Sunday, 10 July 2011 11:45

Beginning with Transient Orca

Written by Janie

Written Leah Robinson


The day took off like a flash as Janie yelled ‘Orca’ from the lab at 06:30am.  Six transient orcas were heading west in Whale Channel and everyone jumped into gear to document the event.  Hermann made his way towards the boat and anyone that was ready to help had to get ready in record time…2 minutes!  Holly awoke from her deep sleep, exited through the wrong door and found herself standing stunned and motionless, in her underwear, after bumping into the tree behind her tent.   At that moment it was apparent that she wouldn’t be able to get ready in time.   Meeghan and I shot in to gear and we headed out with Hermann in ‘Elemiah’.   The day was grey and drizzly and the sea was calm.  The whales were straight off the lab approximately 1 km away.  There were three females, two juveniles and one calf and they hugged the shoreline of Ashdown Island as they slowly headed west.  Janie and Mike stayed at the lab and were recording calls on the Home station; the orcas were extremely vocal.  We observed the group tail slapping, slowly traveling and rubbing against one another.  At one point, one of the females remained stationary, tight to a rock covered with seals, as her dorsal fin hovered above the surface.  It must have been an intimidating sight to the seals, but they maintained their composure and the female moved on.  As we all approached the south end of Ashdown and the whales made their way into Campania Sound we moved in a little closer to obtain photo Id’s.   The water was like glass and even though it was quite murky you could clearly make out the features of one of the juveniles through the waters surface as she swam over to the port side of the boat to have a look.  Her body glided effortlessly while assessing the scene.  We managed to get the photos we required as quickly as possible and then left the group to the open sound as they headed south.  We turned to the north to make our way back to the lab and spotted two humpbacks heading towards sea lion rocks.   We counted over one hundred stellar sea lions with a quick scan of the binoculars.  We positioned ourselves for tail fluke photo Id’s and by the time they surfaced a third humpback had joined the group.  Their bodies rubbed against one another as they came together in our view.  What a morning!  Orcas and humpbacks before breakfast…and the day had only begun!


…to be continued!



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  • Comment Link Lori Tuesday, 12 July 2011 20:19 posted by Lori

    The most beautiful photo!
    Wonderful story Leah...

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  • Comment Link Lori Monday, 11 July 2011 19:42 posted by Lori

    Wow...the most beautiful photo! Thank you for your story Leah.

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