Spermies, Orca Hunt and Rare Birds!

View of an Orca Whale's back

Hey Readers old and new!

My name is Pia and I’m one of the Marine Biologists onboard here at Naturaliste Charters, you might recognise me from last season too! 

I wanted to take a chance in this blog to introduce you to some characters from todays expeditions, both crew and passengers.

But first the action from today! From the moment we dropped off the shelf until we left this afternoon the action was going off like a frog in a sock!

The 3 pods of orca were meandering around the hotspot looking to hunt! Calf Blade and Shepp weren’t helping the adults at all, as they were off playing around in the swell. We soon became distracted by two large sperm whales logging on the surface only a few miles away! We went over and the two turned into ten! For 20 minutes we watched these alien like cetaceans sit at the surface rebreathing. Riggsy then shouted “the orca are surging!”. We could see the 3 pods had taken off and were now on the hunt! The organic smell of oil slicks filled our nostrils as the orca hunted a beaked whale. It was only seen momentarily before being body slammed by an orca and pushed under the surface. We watched as they devoured it and then began socialising with each other! Breaches, body slams, tail slaps and free Willy’s filled the afternoon! The day was dotted with rare birds too, a Barau’s Petrel, a Sooty Albatross, a Light Mantle Sooty Albatross, and a Tristan Albatross! (All pending definite confirmation from our bird guru’s but we are quietly confident.)

The first crew member I want introduce you to is Dave Riggs, Film maker extraordinaire and killer whale enthusiast! He is the real deal and someone who I turn to for answers when out here with the Orca. 

PM: “What is your favourite aspect of the canyon?”

DR: “It is always different, you never know what to expect out here!”

PM: “What is so special about the RV Falkor coming to our neck of the woods and conducting research?”

DR: “I have wanted to know what’s on the sea floor since first coming here  in 2006 and they are starting to unlock that for us!”

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Next is Dundee – Big grin, even bigger laugh and an incredible boat captain! 

PM: “How long have you been coming and working out in the canyon?”

D: “6 Years!”

PM: “You spend the majority of the day up in the wheelhouse making crucial decisions about where to go, you are known for your passion and energy, how do you keep this up day after day?”

D: “well, the whales are the coolest animals on the planet so that’s pretty easy but we also have the coolest passengers who can come check out all the boat tech at the helm. They come on as passengers and leave as mates, many coming back each year and keeping in contact throughout the different seasons!”

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Next up is passenger George Vaughan and his father Michael. Hailing from Tasmania they are avid bird watchers and don’t mind a chat. Coming again today after Saturday’s tour!

PM: “What brought you both out into the canyon with us?”

GV: “Basically the fact I’ve never seen an orca before but I’ve been in a hotel asleep while a whole bunch of orca swam past and my dad didn’t even wake me up—

MV: “Georgie look astern!”

GV: “oh my god….wait… Barau’s! It’s a Barau’s Petrel oh my god! Barau’s AHA! Wow!! They are supposed to be in Mauritius!”

PM: “Bit of excitement then, so that is only the fifth time its ever been seen in W.A. that must take your total bird species observed to 743??”

GV: “Yes, that’s right!!”

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Tune in tomorrow to read about a passenger who cant get enough of the Orca and has come out for five seasons now! She even has orca on her shoes! 


By Naturaliste Charter
By Naturaliste Charter
By Naturaliste Charter
By Naturaliste Charter
By Naturaliste Charter

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