Megapods are wondrous. All that joyous splashing, all that community cavorting. This week, a megapod of about 30 orcas delighted folks off the Palos Verdes Peninsula, including volunteers with the Gray Whale Census who were first surprised by the mysterious pod.
On the American Cetacean Society’s Facebook page, Alisa Schulman-Janiger (census project director and orca specialist) writes that this group of small orcas is probably the shark-eating offshore killer whales that traveled down from British Columbia, last sighted in January of 2012. Traveling in subgroups, these whales could be a part of bigger group, maybe 100 whales spread out more than 10 miles.
Tour boats and other sea vessels are encouraged to be on high alert for these black and white beauties; these resident orcas fancy sleeper sharks along with opah and halibut.
“They may well stay in our area for weeks,” Schulman-Janiger writes. “There are less than 80 offshore orcas sightings recorded in California from 1982-2013.” In addition, these are whales new to the area, not ones that have previously visited SoCal.
We like to think the orcas are visiting for the holidays. But unlike Uncle Fred, they can stay as long as they like.
(Photo: Pod of resident orcas by NOAA. Note: these are not the killer whales that were sighted in SoCal.)