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Orca Newborn Calf Visits Our Tour

New addition orca calf Moana with her Killer Whale pod at Bremer Canyon.

10th January 2024

Orca at Bremer Canyon

As the sun rose on Bremer Bay, little did we know that we would be greeted by a new orca calf on our journey to the Bremer Canyon today. As we left the harbour, heading to the hotspot, we were accompanied alongside the boat by a Shy Albatross, as well as Common Dolphins that trailed alongside the boat.

Killer Whales at the hotspot

Arriving at the canyon it took some time before a few orca individuals from Split Tip’s pod were spotted. Two of the adult orcas could be seen playfully rolling with a young calf close to the boat. Soon after members of Split Tip and Tatty’s related matrilines were seen diving in the distance.

Eventually, we were greeted by Alki’s pod who all swam together and surfaced in unison. We were greeted by the two elder of the pod. At midday, Alki’s pod did a full 180 degree turn and headed off. 

New Orca calf Moana

The most exciting greeting came from the new 6 month old calf, Moana. Killer whale calves often appear to have an orange-like tinge as they do not have as much blubber as the adults, making their blood vessels appear more prominent. This orange tinge will remain until the calf grows and puts on more blubber. Moana followed the adults, surfacing more frequently in order to keep up with the pod. We watched on in awe as mum and calf put on a show.

Orca pods say hello to us

As the day carried on, Wonks brought his fellow killer whales to come say hello to passengers. Following his appearance, the orcas’ behaviour soon changed to spreading out, sending passengers and crew looking in all directions for the killer whale to appear.

A new slick soon formed as deep dives continued off the edge of the hotspot. Orca are amazing divers, they have the ability to hold their breath for up to 15 minutes!

As we headed back into the canyon hotspot, Split Tip and a group of 5 other members of her pod were identified. The orca were seen moving with pace, all in the same direction – it was clear that they were on a mission.

In summing up the day, it ended as it started, with Split Tip waving us off into the distance as she came to say bon-voyage to the passengers and crew!

 

Photos by Nic Duncan, Machi Yoshida and Sara Hysong-Shimazu. Blog post written by Marine Biologist Intern, Myah Darby.

Want to see more photos from this tour? See our Facebook page. 

Want to find out more about accommodation and camping? See our blog post Bremer Accommodation

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