An Inter-Species Play Date

11-14-2019

By Christian Lloyd, Expedition Guide on the Wilderness Discoverer

As we were leaving Iyoukeen Cove the other day, we spotted some orca whales. They were moving slowly and were fairly spread out, with a small group of females nearby. We watched them for a while, enjoying this special sighting, before moving onward to see two males further in the distance.

At that very moment, a few Dall’s Porpoise surfaced a long way off. Many orcas enjoy snacking on small mammals such as porpoises and seals, so we watched in anticipation of the inevitable carnage. These orcas had looked like the fish-eating kind, but how can you be sure until you see what they do when a tasty little treat is put in their way?

The porpoises came closer. Our eyes and cameras were ready for what would come next. Still, the porpoises came closer, and we noticed that one of the male orcas had been down a while. Surely this meant that he was working on making his deathly move towards the porpoises.

However, at that moment the male surfaced peacefully, slowly working along the same direction. Then, two Dall’s Porpoises suddenly popped up directly in front of the Orca. They were bow-riding the Orca! This was not what any of us expected!

The bow-riding continued for a while and we watched, anticipating the moment when the porpoise’s bad judgment would result in their demise. But, after about 10 minutes, we were forced to accept the truth. These were fish-eating Killer Whales, and they weren’t about to change their ways. The Dall’s porpoises knew it and were busy making friends.

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