Wandering , breaching , and orca galore!
On arrival to the hotspot, we were met with a busy El and pod. This bull and his family were noticeable absent in the second half of the 2021 season. Typically, they are in the area for the entire four months and are reliable for encounters so it was wonderful to see them back in their home range.
We never travelled more than a mile in either direction today as the orca dived up and back along a single trajectory, time and time in search of food. With long down times we knew the hunt would be coming.
A small surge, brought chalky and pods close together with El following in tandem. Small oil slicks began appearing and storm petrels were so quick getting onto them, even before we could call out for our passengers to look over!
While they foraged, shearwaters and scanned from the skies above waiting for any small morsel of food left behind. Among the small dark bodies in the sky was a MUCH larger white bodied pelagic bird. The Wandering Albatross. With the largest wing span of all pelagic birds reaching 3.5metres across, this beauty soared in the wind without ever having to flap its wings.
A distinct angle “steam train-blow” appeared not too far off. It belonged to a sperm whale! Logging and re-breathing for a few moments before a much larger pod of seven sperm whales surfaced!!! There blows hit the wind sequentially, one after the other. We counted again and again as they bobbed on the surface.
They stayed at the surface for over two hours, we could see them from a distance while we scooted back over to the orca. We don’t normally get to see them stay for this long. A rare encounter. A very large breach caught our eye in the distance! Maybe a warning to orca who were venturing too close for comfort.
Towards the end of our expedition, we went back over to the sperm whales to get one last look. They appeared to do the same by spy-hopping four times!!! The biggest and squarest rostrum popped out of the water’s surface like a large brown granite rock. It slowly and quietly went up and down – if you were not looking in the right direction you would miss it. What an epic and strange encounter!!!