DANA POINT (CBSLA.com) — A lucky group of whale watchers got a special treat off the Orange County coast after discovering a pod of killer whales.
The orcas from Baja were spotted off the San Onofre State Beach south of San Clemente on Wednesday and swam feet from amazed tourists aboard a whale watching boat.
The sighting so rare the crew pulled out a GoPro, attached it to a stick, and caught footage of the more than a dozen orcas, some babies.
Donna Kalez, who runs Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching, says tourists have seen amazing whales but orcas are a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“Those people on the boat were very, very lucky,” she said.
Fishermen say warmer waters are bringing the whale up from Baja to feast on yellow fin.
“I heard they were eating tuna yesterday, so probably chasing the food,” one man said.
The boat captain says the rare killer whale sightings combined with abundant warm water off the coast of Southern California means a strong El Nino is coming.
“I’ve been doing this a very, very long time. If we do not see some wet conditions from this, I will be shocked because everything is in alignment for a wet winter,” he said.
Locals say the Eastern Tropical Pacific killer whales have only shown up in the area once every couple of years. So far, this year, it’s their second visit between San Clemente and Dana Point.