Picnic time at the hotspot!
The morning of our expedition today was filled with Noosa and her family patrolling the hotspot. With close passes and surfing down the swell featuring for a third day in a row. Two pairs of two calves were acting curious around the vessel and through the swell while the adult orca were off hunting.
By lunchtime the hunt was on! Two orca pods surged off North. Pushing up the continental shelf into much shallower water. They slowed, dived, turned, dived again. No prey item was brought up… we were beginning to wonder if they were unsuccessful. By this point Nibbles, Urkel and El Notcho’s pods were in the area all involved on the hunt.
Although no obvious prey came to the mercy of the orca, the storm petrels were in high numbers all around us. It wasn’t long before the shearwaters were squawking and an albatross was soaring, checking out the commotion below. A blubbery chunk of pink flesh was being pecked at and fought over by the birds. The orca had their own pieces of meat to share. Mum and calf were mirroring each other both holding onto meat. Mum at the surface, calf below her underwater. This means they were successful in their hunting endeavours, at least they kept it PG rated for us!
The sharks must have been hungry too. Six whalers were closely following sensing the oil draining off the prey’s flesh.
Incredible day full of orca encounters, excitement and southern ocean goodness.