Once in a lifetime

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This week at Macquarie Island: 11 October 2013

While boating down the east coast of Macquarie Island on a mirror calm day, an orca breached and the call went out to slow and idle ahead. After five to ten minutes there was no sign of the orca. Our encounter was only brief and typical.

However, Tony stood up in the boat and said 'look' and managed to rattle off ten shots before I could understand what he was looking at. Our orca surfaced behind us but to the shore side. As the magnificent specimen cruised past I could see Tony had almost filled a terabyte with shots, so I gingerly placed my waterproof movie camera under the surface and pointed in the general direction of the orca cruising past in the vain hope it might be clear enough to capture him underwater. Our encounter was brief and he disappeared after several breaches patrolling for food. We continued on and arrived back on base a couple of hours later.

That night I was keen to see if the camera had captured any footage. To my astonishment the water was crystal clear and I had captured the orca cruising effortlessly along the coast. If only I had kept it underwater for longer to capture more footage.

See below some snapshots from the video taken on that day.

Greg Bird

Underwater picture of an orca heading towards the surface - taken off a video
Underwater picture of an orca - taken off a video

(Photo: Greg Bird)

Underwater picture of an orca that was slowly cruising north parallel to the coast- taken off a video
Underwater picture of an orca that was slowly cruising north parallel to...

(Photo: Greg Bird)

Underwater picture of an orca that was slowly cruising north parallel to the coast- taken off  video footage
Underwater picture of an orca that was slowly cruising north parallel to...

(Photo: Greg Bird)

Underwater image of the orca as it slowly pulls away - taken off a video
Underwater image of the orca as it slowly pulls away - taken...

(Photo: Greg Bird)

Image of the same orca as it surfaces with the front top half of the whale and its large dorsal fin above the water - taken from one of the other boats
Image of the same orca as it surfaces - taken from one...

(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)

Image of the orca's back and dorsal fin as it is about to descend below the surface - taken from one of the other boats
Image of the orca as it is about to descend below the...

(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)

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This page was last modified on 11 October 2013.