Captain Danny Salas of the Christopher out of Harbor Breeze Cruises in Long Beach is used to sighting whales for his passengers from the bridge of the Christoper. Today however, Salas is spotting Orcas from a lookout on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Salas was driving near Point Vicente with his 16 year old daughter Caroline when the young student from Palos Verdes High saw some giant dorsal fins slicing through the water. "Dad, I think I see a pod of killer whales." Salas pulled over and sure enough there was a sizable pod of Orcas. Captain Salas estimated that there were around 10 killer whales.
Then, off in the distance the younger Salas spied a huge pod of dolphin. "Dad, the killer whales are headed right for them." Capatain Salas said the pod of orcas headed straight for the dolphin and when they arrived, the dolphin started to jump out of the water.
"It looked to us like they were eating the dolphin," said Salas. "The dolphin reacted like they were in fear for their lives; not only jumping out of the water but swimming in every direction looking confused."
Salas alerted the Christopher who was departing Long Beach at 3pm for the afternoon whale watch trip. The orcas were headed east towards Long Beach so the passengers on board are sure to get a great show in minutes.
It appears as though this pod of killer whales was actually spotted earlier. I recieved the following message on Facebook from Scientist Alisa Shulman-Janiger .
"Our observers first spotted the orcas off of the ACS/LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project post (at Pt, Vicente) around 2pm. They confirmed tham as orcas by 2:15 and called me," said scientist Alisa Shulman-Janiger. " I called about 15 people, including the captain of the Voyager and Kera Mathes (LB Aquarium); Kera called the Christopher about 2:25 to tell them about the orcas (they had not yet heard). I have identified 8 orcas - including t3 males - so far from the photos taken."
Bernardo Alps provided all of these dramatic photos of the killer whale pod off Palos Verdes. He posted the following on Facebook:
"Got "The Call" from Alisa just after ordering lunch at Puesta Del Sol on Saturday. Diane drove me home, I raced over to Long Beach just in time to hop on the Kristina out of Harbor Breeze Cruises with Capt. Gary Wiley.
We passed a pod of common dolphins and two gray whales to catch up with the killer whales about 6 miles south of Point Fermin heading towards Catalina Island. There were six whales and I immediately recognized CA217, the adult male with the missing dorsal nicknamed Chopfin, and CA140, a female with a very distinctive double notch in the trailing edge of her dorsal fin.
I have seen both of them several times before. Capt. Gary positioned us perfectly and I was able to obtain excellent ID photos of all animals. The orcas pretty much ignored the small flotilla following them and at one time surfaced just 30 feet from the Kristina.
As were heading home already late, we came across two more orcas, little more than a mile from the main group. Capt. Gary turned the Kristina around so that we could ID these two additional whales. Just as we were going to leave them, now really late, they attacked a small California sea lion. They knocked the pinniped around for a few minutes and then headed off. Here are some of my photos from that amazing trip."
Thank you Bernardo!
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