Before even leaving the anchorage today we just felt that the orca were going to do something BIG today! The overcast skies and silvery reflection at the surface made for a very eerie journey out to the shelf! Our first encounter consisted of our favourite bull EL NOTCHO rising from the depths and venturing towards the bow so slowly that he was nearly stationary before submerging alongside only to see his saddle patch fade into the darkness! The encounter was closely followed by cookie and another large female from their pod, again ever so slowly, making for the perfect photo opportunity for our customers straight off the bat! We felt like it was ON, orca in an instant! The orca persisted with their slow passes before switching into patrol mode! The rest of the pod appeared in an echelon formation all in a tight line, rising for brief moments before leaving footprints dotted at the surface as they dove to search the depths yet again. The anticipation was HIGH across the boat, we all waited and waited. The surface times became predictable, two blows then a dive, over and over! El Notchos pod is usually quite successful when they’re on the hunt! Oil slicks soon scattered across the surface, they were definitely getting something down there…but what?! The lack of blood and remanence of the kill made it hard to distinguish exactly what they had caught..almost teasing us as to what was down there! After lunch (both ours and the orcas) we witnessed surges!!! LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT! The orca were coming up from behind towards both the port and starboard side making it hard to decide where to look let alone point our cameras! The anticipation rose with every moment! We soon spotted the prey they had been encroaching on…a beaked whale!!! The beaked whale made multiple close passes with the vessel as it quickly tried to sip the air before attempting to plunge to the depths with the hope of escaping the hungry pod!!! By now the action had left us on the edge of our seats!! Would the beaked whale make a break for the sea floor, which by now was over 2000m deep! In fact, the beaked whale seemed to get away this time, the surges slowed and grew scarce, the energy of the pod subsided and the beaked whale was nowhere in sight..teasing us yet again! Minutes later the orca came alongside the vessel once more, this time in a very playful manner…did they have full bellies? We can only hypothesise as to what happened below the surface! This is what we LOVE about the canyon, what happens at depth sometimes stays at depth…for now! The orca successfully teased us yet again!
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