January 5, 2011
Written by Amos Nachoum
You may have seen orcas in captivity or heard them called “killer whales.” First of all, they’re not whales at all, but the largest species in the dolphin family. If you want to experience them for yourself and have a BigAnimals encounter you’ll never forget, join me as I’m leading an expedition to Norway to see the kind of orcas known as “resident” orcas. Their favorite food is herring, and we’ll be going there at just the right time – during an enormous herring migration. I have trips leaving Jan 28 – Feb 5, 2011 and also Feb 4 – 12, 2011.
I’ve seen orcas display amazing behaviors. I’ve watched them blow millions of bubbles underneath the herring, using these “bubble nets” to herd their prey. And the New York Times recently reported that orcas will who feed on penguins will gather a few hundred feet from an ice floe and charge a penguin colony. Just before the collision point the orcas will execute a U-turn, which throws up a big wave. The wave washes the penguins into the sea and the orcas move in.
Orca Photography Expedition
Orcas are clever, and they’re also very social. They live in small nuclear families that we call pods. At the heart is an orca mother who stays with her children throughout her life. They are confident animals, too. When we dive with them, two divers at a time to mingle with the pod, it doesn’t take them very long to see that we aren’t a threat. I’ve found that they will swim close to us – they’re just as curious as we are. Orcas like to have fun, and there has been a report of orcas riding waves like body surfers. They are also well-known for their vocalizations, a language made up of clicks, whistles and pulsed calls. They use the clicks as sonar, a form of echolocation to find food sources and to navigate the vast ocean.
They are among the most fascinating BigAnimals, and I would like to invite you to come with me to Norway in January. The water is cold, so this is a dry suit expedition, but it is also very clear water, with horizontal visibility up to 50 feet and vertically, more than 100 feet. You’ll get amazing views of orca feeding behavior. There are still some spaces left on this trip – I promise you it will be the orca adventure of a lifetime.