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Orcas off Orange County!

Monterey Bay, California

A group of orcas (killer whales; [Orcinus orca]) has been cruising up and down the coast of Southern California! Experts who track the killer whales say that most of the sightings have been of the same two family groups of orcas that are searching for seals and sea lions. On Sunday and Monday, the observers who have  been cataloging the huge increase in migrating gray whales from the Point Vicente Interpretive Center saw 10 killer whales off the Palos Verdes Peninsula! TODAY, the whale-watching vessel, Dana Pride, spotted 7 to 10 killer whales off the Orange County coast! Such sightings are extremely rare!

“Seeing killer whales is once in a lifetime,” said Donna Kalez, general manager of Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching, which had two excursions in a row encounter killer whales outside Dana Point Harbor on Tuesday afternoon. “That’s unheard of. We’re very excited.”

Alisa Schulman-Janiger, head of the California Killer Whale Project said that the visiting orcas are believed to be part of a transient population of killer whales most commonly seen around Monterey and include seven members of one orca family, known as “CA 51” and three members of another, called “CA 140.”

Schulman-Janiger said that, last month, some of the same killer whales were seen near the Channel Islands, off the coast of Ventura and Newport Beach, and back in Monterey Bay (photo above). She said that the orcas were basically Monterey Bay-based killer whales on an excursion that are finding a lot of sea lions to prey upon, and not much competition!

Those of you in Southern California right now, enjoy the rare experience of seeing killer whales!

-Bill at

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