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Unforgettable Orca Encounter: Witnessing Nature’s Majesty

Young calves travel with their mother in their pod

Another Unforgettable Orca Encounter

Another unforgettable orca experience was to befall us on this stunning day out on the calm ocean swell heading to the hotspot.

Eager passengers awaited their first sighting of apex predators as an Indian Yellow Nosed albatross’ glided past the front of the bow.

Encountering Split Tip’s Pod

Blows were spotted off the starboard side just a few minutes past 10 o’clock we encountered Wonks, Kirra, and Basil.

Three Stripes appeared shortly after in a maternal group of about 3-4 mothers and their individual calves by their sides.

This resulted in excited exclamations “another orca encounter”! 

Both these groups belong to Split Tip’s pod – who was not seen for today’s charter.

She could have definitely been below the surface orchestrating a search for her pod’s next meal.

Noosa’s Unusual Behavior

Waiting for these groups to surface between long dive times ranging from 7-10 minutes.

Our next orca encounter was with Noosa.

Noosa is a matriarchal female of Split Tip’s pod was spotted cruising by herself which is unusual behaviour for an older female.

Crew said they have seen her on multiple occasions in the past weeks on her own, wondering if she was unwell.

It is estimated that Noosa may be anywhere between 70-80 years old, with female orca able to live between 70-100 years of age!

Understanding Orca Foraging during this orca encounter

Oil slicks were continuously popping up on the surface as we followed Split Tips group around.

Orca spend approximately 80% of their time foraging for their food below the surface, resulting in their long and consistent dive times.

Their echolocation abilities allow them to emit a signal out through the water, bouncing off a prey item.

This in turn helps them to pinpoint the location of their next meal.

The Fascinating Technology of Orca Echolocation

By altering the pitch of their signal they create and emit, orca can gather a range of different characteristics of what they can ‘see’.

Examples of this include texture, speed, direction, and size of the animal they’re after!

Pretty incredible technology that’s present within the natural environment that we struggle to create ourselves!

Playful Encounters and Lasting Impressions

For the last part of the day Three Stripes, Wonks, and a few younger juveniles came in periodically for a few close passes behind us.

Iridescent under the water with their white bellies showing.

Everyone onboard were ecstatic at this new orca encounter.

These individuals dedicating a few minutes of their time to play beside us and for those to snap a few photos.

A Final Surprise

Just as we decided to head back in, a sunfish was spotted suddenly off the port side.

Cruising just below the surface – adding some last-minute variety to the day.

Heading back into shore, we had a quick look at Glasse Island.

We spotted half a dozen Australian Sea Lions and two Little Penguins nestled in a crevice while they have their annual moult.

 

Want to know more about our whale conservation ethos?

Visit Facebook to view more amazing photos from this tour on 10.02.2024

A number of calves accompanied by a female member of the pod were seen at Bremer Canyon
By Naturaliste Charter A number of calves accompanied by a female member of the pod were seen at Bremer Canyon
We spotted half a dozen Australian Sea Lion on Glasse Island sunning themselves
By Naturaliste Charter We spotted half a dozen Australian Sea Lion on Glasse Island sunning themselves

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