The first day of the 2022 Killer Whale season. With anticipation and excitement almost bubbling over, we could not wait to get back out. The thought of sighting our first sleek black dorsal fin and familiar eye patches was providing a permanent smile on our faces. Twenty-four nautical miles from Bremer Bay marina lay the hotspot. Along our well travelled path south towards the continental shelf today, a friendly flesh footed shearwater joined us. This was just the teaser to our day ahead. On arrival to the hotspot, an area where the continental slope meets a series of canyons, we spied birds loosely swirling above. A great sign suggesting killer whales below. Coming at us head on was a thick female with a distinct slight split at the top of her dorsal. Tazzie, Split Fin, or Split Tip-whatever you call her, she is the boss. We have watched her teaching other pods with specialised hunting techniques and coordinate successful kills year after year. She is the grandmother of the Bremer Canyon Killer Whales. What a way to be welcomed back. I, among the rest of the crew feel honoured to be back in her home range and presence. We counted a total of five different family pods in less than a five nautical mile radius!!!! This is why we call it a hotspot. At least fifty whales all going about their own business in their family groups. The first pod was little Neo, mumma Dot and the bull, Nani. A sigh of relief seeing how healthy they looked. Sleek black and white skin, the odd bite marks or two plus strong bulked shaped bodies. They’ve been eating good throughout winter and spring. Neo is still just as cheeky, coming closer and closer to our vessel on each pass. We moved off to find more orca who weren’t too far away. Nibbles and his ginormous triangular shaped dorsal fin silhouetted among the white caps at the surface. I can’t believe I’m writing this but he is STILL growing! From the end of the 2021 season till today he has spiked up higher even more. Digby, never too far away from his cousin Nibbles, was off less than half a mile with the rest of the family. Finally Maleko, and all his dorsal notches, cruised past with another seven orca for our final view of wild orca for the day. These whales were up and down the water column all day foraging for a morsel of seafood crossing over each others paths. A great way to kick the season off!