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Expedition Journal: our brief encounter with Killer Whales!

By September 3, 2018Animals
Killer Whales spotted from Yacht La Pinta

“I spy with my little eye…”

At noon, when we were wrapping up our equatorial line-crossing celebration, one of our guests screamed: whales! Immediately after, our Expedition Leader identified these playful giants as killer whales -one of the most beautiful species on the entire planet. He promptly spoke with our captain, Patricio Villacís, so we could change our route in order to get a closer look at this magnificent animals. We were invited to move on to Yacht La Pinta’s very own Darwin Balcony, which is located at the bow of the ship, as this place has enough space for guests and crew to witness this wonderful event in comfort.
Killer Whale spotted from Yacht La Pinta

Photo Credits: Marcelo Izquierdo

A moment to remember

As we approached the area where these 4 orcas were, our Naturalist Guide gave us some valuable information about this species. They also pointed out that they were eating sunfish – also known as mola mola. This may not seem interesting or extraordinary at all. Killer whales eat fish, right? Nevertheless, as they ate their meal, small water birds started gathering around. They were eating the “leftovers” that floated around! Nature at its finest!
Killer Whales spotted from Yacht La Pinta

Photo Credits: Marcelo Izquierdo

Interesting facts about Killer whales

Killer whales are cetaceans with very particular diets. There are pods that only feed on fish and others that hunt bigger marine creatures like sea lions, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, etc. They’re actually classified as apex predators because no animals prey on them. So, without this hazard, they can make the ocean their playground –and it truly is! Killer whale’s swimming skills are also very impressive! They can travel up to 30 mph and reach very deep waters. This whole experience seemed to be taken out of a postcard! The sea was calm, there was great visibility and no wind. We were with them for almost 20 minutes until they changed their course and got lost on the horizon. Our guests were so thankful for this magnificent experience, but we were just as humbled as them by the awesome display of beauty and wonder we saw.
Marcelo Izquierdo

About Marcelo Izquierdo

Medical Officer aboard Yacht La Pinta. I'm from Guayaquil and love photography, especially taking pictures of nature and animals while walking with guests on the trails of the Galapagos Islands. I’m also a part-time missionary during my time off and have the privilege of helping other people improve their lives through counseling and comfort. I also am in charge of taking pictures and managing social networks for the Children's Ministry in Ecuador.