Australia Day 2024 was spent with the incredible Orca of Bremer Bay as they were once again successful in another Beaked Whale hunt as we were part of every extraordinary moment. Vegemite on toast, lamingtons, classic Aussie tunes and plenty of fun was enjoyed on our way out towards The Patch as a cosy cloud cover was set to disperse through the day. Shearwaters were plentiful and within a few minutes the call of Orca went out as Jade spied slinky dorsal fins and after a quick morning greeting past the bow it was clear to see they were in search mode. Focused, disciplined and methodical they worked The Patch with a steady but sure pace and with the extreme level of stealth it certainly did feel that they were closing in on prey, most likely a Beaked Whale. It took almost three hours of patient searching and waiting by the Orca before there was a sudden change of momentum and they began to surge, they had found what they were looking for and the hunt was on!
Riding over the rolling swell it was an incredibly exhilarating experience as Orca surged all around us and gathered speed. All of our Pod Members onboard were in the heart of the hunt and right alongside the Orca as we surged with them for three and a half mile. Queen surfaced right alongside us and we knew straight away that her family had once again been the ones to find the Beaked Whale amongst the other family pods searching today, no surprise as she is after all the Queen of the canyons. It was a surreal moment to watch as we all slowed on our approach including the Orca who had been racing up behind us from a further distance away and all was peaceful, a tactic we see often from Queen’s family as they keep the Beaked Whale settled and under control. Swimming further ahead of the Orca the poor Beaked Whale was in a very difficult situation with so many Orca now on scene it was going to be a difficult escape. A few attempts were made to outmanoeuvre the Orca but each time Shredder would corral him back.
Queen was waiting and it was amazing to watch as the family pod waited on her call, she needed all pod members on scene including the second family who had assisted them today which was Cookie. Soon they arrived and now Queen signalled it was the right moment as they surged forward and quickly pushed the Beaked Whale below the surface. It was a very quick end and we were grateful for the efficiency of the Orca to complete the final stage of the hunt so effectively for the sake of the Beaked Whale. It is always a sad day to lose such a beautiful Beaked Whale but we try to remember the importance every life plays in this unique ecosystem and the life of this Beaked Whale has provided life to hundreds of others today including the Orca, seabirds and sharks. Hundreds of birds flocked to the scene and it was an incredible spectacle to witness unfold in front of our eyes as the family pod didn’t waste a single morsel. Mum captured the moment Kalimna decided to celebrate with incredible full body breaching just off our stern as Cookie and Queen joined in with some fluke slapping.
Our family is blessed to have the opportunity and responsibility to share these experiences with all of our Pod Members onboard. Observing the Orca we see the qualities of leadership, family, community, respect and their need to nurture and protect. It is these qualities we see in all Australians and as we celebrate Australia Day today it makes us extremely proud to live in the most blessed country in the world. Every day Australians wake to freedom and an opportunity to provide for our families and communities. The Orca of Australia certainly do have a mateship that we see on a daily basis and show that when you focus on what is truely important in life you can achieve great success for all and a bright future for the next generation. Happy Australia Day!