A cracker of a day with the Orca as the ocean was alive with apex predators having the time of their life! Arriving in The Patch blows were sighted immediately, a fantastic early sighting and a reflection of just how special this location is to the Orca. The fun began immediately as upon arrival we were swarmed by Alki and her family before Queen’s little munchkins wiggled their way to the surface with spy hops and wrestling unfolding underneath our feet and amongst a fresh squid slick. The youngsters were given the go ahead by the elders of the family pod to enjoy a morning of play as they moved out to continue foraging. It was up to young male Wonks to keep an eye on the calves as he was left with babysitting duties and seemed very pleased with the responsibility. The morning was spent wrestling, spy hopping and general silly business as the calves had an absolute ball playing together and so did we as we were included in the fun.
Welcoming us into the activities we found ourselves surrounded by cheeky Orca with the GoPro being continually investigated by Samurai, Bubbles and Opal who were all fighting to get closest to the camera while showing off their pearly whites. You can certainly see the sibling rivalry as they try to push each other out of the way to get closest to the camera! The opportunity to be so welcomed and involved in these play sessions is a fantastic chance to learn more about the complex social structure of each pod. You will hear the noisy vocalisations amongst the family in the video as they played which is very exciting to listen and document as generally this population of mammal eating Orca tend to minimise vocalisations so as not to be detected easily by their prey. Today the noise limits were off as the calves were allowed to make as much noise as they pleased and they certainly had a lot to say!
It was already a wonderful morning with the Orca when the tempo went up a notch as Wonks and Shredder began to tail slap and we knew that a callout was being made as Orca began to surge to the west. Tail slapping, breaching and tail lobbing followed from Orca near and far including massive breaches by big boy Biggs off our stern. The ocean erupted in white water as the Orca called out and moved quickly to the west with the surge of all four families creating a spectacular scene. Hundreds of seabirds soared as they kept up with the Orca who were propelling themselves through the swell like torpedoes. It was yet another wonderful day of fun with the Orca and all of our Pod Members onboard as we celebrated what has been an incredible first month of the season and cannot wait to see what February holds for us to discover.