Instantaneous orca as soon as we dropped off the edge of Australia! Two pods were stretched as far as the eye could see. The swell was large and rolled past us, making it hard to see the blows as the orca rolled into the troughs! The dorsal fins sliced through the crests of the waves briefly before footprints scattered the surface. The orca were on patrol, taking turns scanning the deep, rising every 5 minutes like clockwork! Between each dive the orca made multiple close passes across the bow, cruising and riding the waves! We noticed our old friend lucky…who hasn’t been so lucky in previous years as her dorsal fin is almost non-existent! The wound is old and suggests she had a close call as a young calf or juvenile, possibly a hungry shark or even a long-line! Mako and “Chalky”, who is now also known as “Blackboard” although we had a suggestion for “Duster” as he no longer has his white chalky pigment on his dorsal, made an appearance! Birds were soon squabbling at the surface over pieces of red arrow squid which the beaked whales love to feed on! The orca seemed to be hunting meticulously for our beaked friends! After over an hour of similar “up/down” patrolling behaviour the pods disappeared! Soon after the orca dispersed we were greeted by a RARE and pre-historic looking creature!! A leatherback turtle that must’ve lost his way as they don’t commonly inhabit areas beyond Cape Naturaliste! Leatherbacks only breed in Northern Queensland within Australian waters and may have cruised down the EAC (East Australian Current) into the deep Southern!!! These amazing reptiles can weigh up to 700kgs and this one didn’t look far off! He came so close to the stern that we were able to get some incredible underwater footage! We also came across another New Zealand fur seal basking in the sun, making the most of the low winds and rolling swell! We have been so lucky with the weather lately as low winds tend to mean the orca head east and venture far beyond the hotspot which makes them hard to find! This was apparent but only in the late afternoon once we lost sight of our killer whales! Another interesting observation was the number of tiny Wilson’s storm petrels which are also known as the JC birds as they run on water sipping the oil slicks that remain after a hunt, yet there had been no hunt today! Let the mysteries continue and here’s to another great and diverse day in Bremer Bay!
A MIXED BUNCH!
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