SURFING: GOOD FOR THE ORCA SOUL
After common dolphins graced us with their surfing presence, we were led to a pod of at least 50 pilot whales by a swirl of shearwaters as soon as we reached the hotspot! They were moving slowly, hanging out close by the vessel for at least 15 minutes, spy hopping occasionally for a better look at us, some very young calves amongst their pod! For those wondering and asking how Pilot Whales received their name – it originated from an early theory that there is a navigator amongst the pod which “pilots” the group, and which the others will follow even if it results in death, which is why so many mass stranding are observed by this species.
It was a day for interactions!! We were spoilt by close passes, as orcas including Cookie, Oreo and El could be seen surging consistently whilst other pod members rushed past us white bellies up!! Three pods were soon in our immediate area all moving with pace, rushing up to inspect the vessel or surfing alongside in our wake, giving passengers a view of all the action that The Canyon has to offer!!
At one point a sun fish could be seen bobbing along with the current, only to be charged at by two members of the pod, as they swam past it playfully tossing it aside! Another noticeable sighting was three grey beaked whales which surfaced beside us before diving down to the depths, preparing themselves for a breath hold which could last anywhere between 1 – 3.5 hours, especially with their most menacing orca predators nearby! It didn’t appear like the orcas were interested in their tasty treats however and instead they continued to surf, the swell behind the boat, demonstrating that they are species which do not just possess the primal need to hunt but which also require daily stimulation to achieve a sense of joy in their day. ????
Photos from today taken by Hope Berry and Machi Yoshida ☺️