There has been an increasing amount of activity up on the shelf over the past few days. We sighted the orcas surging well before we even hit the hotspot! White water explosions blew up ahead of us. Flashes of black and white as the orcas “free-willied” over the crests of the waves. It was the shortest pursuit yet! The water turned green and the slicks enveloped around us. We were smack bang in the middle of an orca experience kill. Strings of red sinew were stretched between the beaks of shearwaters as they squabbled over the remnants that barely had time to make it to the surface!
El Notcho slowly encroached at the bow, riding up the swell and across the front as if he were in slow motion. After over a week, HE WAS BACK. We never saw him rise again, the entire pod gave us the slip! Split-tip was front and centre during the chase, training the juveniles through the fleeting takedown! This huntress definitely deserves her prestige as she’s been present for EVERY kill this season!
Birds still swirling as far as the eye could see. By the time we sighted the next blow the birds had formed a tornado! The clouds looked like they were laced with poppyseeds as there were that many birds hovering and darting through the squalls of rain and action.
We were at the s-bends when it all kicked off again! Surging orcas formed a perfect line about a mile ahead of us! The orcas’ energy had increased with rising ocean conditions.
We’d reached the hotspot by the time the killer whales had caught up on their prey. This time the largest oil slick of the season was forming right before our eyes. We’d missed being able to identify the species by only seconds!!! Majority of the predations envelop before we can discern the species on the menu!
This kill fed more animals, two pods PLUS of course split-tip AGAIN front and centre. It was as if she was still teaching the juveniles the ways of the water. When to hunt, when to surge, when to attack, but most importantly when to be patient and conserve energy. There was no energy being conserved during this hunt. It was on! Every animal playing a key role in the takedown and left us with a breathtaking orca experience.
It wasn’t long before the juveniles were showing off their pieces or the prize at the bow and along the beam, for all to see! Swell surfing, tail-slaps, and BREACHES kept us busy for the next hour. We’d encountered two hunts before 12 pm! A new record!
After a social hour or two and an array of animals from mismatching pods with endless activity around the vessel, the orcas set off again! This time we were part of the pod! We rode the swell back toward the shelf with orcas surging on either side as if they were escorting us home! We’ve now had successful hunting 6 days straight! Will we make it 7 for 7? Stay tuned to find out more about our incredible orca experience!