Orca didn’t get the memo!
It was all from the moment we dropped into the hotspot except for one thing the orca.
With pelagic birds plentiful and some oily residue on the surface we thought for sure that orca would be patrolling the depths below. We watched and waited and watched some more. No luck.
A small bird swirl was rearing its head above the swell lines, as we we could make out the smaller blows which belonged to a pod of about 25 Long Finned Pilot Whales. These toothed whales were punching into the swell and ranged from brand new calves to old males.
The teeny tiny torpedo gun-metal grey calves were surfacing as if they didn’t quite know where their blow-hole was. One in particular was minuscule. The growing swell must have been daunting for this baby which was no more than a week old. In the big, open (and on days like today) unforgiving Southern Ocean it is a wonder these animals can thrive. They never dived for too long, allowing the youngsters plenty of opportunity to breath at the surface.
We also spotted a small long-nosed fur seal out in the salty mess! It too was staying at the surface.
We left these in search for the larger black and white sea pandas (orca) however still no luck. Our eyes scanned every wave, every bird swirl and what seemed to be every square mile of the hotspot. No luck again.
It is not often that we go out and do not find any orca, let alone on days where there is plenty of surface activity for the orcas to revel in. as I always say, they are predictably unpredictable and this is what we love about them! Wild animals doing wild things.
Check out Hope’s images for the cheeky Pilots, one even spun upside down, among the other animals encountered on expedition.