Orcas and Dolphins – 6/1/24

On our journey out to the hotspot today we were accompanied by common dolphins riding in our wake. Distinctive colour bands along the side of these playful dolphins, including a strip of yellow, make them easily distinguishable from the bottlenose dolphin, also commonly seen in the area. An individual may also have a staggering 262 teeth, in comparison to bottlenose dolphins which have around 110. These teeth are used to grip their prey (usually schooling fish or squid) before swallowing it whole.

With no sign of orca at the hotspot, we travelled west until the long-awaited call came for blows off the bow. The dorsal fin of large bull, Hookfin, had been spotted in the distance, along with the familiar fins of Tatty and her calf.

We followed behind as the pod surfaced only briefly, displaying long down times, presumably searching for a meal below. This behaviour continued for some time before the pod began to surface in a more restful, passive manner and individuals including Chalky and Pinocchio joined. On a few occasions orca crossed our bow, leaving large footprints on the calm water’s surface as they beat their tail below.

Throughout the day we encountered various species of albatross, including an Indian yellow-nosed and multiple shy albatrosses. These seabirds use a flight mode referred to as thermal soaring, in which they use thermal updrafts to gain altitude and conserve energy. So, in gentle wind conditions like today, these birds are often seen bobbing around on the surface, resting.

As the day came to an end we headed for home and were met again by a playful pod of common dolphins, this time with a young calf! While it looked to be only the size of a football when compared to the larger adults, these calves are actually 70-100cm in length when they’re born. Our day was topped off with a quick stop to check in on the little penguins and Australian sea lions resting on Glasse Island.

-Naturaliste Charters

This post was adapted from a blog, read the original here.

Photographs by Nic Duncan and Sara Hysong-Shimazu. Blog Post written by Marine Biologist, Jennah Tucker.

One thought on “Orcas and Dolphins – 6/1/24

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.