The sun shone down from above for a calm, warm passage out to the hotspot today. Like clockwork we came across El Notcho and the other members of the pod early in the morning, in their regular foraging region. Close passes from the pod revealed that the easily distinguishable Cookie and her calf Oreo were not present amongst their family. As part of the morning routine, we regularly observe from these members, they dove in intervals of 3 minutes, appearing for only short moments, surprising passengers with a face of orca breath as they surfaced right beside the vessel, exhaling after their dive!! Just after lunch Cookie and Oreo were sighted re-joining the pod, possibly after a morning of mother-calf foraging lessons in the area close by.
We left the group in their endeavours and were lucky enough to encounter an unidentified species of manta ray gliding past the bow! Shortly afterwards a blow on the port side of the stern erupted right below passengers! Three young calves still with an orange hue playfully darted nearby, while older members of their pod including Blade, Kidji and Tatty emerged. Calves which exhibit an orange hue, lack the thick blubber, which is characteristic of older orcas, and therefore their blood vessels are visible at the surface, indicating that they are under three years of age.
After lunch as if right on cue we again passed El Notcho, Cookie, Oreo, and pod, in the same two nautical mile range which we had encountered them in earlier that morning, this time exhibiting more interactive behaviour with the vessel! On our journey home we were fortunate to see 16 Australian sea lions basking on the rocks of Glasse Island as well as a Little Penguin nestled in a nearby crevice, the wildlife of Bremer Bay and the Southern Ocean continuing to awe us daily!