It is the way of Nature that the strong prevail over the comparative weak. A whale is one of the largest creatures on earth but when it is up against a pod of orcas, one of the fiercest predators on the planet, there is a bloody end to the episode with the orcas emerging clear winners. And to think of it, we have been mute spectators to the killing but on the other hand, it is an encounter that will be seen rarely on this planet for ages to come by us human beings.
Orcas On The Hunt
Orcas are the largest of the dolphins and one of the world’s most powerful predators. Orcas and whales are closely related. They were named “killer whales” by ancient sailors who watched them hunting and preying on larger whale species.
And what a day we had, closely observing the orcas hunting for food, a powerful demonstration of nature’s beauty and cruelty at the same time. We witnessed a pod of orcas chasing a Bryde’s whale for an hour until the chase finished in a bloody kill just in front of our RHIB – a true demonstration of a well-coordinated pod strategy. We could feel the power of the apex predator and its determination.
It all started with our group of divers following a pod of 9 orcas, including a pregnant female and several juveniles. We must have done 30 jumps and saw them every time. But suddenly, the pod veered off and started swimming away powerfully.
We followed closely and soon saw a splash of red on the surface of the ocean. Right before our eyes, a dramatic scene unfolded. The pod of orcas was hunting a poor whale. For over an hour, it was swimming and fighting for its life but the pod was determined to finish it off and feast on it. Finally, the fight ended and life drained out from the whale and it could take no more. It started blowing blood and slowly sank away into the depths of the ocean.
Within 10 minutes life was back to normal again. We were back in the water snorkeling with the same pod of orcas as if nothing had happened. After the orcas had left, we found a scalloped hammerhead on the surface that we followed for a few minutes.
An Amazing Day at Sea
After the encounter with the orcas, we had a quiet but incredible time the next day at sea. A special thanks to the crew and the dive masters of the Nautilus Gallant Lady for making it possible, a day that will be etched in our memories for a long time to come. So grateful that I was able to experience these moments.
My dive today started in La Lobera, San Francisquito, and what an experience it was! There were so many sea lions surrounding us and playful with the divers. They zipped past us in a rush like high-speed torpedoes and followed us around as we spent more than an hour with them. In the afternoon we were sailing up to the north looking for other animals but when we arrived at Las Animas, we were advised by the DM to go diving again as there was a much bigger colony of sea lions!
A word of praise is certainly due to the DMs. They were very efficient and knowledgeable about this remote island and they made our encounters with the exotic sea creatures possible. We dove with hundreds of Californian sea lions and some Guadalupe too. Not to mention schools of sardines and snappers! We ended this memorable day by watching a beautiful sunset and looking at the puppy sea lions climbing the rocks to save a spot!
Another magical Baja day! Thank you, Manuel and Geronimo! Looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure.