So there we were, getting a look at Windy (!!!!!) for the first time this year when all of a sudden, like thieves in night, the T65As and T65Bs came speeding (make that racing! high speed porpoising!) from the distance straight toward Boiling Reef and the Steller Sea Lions that haul out there.
T65A2 and T65B were over half a mile in the lead and got to the unsuspecting raft of sea lions first, and the rest of the whales were porpoising out of the water at high speed, apparently swimming as fast as they could to catch up with T65A2 and 65B and join in their hunt.
They successfully managed to separate a sea lion and proceeded to take turns ramming it and fatiguing it to the point where after 45 mins the sea lion bobbed at the surface one last time and all the whales disappeared underwater.
They milled around, presumably consuming their kill, for over an hour. The gulls moved in, along with hundreds of Bonaparte’s Gulls which made for this overwhelming scene of whales breaching and tail slapping with hundreds of birds swirling and dipping around.
The exquisite intention of the whales’ actions were a privilege to witness, and also a horror. It was chilling to see that sea lion fight for its life but fascinating to watch the calculated way the whales handled it. T65A, T65A2, and T65B did most of the work, taking turns rushing the sea lion, while the younger animals waited on the sidelines. The younger whales almost seemed restless at times, vocalizing at the surface and rolling over each other and at times circling in close to the sea lion with the adults.
I’ve never seen a kill on a large mammal take place from start to finish. It was a privilege.
Also, yet more evidence that you do NOT mess with the T65As!