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Orca Sighting

written by Monique Fallows

Orca hunting in False Bay, March 2015

Posted on Monday, 30 March 2015

There is a sure way to get over jetlag and that is an Orca Sighting!

Chris & I returned from New Zealand on Wednesday and with the long journey home and 11 hour time change we were not at our “freshest” when the Apex Crew called on Thursday morning at 7am.

My heart just about jumped in my throat when I heard the words orca being spoken… our morning trip had just come across them whilst on the way to Seal Island. 

Fortunately we were very lucky to be able to join Destiny Charters as they went looking for the orcas and just over an hour after the initial call we caught up with a pod of 5 orcas just south of Millers Point. This pod was made up of one male with a large dorsal fin, 2 adult females and 3 juveniles.

They appeared to be uncomfortable being in close proximity to the boats present and were sounding often and for fairly long periods. We felt it was better not to pressurise them and after having a good look and taking some ID images we left them as they headed south towards the mouth of False Bay. 

It is always completely exhilarating to be close to a pod of orcas and this one came as a complete surprise.

In the past we have recorded them in False Bay in the months of April and May when the dolphin numbers have swelled into schools of up to 3000.

We have been seeing common dolphins on our shark trips but not in great numbers so as I mentioned this was a surprise sighting, and our earliest of the season yet. One thing I have learnt about orcas is that you can never expect to see them… it just happens when it happens!

In the past we have recorded them in False Bay in the months of April and May when the dolphin numbers have swelled into schools of up to 3000.

We were just approaching Simonstown harbour when White Pointer called through to us again. Another pod of 4 orcas had just been encountered on the way back from Seal Island.

Wow, we couldn’t believe it as we raced back out there again. It was a perfect day with flat water, no better time for an orca encounter!

This pod consisted of 4 orca. 1 male, 2 females and a juvenile. We assume that they were part of the pod we had seen earlier and that this was a splinter group.

After the initial hit an injured dolphin became isolated and the orcas honed in.

As we got closer to Seal Island a very small school of common dolphin were moving our way. They seemed pretty relaxed but it was out of the ordinary to see a small splinter group of dolphin. We have observed this kind of dolphin behaviour after being chased by the orcas so we knew we had a keep a sharp look out for any other dolphins.

This pod of 4 orca were a lot more relaxed around the boat and after spending 15 minutes of them slowly cruising alongside us a small group of 3 dolphins could be seen close by. It took the orcas no time at all to pick up on them and suddenly the hunt was only.

After the initial hit an injured dolphin became isolated and the orcas honed in. With the dolphin being badly injured there was no need for the orcas to rush the hunt and (sadly) the dolphin was chased for a good 5 minutes before finally being finished off.

These orca/dolphin hunts are always very spectacular but it is very hard to watch another animal in distress. This was a sub adult dolphin and surely would not have gone too far in feeding all 4 orca so we will be on high alert over the next few days…

A very big thank you again to Destiny Charters for having us aboard for this amazing experience.

 

Interested in Orca's? We have more blogs for you below:

May 2013: Orca Sighting in False Bay

April 2013: Orca Sighting in False Bay

May 2012: Orcas! A look at the sightings over the last 2 weeks

May 2012: Orca Sighting in False Bay

March 2012: Punta Norte, Argentina where the orca’s famously strand onto the beach to hunt seals

 

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Orcas

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