I’m sure you’ve already heard the news..KILLER WHALES WERE RIGHT HERE IN SAN DIEGO TODAY! This morning was indescribably amazing, surprising and all around PERFECT! We were nearly in tears when a radio report called out the words “Killer Whales” and we charged toward the sighting. Sure enough, we encountered a pod of 9-11 BIGG’S TRANSIENT KILLER WHALES! Not only is it very rare to spot this species in San Diego, this type (separate from the Eastern Tropical Pacific Orcas that we would expect to see off our coast) has never before been recorded as far down south as San Diego. What an incredible treat! The pod consisted of a few males, females and 3-4 calves. This pod has been spotted with three calves in the past with a previous unconfirmed sighting of a fourth, more recently born calf. In order to determine whether or not a fourth is present, we will have to further analyze the appearance of each individual to confirm confidently. Stay tuned.
The pod maintained a steady course toward the Southwest and we were able to join alongside them in their travels. At one point, a rowdy pod of Common Dolphins began to stampede in front of our boat and we noticed a significant change in the behavior of the Orcas. They charged head-on with the line of Common Dolphins, picked up their pace and began surfacing more frequently in what resembled a cooperative pursuit. To our surprise, they eventually slowed down and ignored the dolphins. We were hoping for a little bit of action but the Killer Whales spared the smaller toothed whales today.
The window during which our chances of spotting Killer Whales falls around November-February. This species would not have even been on our radar today if they were not recently reported off the coast of Oceanside. We have our fingers crossed that they stick around the area for a re-sighting tomorrow. Nothing is impossible, clearly!