Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
By Lindsay Edgar
Orcas, and Sperm Whales and Humpbacks – oh my! The coast of South Laguna, California has quickly become the hot spot for whale-watching this month. On December 6th, a pod of about seven Briggs killer whales was seen hunting near the water’s surface. A boat captained by Mike Bursck, the Sea Explorer, drew near the pod just as they decided to show their playfulness. “They started surface paddling and did bow-riding with us just like dolphins” Captain Bursck reported excitedly. The high school students from San Clemente that were onboard got the treat of a lifetime.
Due to the transient nature of these whale species, the sightings are extremely rare and they don’t usually happen this often. What makes the story even crazier is that Bursck was the first to spot a pod of more than 50 killer whales just a week earlier. But, he wasn’t the only one to spot whales heading north.
Captain Mike Redlew also had an encounter with a large pod of whales near the same area. Only this time their numbers reached at least 100, and they were sperm whales. The whales were blowing spouts of water into the air and traveling in a pod that spanned about a mile wide. Sperm whales were last seen in the area in 2012 so this new sighting has sprung many questions among scientists.
The whale count for that week totaled: two blue whales, seven killer whales, thousands of dolphins, and a pod of eight humpbacks. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration doesn’t have a good explanation for the high numbers, other than stating the fact that “nature is unpredictable” – which is certainly true! These beautiful creatures are definitely on the radar this December.