We were greeted by Noosa and her family group at the hotspot this morning. The distinctive markings on Noosa’s dorsal fin give away her identification. This consists of one large notch in the lower section and a smaller notch even further down where her dorsal connects to her back. Look out for her in the images!
Split Tip was here too. They were spending a lot of time under the water so we could do nothing expect be patient and wait for a beaked whale, or other form of prey, to slip into the area and become orca food.
Before we could even explain what could happen, chaos unfolded and the orcas were off! Surging into the swell, the adrenaline peaked!
The bird numbers were intensifying. The usual shearwaters were swirling about and as the minutes ticked over, a new albatross joined. First a sleek black-brow albatross then a scruffy juvenile shy.
The orca pulled up and dove, one after the other on a single spot. Like they were retreating down a man-hole.
On the next surface four individuals rose side by side.
They were joined by members from Split Tip’s pod such as Flapper and WA125 and also members from pod such as Tatty and Maleko were here too.
Maleko, made SURE we saw him with a long, slow pass down beside the boat. From here we could see his extensive scarring along his back and the sides of his peduncle region (tail stock).
Within less ten minutes, he breached. Twice. Right at our bow. One after the other. Full body porpoise, he flattened his body out and pancaked onto the surface. Maximising the surface area for maximum sound! As someone who has been of these expeditions for four seasons now, I still looked over at skipper Dundee with tears in my eyes!!! I had no words. Except for “WOW!”.
As this was going down, the females and calves had a hold of fleshy red and white meat. On each surface oil pooled off, sticking to the surface like thick honey.
The orca shared the meat around between all involved, spanning from multiple pods.
We were able to witness these apex predators hunt with ease and then celebrate with , tail slapping, spy hopping and of course the breaching.