Featured Image Credit: Harbor Breeze Cruises/Erik Combs
Dana Point has been attracting migrating whales left and right. After a pod of gray whales swam through its waters, a killer whale MEGAPOD appeared on the scene just last Wednesday.
According to reports, this is the first orca showing of this ecotype since last January in Orange County. The arrival of about 50 orca whales coincides with the long standing migration of thousands of gray whales, who are trading in their Arctic feeding grounds for a warmer nursery near Mexico.
The first gray whale trickled in last Tuesday with several more following in its wake on Wednesday. The pod of offshore killer whales made major waves because they’re a mysterious shark-eating species who are typically spotted off of British Columbia.
Newport Landing Whale Watching‘s Jessica Roame posted on Facebook, “WOW, what a day! I was lucky enough to be on the water this morning to encounter these VERY RARE Offshore Orcas,” and she continued, “A pod of 8 killer whales stayed with us and cruised up the beach.”
A prominent killer whale researcher named Alisa Schulman-Janiger was able to identify the offshore killer whales by inspecting a photo of a particular orca male. The male was nicknamed Scoopfin in 1995 when he was first photographed. In an interview with GrindTV, Alisa commented, “We don’t see them very often, and not a lot is known about them. We’ll sometimes go 8 or 10 years without a sighting of various individuals. So it was a very exciting opportunity to go out and try to get IDs.”
Little is known about this particular orca ecotype because they typically stick to deeper waters where they can prey on sleeper sharks, tuna, opah, and other pelagic fishes. Offshore killer whales were first documented in Monterey Bay in 1992 and have since been seen off the coasts of Alaska, Washington, and British Columbia.
As soon as the sightings were made several whale watching companies were dispatched. Mark Girardeau from Newport Coastal Adventures managed to capture some incredible footage, and lucky for us, he posted the encounter on Facebook:
Read about other offshore orca encounters on GrindTV.