Orcas make one heck of an alarm clock

Isabelle Hurley 2016 IMG_3193

At 4:30 am today (June 29) we were woken up by a squeal over the hydrophone that sounded like “hello!”.  It was an N1 call from the A34 orcas!  They were calling at Critical Point.  We sprang from our beds and climbed down from the loft above the lab and immediately started recording.  We took turns distinguishing where the calls were coming from through bleary eyes, boat noise and copious amounts of coffee.

We had in fact only four short hours earlier heard this same group on the hydrophones.  We picked them up at Flower Island and listened to their calls till they swam right past OrcaLab where we were ready with cameras and video recorders.  Around 11pm as it was getting dark we even got to watch as they rubbed themselves on the rubbing beach via our remote camera system.  Once they left our hydrophone range we decided to call it a day and head to bed, knowing there was a pretty good chance they’d be back before long!

This was a really exciting occasion for us as it marks the first time the A1s have been back to Blackney Pass this season!  When watching the group move past the lab from North to South, Helena was pleased to identify that there was a new baby among them! So good news all round. Looks like plenty more early mornings are on the cards!

By Isabelle Hurley

(with apologies from Paul for the delay in posting)


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