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Whale Report Whale Report

Whale Report

Saturday 3rd August 2019

15 Whales

Byron Bay

8-21

SSW 7KN

1.8m

Today there was plenty of action out off the coast of Ballina and Byron Bay. We enjoyed breaching, comp groups, muggings & tail slapping on our Byron Bay Whale Watching Cruises at 8:00am & 11:00am. Conditions are looking good this week, so be sure to book aboard our Byron Bay Whale Watching Cruise.

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Killer Whales Return to Ballina

Passengers aboard our 7:30am & 3:00pm Whale Watching cruise on Friday (2nd of October 2020) witnessed 2 bottlenose dolphins being hunted by a pod of 3-5 Killer Whales, also known as Orcas just 5 kilometres off the coast of Lennox Head & Ballina. This is the full story of Skipper, Dean Fuchs first hand experience. It was this time last year, that Dean witnessed Orcas off the coast of Ballina and now they have returned for a second year in a row. Will this become a regular event for Ballina perhaps?

WARNING

 If you are sensitive to graphic photos or descriptions of animal prey which have been involved in the circle of life and fallen victim to their predator, please do not read or view photos/video from this article.

 

On Friday the 3rd of October 2020 we started our day like any other. Our first Whale Watching cruise departed at 7:30am and we headed out through the heads of the Ballina bar.

This first cruise had a slow start as the ocean seemed quiet, almost earie. There were no Humpbacks in sight, in fact there was no activity on the ocean at all.

We decided to travel North East of Lennox Head about 5km offshore. Here we spotted a few blows in the distance, although these animals did not resemble Humpbacks or Dolphins.

As we headed in that direction and became closer, I realised they were Killer Whales (Orca’s). I couldn’t believe my eyes! I was nervous and my adrenaline was pumping.

I fumbled for my camera with shaking hands at the thought of witnessing Orca’s for a second year in a row.

As we came closer, I noticed something floating in the water and at first, I thought it was rubbish, white bits of bucket perhaps. I soon came to realise that it was remnants of a humpback calf, it was white blubber and the Orca’s were feeding.

The boat had come to a stop and 3-5 Orca’s approached, patrolling around the boat. They even brought a piece of blubber over to the boat, as if they were trying to show off their successful kill.

We must have reached this scene towards the end of their meal as we were only there for about 20 minutes before they began to cruise south east.

We followed them at a distance out to sea, before leaving them about 5- 6 km off Shelly Beach, East Ballina.

We did another two whale watching cruises after this and found that humpback sightings were fewer than usual, with less action. Humpbacks we did see, were tightly grouped together.

On our final cruise of the day, departing at 3 pm, we were a close 500 metres from the shore off Shelly Beach, watching a Humpback mother and calf. These whales all of a sudden swam quickly into the surf zone, and I noticed this as strange behaviour.

I turned and looked further offshore, about 2 to 3 km away, and could see a lot of commotion in the water. There was splashing and quick blows.

I decided to head in that direction, where we witnessed three Orca’s preying on a fully- grown bottlenose dolphin. The chase was about 40 minutes and we watched as the hunt unfolded.

 It looked as if they were playing with the dolphin for quite some time before they drowned it. We had the boat stationary, as the Orca’s once again brought their kill over to us, they lifted the dolphin up on their nose flipping it in the air.

After this, they started heading inshore very quickly as if they were on a mission. We caught sight of a humpback mother and calf breaching in the distance and the Orca’s were heading straight for the calf.

500m out from the Humpbacks, the Orca’s disappeared under the water and the humpbacks became quiet, they were no longer breaching.

We thought, perhaps there was another attack happening below the surface, however the Orca’s resurfaced south of the humpback pair.

 Here they found another pod of dolphins to prey upon. They began to quickly separate a baby dolphin from its mother. They flicked the dolphin up in the air before bringing it closer to the boat once again.

 

They circled the boat on sunset for another 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Jaws to the floor, I took our passengers back to the wharf and the cruise came to a finish.

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