There has been stunning video footage of an attack on a blue whale by a pod of around 70 Orca killer whales off the southern coast of Western Australia this week (March 2021).
The pod hunted and killed the juvenile blue whale at Bremer Canyon, a deep sea cleft about 65 kilometres in the Southern Ocean, out from the tiny coastal town of Bremer Bay. The canyon and nearby smaller canyons are feeding grounds for orca whales, and they don’t hold back on having another whale species for lunch!
The drama was watched by tourists and scientists on an adventure whale spotting trip aboard Naturaliste Charters, a local Western Australian company which goes out from Bremer Bay to the Canyon to spot Orcas every year from January to April – the season for spotting orcas here.
Naturalist Charters was the first company to introduce whale watching cruises to the South West of Western Australia, which has an abundance of various whale species passing by every year.
The attack at Bremer Canyon this week was a rare sight for whale watchers, but trips to the area do regularly spot orca pods in season. So if you are keen, this is something you might consider. However, be warned. The Canyon is well into the rough Southern Ocean, so chances are that you won’t encounter millpond conditions!
I’ve been whale watching with Naturaliste Charters in the much more calm waters of Geographe Bay off Dunsborough, about 300 kilometres south of the WA State capital, Perth.
I am also a regular whale watcher from the shores of Geographe Bay where blue whales, humpbacks, minkes and southern right whales pass by from July through to the end of November every year – some remarkably only 100 metres from where I’m standing! I’ll report on that in a future blog.
But as tempting as seeing orcas at the Bremer Canyon might be, I don’t think my sea legs are likely to handle the trip. A Bremer Bay local said to me recently that ‘there is no good calm day to go out’! That isn’t correct. The Southern Ocean does have calm waters at times. But you need to be aware that a rocky trip with high swells is most likely.
People I know who have been out to spot orcas at Bremer Canyon have told me it’s an amazing experience that they wouldn’t have missed. Definitely one for the bucket list if this sort of adventure attracts you.
The little town of Bremer Bay, where the whale watching boat sets out from, doesn’t have a lot of accommodation, though there are a couple of good caravan/camping parks, and I’ve stayed in an excellent bed and breakfast overlooking the Bay. I’ll do a separate blog on Bremer Bay in the future as it has some other worthwhile attractions.
Naturaliste Charters can organise transport from Albany, a small coastal city with plenty of accommodation about two hours drive from Bremer Bay. But this does make for a very long day.
I suggest that the Bremer Canyon orcas are a stellar experience for adventure travellers who don’t mind rough sea conditions. A trip with Naturalist Charters costs $385 for adults (2021 prices) and $505 for a bus/expedition package from Albany. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea are included in that, along with a commentary by an onboard Marine biologist.
Killer Whale (Orca) Bremer Bay Expeditions
Another company, Whale Watch Western Australia, also offers trips out to spot orcas at the Bremer Canyon. Their prices are similar.