Monday, October 02, 2006

Transient Orca kill Dall's porpoise!!

September 12, 2006

Fifteen years! That is how long I have been waiting and hoping to get a decent photo of transient Orcas killing and eating a Dall's porpoise. Though I have often seen the chase, getting a good photo is never easy. This morning I finally got my wish in Southeast Alaska's Chatham Strait. Five transients started the whole thing by singling out a Dall's porpoise and giving chase until the animal was simply too tired to get away. The event lasted over seventy minutes and ended in a flurry as several of the Orcas tried to slash, lunge on, and even tail thwack their prey. The deathstroke came in a lunge from below where the porpoise was lifted out of the water in the jaws of its predator. After dismembering their breakfast the pod circled our boat and gave a couple of celabratory breaches, spy-hops, and tail-slaps. At one point one of the animals lunged out of the water after a salmon...hard to say if this was for play or for additional food (transient Orcas aren't suppossed to eat fish)!? The encore came as two of the animals circled and dove beneath our now drifting yacht, at one point stopping and looking up at us as we leaned over the bow to look at them. All in all one of the most exciting things I have EVER had the privilege to witness and photograph in nature! Happy Birthday Kailia Shawn!!

A special note: I couldn't have gotten these photos without Captain Winston Warr III and mate/engineer Danny Blanchard. MANY guys ROCK!!!