With more calm weather on the week long forecast, and the past couple days without orca – its safe to say there was a lot of question marks being thrown around before this mornings tour. Years prior we have operated in some instances up to the end of April and the orca have still been aggregating in Bremer. However in late March 2020 we had shut down – due to the worldwide covid pandemic so it was hard to reflect on “what happened this time last year”. With calm seas on the horizon we took a depth breath and headed out around the break wall in the marina.
It couldn’t have been any sooner from leaving the birth. It was a Blue Whale cruising along the coastline of Bremer Bay. We watched it move below the surface, giving off the distinct iridescent glowing blue colouration which they are named for. The next few moments will stay with myself, the crew and the passengers for a long while – the tiniest little head surfaced… it was a NEW BORN BLUE WHALE! This mother must have given birth somewhere along this southern coastline or out in waters between Australia and Antarctica. We know the blues have began migrating towards warmer waters via the Perth canyon but to see a new born blue is ground-breaking.
With this information being submitted to local researchers, we are still trying to gather as much as knowledge as possible. We know for one thing, this has NEVER been sighted in Bremer before! Over the past few years working and understanding Blues in Geogpraphe Bay we have also never seen a calf …. this small… The no-bigger-than six metres calf was dwarfed next to its 25 plus metre long mother! This species is believe to be born around 6-7 metres long which may mean this calf had taken its first breath maybe only days ago.
The pair were extremely adorable. The ginormous splash guard on the calf was proving helpful as it appeared to still be figuring out where its blow hole was. Breathing at regular and short intervals, it was easy to forget we were looking at blues. That was until mum surfaced again and her back just kept going and going and going! Yep, they’re blues alright!
The orca. Nibbles, Digby and co. This pod of 11 orca were in formation patrolling the depths and (thankfully for the blues) way out to sea!
We meandered along with this line of apex predators as they dived calmly. Silky blue water sliding off their dorsal fins on each surface, they looked bigger than I remember. Probably due to the lack of swell in the surrounding waters. We still spent over four hours with the orca even after our morning delay. 2 year old calves, Blade and Shepp were keeping the smile on our faces with their usual antics. With our hydrophone in and engines turned off – complete silence swept over the boat. It was only broken by the Whoosh of the orca exhaling. We could hear the quiet squeals and pings of the nearby orca and then our underwater camera could capture their curiosity as they came in for a closer inspection of the device! Check out the screen grabs from the underwater videos below!
A new wave of appreciation for these orca and we are feeling more grateful than ever to even be able to have interactions like this. As we motored back towards the harbour we watched the moon rise. Velvet purple skies soaked the almost full moon as it begun its skyward journey. Looking forward we had the sun setting. Deep pinks and oranges bathed the coastline as fairy floss clouds grew bigger. We are feeling a change in the seasons through this autumn and Bunuru season with calm and cooler days cut shorter and shorter after each expedition.