Sailing Through the Southern Ocean: A Day Among Orcas and Albatrosses

Belly up passes

A Glorious Expedition in the Southern Ocean

With the Great Southern Ocean area of Bremer Canyon all to ourselves today.

A glorious expedition into the choppy waters was anticipated by Alison Maree and her passengers.

Dark clouds were quickly clearing behind us, the sun shone through after a sprinkle of rain.

It didn’t take long for the Flesh-footed shearwaters to join us on our journey towards the hotspot in the Southern Ocean.

Surge of the Killer Whale

Shortly upon arriving at the hotspot, our journey was met by light winds and clear skies.

Before we knew it, the racing surge of the killer whales was upon us. The chase was initiated, leading us deeper into the Southern Ocean’s vast expanse.

Split tip and the mother/calf duos of Kirra and Basil, Smudge and Mamang, as well as Shredder and Noname raced ahead.

Leading us at a racing pace on what was to set the stage for a cat and mouse chase throughout the day.

Surging through the swell, we were led 7 miles west from where the pod was initially spotted towards the Knob canyon.

Southern Ocean Hunt

Numerous birds, including the Indian yellow-nosed albatross and the Wilson’s petrels, were observed moving towards the action.

Soon, the vessel found itself surrounded by pairs of mothers and their calves powering into what appeared to be the start of a predation event in the Southern Ocean.

As the orcas began to dive for longer periods, we waited curiously onboard.

Using our imaginations to guess what was transpiring meters below between predator and prey in the Southern Ocean.

Beaked Whales and Orca

The killer whales in this region have a diet consisting of a variety of fish, squid, and mammals, with the most commonly observed prey being the beaked whales in the Southern Ocean.

The impression was under which this hunt was potentially after a beaked whale.

However, as the weather changed dramatically and rain looked close to hitting, so did the outcome of the hunt.

It appeared that for now, the orca’s prey may have escaped, the pod then began to head back towards the east in the Southern Ocean.

Relaxing After the Chase

After the eventful display of prowess from members of Split tip’s large pod, we headed back towards the hotspot.

Here we were rejoined by Kirra, Basil, Noname, Shredder, Smudge, and Mamang in the Southern Ocean.

The killer whales had slowed down and were likely recovering from their long chase earlier this morning in the Southern Ocean.

The day continued with us gracefully gliding along the waves besides the Wonks, Flapper, and her calf Lil Machi.

Who, after a long afternoon foraging, treated us to some close passes on the boat in the Southern Ocean.

International Seal Day

As our day came close to an end, farewells were bid to our orca companions for the day. 

Hoping to catch sight of some seals as today celebrates International Seal Day, so we headed to Glasse Island.

No seals were in sight; however, we were fortunate to spot six beloved Australian sea lions, including one poser enjoying the sunshine.



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Orca surging in the southern ocean on the hunt
By Naturaliste Charter Orca surging in the southern ocean on the hunt
Calf Lil' Machi
By Naturaliste Charter Calf Lil' Machi
Posing Australian Sea Lion
By Naturaliste Charter Posing Australian Sea Lion

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