SAN PEDRO (CBSLA) — The basking shark is rarely seen but there have been recent sightings off the coast of San Pedro.
In search of the rare sight — which some say resembles a Loch Ness monster — CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Randy Paige found all sorts of rare finds.
Just after leaving the San Pedro Harbor he reported, “We noticed he had some companions with us — a pod of bottlenose dolphins.” And they were just as playful and inquisitive as they could be.
“They actually enjoy interacting with the boats. Seems like they want to try to communicate with us. sometimes. They’re just amazing creatures,” says Captain Dan Salas, founder of Harbor Breeze Cruises in San Pedro.
He’s been riding these waters for more than 20 years.
Paige hoped to catch a rare glimpse of the basking shark, the second-largest living shark. These huge creatures are about 25 feet long. They look scary and fierce with their large gaping mouths — they look like man-eaters. But man is not on the diet — they actually feed on tiny plankton, and they’re considered to be one of the most gentle creatures in the sea.
“They’re friendly, they’re peaceful solitary creatures,” says Captain Salas, “When you do get to see them they have no real predators and it’s like seeing the Loch Ness monster.”
As the search for basking sharks continued, Paige encountered another rare sight — a group of gigantic fin whales.
The captain explained that fin whales are in short supply.
“Fin whales are on the endangered species list,” he said, “they’re rare, For some reason they’ve been feeding right outside of San Pedro.”
KCAL9 launched its drone to bring the audience a better look at the size of the fin whales.
They can grow up to 90 feet long — they are known as the greyhound of the sea for their beautiful, slender bodies. And they can swim faster than an ocean liner.
“You can hear their breath and it just leaves you in awe,” Salas says.
Paige reported that the elusive basking sharks were close but the captain had to head back to shore.
Drone pilot Marvin Stone was able to capture one more look of the majestic fin whale as it cut through the waters between San Pedro and Catalina Island.