Chance encounter

Orca and Humbpack Whale

The end of the season on the Antarctic Peninsula: Whale time!! It started at our first landing on the Peninsula at Cuverville Island. Already before breakfast we saw several Humpback Whales floating around in the water (apparently too lazy to dive to deeper waters where krill gathers during the daylight hours). From our landing we had more, slowly swimming past between the icebergs and during the short zodiac cruise on the way back it was even better. We’re not allowed to approach whales with zodiacs, but they did forget to mention those rules to the whales themselves. So I had parked my zodiac, engine off and was just waiting (with my guests of course) for what was about to happen. Two Humpbacks were slowly drifting towards me, so maybe we would get them really close if we were patient enough. I definitely didn’t expect what did happen next. Suddenly, right next to the Humpbacks a 1.5m tall dorsal fin popped up. Clearly not a Humpbacks, they have far smaller dorsal fins, but an Orca!! These type B (Or Gerlache) Orca’s hunt for seals and penguins, so the Humpbacks didn’t have to fear them, but it was really nice to see these two ocean giants this close to each other!

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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