Killer whales were spotted Thursday afternoon off Los Angeles County, marking yet another holiday season appearance.
The orcas are the “friendly” CA51s, a mom, two sons, and a 5-year-old daughter, who are most frequently seen off Central and Northern California.
They were seen five miles beyond Point Fermin on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, by passengers and crew aboard a Harbor Breeze Cruises boat out of Long Beach. (They were last seen heading toward Catalina.)
This marks the fifth consecutive year that these marine mammal-eating transient killer whales have shown in the region at least once during the holiday season.
The orca in the photo atop this post is CA51, the mom, giving passengers a close look.
Said researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger, of the California Killer Whale Project: “She has been approaching boats like that for 20 years at least.”
The vacation analogy might seem corny, but these particular mammals, which are famously curious around boats, have developed a pattern of visiting during the holiday season, with January 1 being one of their favorite times to make an appearance.
Their favorite foods, during their visits, are California sea lions and common dolphins.
Stated Schulman-Janiger on Facebook: "They will likely forage between Pt. Vicente and Dana Point over the next several weeks, perhaps popping up to the Channel Islands. I have seen them on 3 of the past 4 New Year's Days! They're Baaaack!"
–Photos showing CA51 (top) and CA51b are courtesy of Erik Combs/Harbor Breeze Cruises