A large pod of false killer whales passed through Southern California coastal waters Wednesday, for the first time since 2001.
The first sighting, by Capt. Mike Bursk of the Explorer out of the Ocean Institute, was at about 11 a.m. off Dana Point. The scattered pod numbered between 50 and 70 and remained off Orange County at least until it was last seen off Huntington Beach by passengers aboard the Christoper out of Long Beach, at about 5:15 p.m.
A complete story can be found on GrindTv Outdoor’s Big Blue blog, but this post focuses on the amazing underwater footage captured by David Anderson of Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari.
Captain Dave used a GoPro camera and managed not only to capture close-ups of the false killer whales, but vocalizations from the curious mammals, including one that seemed to be speaking to the camera.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Anderson said. “I was sitting there for about five minutes and the whales came over and surrounded me. Their whistles were so loud I could hear them above the surface. I grabbed my GoPro and wasn’t even sure it was on and stuck in the water. I was tempted to touch them but I didn’t want to disturb them. It was one of the most amazing encounters I’ve ever had with wild cetaceans.”
As of late Thursday morning, there were no reports of the false killer whales’ whereabouts. On Wednesday evening, they were traveling slowly to the west-northwest.
–Images are screen grabs from the Dolphin Safari video