REDONDO BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A family of orcas decided to come out and play off the coast of Redondo Beach this week and a marine biologist who has been following this family caught the show on video.
A family of four killer whales – a mother and her two male and one female offspring – have visited the Palos Verdes area during the holidays annually since 2008, according to marine biologist Alisa Schulman-Janiger.
Only about 150 killer whales live off the coast of California. Schulman-Janiger has been studying these mammals for more than 30 years, so it’s easy for her to distinguish this family of four, whom she’s been following for about a decade.
These orcas put on their Sea World-worthy show last Monday. As another researcher, Eric Martin, shot video of the whales below the surface of the water, the orcas apparently decided to make their presence much more obvious.
“All four whales popped up next to him, one was within three feet of his hand – of his camera in the water. We were very surprised, he was shocked,” Schulman-Janiger said.
Even for an experienced marine biologist like Schulman-Janiger, the sight of this family of four orca frolicking after their boat was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“Oh, it was absolutely amazing. It was probably a 30 on a scale of one to 10. It was incredible,” she said.
Spotters have spotted a record number of gray whales this month. Prime whale watching season stretches from November through April.