Last week we shared a story about killer whales surfing in a boat's wakes off La Paz, Mexico, and referred to prior sightings of this this rarely observed behavior elsewhere in the Sea of Cortez.
Now there's evidence, courtesy of boat captain Eric Astourian of Baywatch Malibu, that at least one orca has been surfing recently off Southern California.
The accompanying video shows a young killer whale, or orca, riding behind a Baywatch boat on May 4 off northern Malibu. (The footage was uploaded to YouTube on Saturday.)
Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a killer whale researcher, says the mammal probably is a 2 1/2-year-old female cataloged as CA51d and nicknamed Comet because of its distinctive eyepatch. (Comet is pitcured at right in a photo taken in 2011 off Point Fermin on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.)
That would make sense because the CA51 family group of transient killer whales has been spotted recently in Southland waters--most recently on Saturday off Dana Point.
Though most transient killer whale sightings occur farther north and specifically in the Monterey area, the CA51s are becoming regular visitors to Southern California, and they're famously boat friendly.
They include the mom (CA51), her 15-year-old son (CA51B), her younger son (CA51C), and Comet (CA51D).
Photo credit: Alisa Schulman-Janiger