Living my childhood dream
(Photos at the bottom of this blog)
In April 2016 I ventured to Bremer Bay to try fulfill a childhood dream - See a Killer Whale in the wild. Unforutanley it wasn't meant to be back then. On the last weekend in January, I thought I would give it another crack!
Ever since I saw the movie "Free Willy" when I was 4, I have been obsessed with Killer Whales. As a kid, any time we were at the beach I was always looking and hoping to catch a glimpse of one. I had everything crossed I would see one that Saturday.
With my friend Teneka in tow, we hopped in the car Thursday afternoon and decided to head south so we could make the most of our time in Bremer. We stopped in the sleepy town of Kendenup for the night, with only two hours between us and our destination.
I was up early that morning looking for some birds to photograph, having got very excited spotting a Rosella nearby when we pulled in. Teneka was still fast asleep as I crept out of our room at the crack of dawn. There were no Rosella's to be spotted, but there were some Fairy-Wrens. After a while, I finally spotted the Rosella's having a morning meal amongst some 28's. They didn't want to play nice though, and wouldn't let me get close at all. After about an hour, they were used to me and let me get just close enough for a few good shots!
It was then time to hit the road again (with a small detour to Mount Barker for decent coffee.) It was an easy drive to Bremer, with perfect weather. We arrived by 10:30 and decided straight away to hit the beach, testing out my new car awning and chilling. Check-in wasn't until 2pm for our cabin, so we had plenty of time to fill while we waited.
Luckily the brewery opened at 11am, so we decided to head there for some lunch and some delicious beers. If you love beer then this place NEEDS to be on your bucket list. Not only are the beers great, but so is the venue. The staff are super friendly, including the brewer who was happy to talk with us about how he made his beers.
After chilling out with some brews, we headed to the caravan park to check into our cabin, then across the road to the beach to watch the sunset and take the drone for a spin. We were getting some amazing shots of the bay one suddenly, my phone decided to have a meltdown (conveniently for the first time in its life) and shut down. My drone discounted, and we watched as it crash-landed somewhere in the dunes.
We searched until after dark but with no luck. So off we went to the pub for dinner and a beer in memory of my beloved drone.
The next morning we rose bright and early ready to see some Orcas. We could hardly stand still as we waited to board the Alison Maree. You could tell everyone around us was just as excited. The air was buzzing with nervous energy as we boarded the vessel ready to hit the open ocean!
After a brief introduction to the crew, we were off. The sea was rough, but I knew that was a good thing, having been told the last time that the Killer Whales prefer it that way. Luckily Ten and I weren't seasick, but not everyone was so fortunate. It certainly was hard to walk through, so we just sat it out on the back deck hoping we would get our sea-legs soon.
As soon as the crew announced we had hit the Bremer Canyon, everyone was up and wobbling around, anxious to see a black fin on the horizon. It seemed like we had only been at the hotspot 5 minutes when the shout went out "Orca's, 11 O'clock!" And then another shout "Orca's 2 O'clock!" There were two different pods of Orcas on either side of the boat!
After that, we were spoilt for choice! Multiple pods of Orca surged together on the hunt. We followed them excitedly towards a swell of birds squawking and fighting over scraps in the distance. We hadn't yet sighted what the orcas were hunting but we didn't have to wait long before we got the answer. Seabirds were playing tug of war over the remains of a red arrow squid. Mystery solved!
After their lunch, the Orcas became much more playful. They began to come up so close to the boat I could have reached over and touched them (I was very tempted!) In fact, they were way too close to photograph with my long lens-I did not expect that! Next time I'll know do bring another camera with a smaller setup.
They swan along the side of the boat, even the bigger males. It was just awesome to watch. We ended up staying out an extra hour before finally calling it a day and heading home.
The next day Teneka and I rose early to start the long drive back home. About halfway through the drive, our phones started to go off. We were in and out of reception, so it was hard to figure out what people were trying to tell us. Finally, the news came through. LOCKDOWN AGAIN! What a way to end an amazing weekend!