Orca Breaching Extravaganza in the Canyon

Breach Baby Breach

Breach, baby breach!

Breach:  The action of an orca, or killer whale, propelling itself out fo the water, breaking the surface with a spectacular leap.

Entering the bay today was a pleasure as the water was the bluest of blues and the wind was tame.

The ride out tot he canyon was quite comfortable, admiring the flesh-footed shearwaters soaring behind the vessel.

Once we arrived at the Bremer Hotspot, the ocean depths reflecting the blue sky, we began our orca search.

Shortly after, Machi yelled “Orca 100 metres!’ You could feel the excitement onboard as the vessel approached the gentle giants.

Read More About: The Life of an Orca

A Close Encounter with Alki’s Pod

It was Alki’s pod, with Nani, Billie, Nicki, some others, and a calf (once called Moana, now called Maui, having discovered today she is a he!) were spotted.

They were cruising along, making some close passes with the boat and surfacing together as a whole pod.

Their behavior was fairly calm, surfacing together multiple times and then going below for deeper dives.

We realized this was the calm before the storm and the weather turned quickly.

The wind picked up, the clouds rolled in, the waves splashed, and the orcas got excited.

Albatrosses soaring in the wind and surrounded the boat.

The Spectacle of Breaching Orcas

All of a sudden, breach! And another, and another.

The orcas of Nani’s pod were leaping out of the water and into the air.

It was very exciting to see their enormous bodies jumping out of the water.

Multiple orcas were throwing themselves high up out of the water with the wind exacerbating their splashes, and you could hear the loud slapping noise as they landed. I

t was truly a spectacular sight! All of a sudden, Nani does a massive head lunge, pectoral fins spread, and throws himself forward.

Other members of the pod were tail slapping left, right, and center! Squeals, giggles, and excitement filled the air on board.

Even the little calf, Maui, was practicing his breaching skills, copying his mother.

Tracking the Playful Pod

We followed the intelligent pod for a few hours, tracking their movements along the canyon systems.

Rough seas brought them to the surface regularly, and we had glimpses of surging orcas at speed beneath the surface.

They began to change direction and were surging and surfing the waves.

We were having as much fun watching them as they were having playing beneath the sea.

Again, a deep dive, and the elusive orcas disappeared.

Unexpected Interactions: Alki’s and Split Tip’s Pods

Patience is a virtue, and right before we departed the canyon, some members of Alki’s pod reappeared with members of Split Tip’s pod.

Split Tip was nowhere to be seen. It was mentioned that these two pods hadn’t been seen interacting together very often, which is interesting.

Coming back past Glasse Island, we admired 8 Australian female sea lions and 1 massive bull sea lion resting on the warmth of the granite outcrops.

A lovely way to end an awesome day. It seems the killer whales love rough seas, and we sure were lucky to be out there observing the orca in the wild today.

Would you like to join us on a tour in Bremer Canyon?

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