Dolphins, Pilots & ORCA!
Hey! My name is Brenten, and I have been the marine intern on board this past week with Naturalise Charters. I am in my final year at ECU, currently studying Marine & Freshwater Biology.
WOW ! WHAT A WEEK! After 6 days onboard, I have filled my laptop (and brain) with striking images, encounters, and experiences that will be with me forever.
Before reaching the hotspot, a pod of Oceanic Bottlenose dolphins appeared. The pod consisted of what looked to be over 100 individuals. These playful marine mammals continued to breach, porpoise and ride the bow for around 5 minutes in chase of what we believed to be a large school of pilchards.
Not too far ahead, we spotted Orca! It was Wonks and with some other large males who were preoccupied, so we decided to track towards the pod of surging pilot whales. As we edged closer, we noticed pieces of squid and roughly 30 pilots!! After surging directly past the vessel, down they went, possibly on the hunt for more squid!!
Although black and white, these Cetaceans were not what we were after. Less than 20 minutes later, a familiar dorsal fin appeared! With a very passive roll and a flash of white below the surface, Nani and the pod decided to give us a little taste of what they had to offer. “Surging! Around 100 meters ahead!” was heard from the bow. We pushed on forward to see all the commotion of around 3 to 4 as they purposed in front of us!! Little Maddison appeared and was showing off with multiple close passes alongside and below the vessel with bow riding causing all the passengers to cheer with joy. The matriarch of the canyon, Split-tip decided to grace us with her presence; Wonks was also hanging around before the pod decided to dive. What a day!!!
Thank you to the fantastic crew, the astonishing passengers, and of course, the reason why we are all here, the Orca! <3
(As I write this blog sitting in the wheelhouse, a pod of common dolphins comes charging on past. There is never a dull moment with Naturalise Charters).