see in one particular location a very exciting event. Krill were boiling just below the oceans surface as hundreds of seabirds made the most of the feast, plummeting into the ocean to capture a nutrient rich meal. It was a good sign food was building in The Patch with krill and tuna seeming abundant before our next exciting sighting for the morning. Beaked Whales surfaced just ahead as all 6-7 individuals travelled together in a stealthy pod and it was good to see them making the most of the abundant food.
A little while later they surfaced again and with no signs of Orca yet in the area we could feel they were making the most of the opportunity to feast while their main predator was outside of the feeding grounds. It wasn’t long before the distinctive dorsal fin of a large male Orca surfaced and we smiled to see Hookfin and Stella along with the rest of the family pod making their way back up towards the heart of The Patch. It was at this time we wanted to tell them what we had discovered only a couple of mile ahead of them, but at the same time were hoping the Beaked Whales were making a hasty escape! Eventually we arrived back in the exact area the Beaked Whale and krill had been sighted previously as the pod spread out into search mode. Travelling with them we waited patiently to see if they would notice the Beaked Whale activity in the area.
Suddenly they began to increase speed, moving quickly towards deeper water before they began to increase pace to surging. Erupting in plumes of white water as they propelled forward in a hurry and it was clear they had certainly noticed the Beaked Whales in the area. After a busy surge Stella and the family peeled back and we noticed it was a second pod further ahead that had been closest to the Beaked Whale. Familiar males Elvis and Cortez were amongst the 30+ Orca that surfaced just ahead of us as multiple blows moved directly towards our bow. They were all incredibly focused as the entire pod dived deeply on our starboard side and moved downwards, the Beaked Whale was hiding underneath our feet and at depth. An explosion on our port side erupted moments later as white water was stained with red and to our amazement the hunt was completed right underneath our feet. The family carried the Beaked Whale alongside us to show off their successful hunt as they moved towards our stern with Julia capturing the moment perfectly on GoPro.
In the footage you will also see a shark getting caught up in the moment and bumping into the pectoral fin of a female Orca. It was a feeding frenzy as the ocean came to life with energy and speed as the sharks, fish and seabirds along with all of the Orca made the most of their meal with nothing going to waste. Calves breached and tail slapped with excitement as they celebrated a successful hunt that had come with a few challenges in the deeper water with the Beaked Whale almost evading them. It was an incredible day to witness the Bremer Canyon cycle of life from the tiniest of creatures in krill fuelling the food chain all the way up to the apex predator, the Orca. A wonderful and educational journey for all of our Pod Members onboard and memories to last a lifetime as we continue to learn and research this incredible part of the world in our very own backyard.