It was early the second last morning of our third research survey along the Lesser Antilles. We had been travelling up and down the island chain, from St. Kitts and Nevis to Grenada, studying the Caribbean Sea population of Sperm Whales. That morning, we had been tracking a group of Sperm Whales acoustically, but they went silent before we could visually track them in the early morning light. Little did we know that a possible reason for this silence would soon become apparent!
Shortly after dawn, we were woken from our bunks by a call we never thought we’d hear from our colleague who was on watch at the time: “Orcas!” Rushing up on deck, we soon observed several individuals doing foraging dives around an oily slick on the surface. I grabbed my camera, determined to collect identification photos of this rarely observed and documented population of Killer Whales.
This small group of Orca was joined by a few others, bringing the total number of whales to around ten individuals.
They took an interest in our vessel, swimming along right beside the stern, rolling over and glancing up through the water. I have never experience anything quite like it, despite many encounters with Orcas in other parts of the world.
After a time, we left them to continue our survey and they headed north along the coast of St. Vincent in the light of the new day.