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Another Orca Visit

Stewy's avatar

Animal Updates | Mammals | Whale Watching

Thursday, June 08, 2017

James S.

Orca porpoising in the boat's wake - popup
Orca porpoising in the boat's wake Josh Meza-Fidalgo, Harbor Breeze Cruises

There has been a great amount of variety on the water recently, we even had a visit by the friendly CA51 pod of orca! These are a transient subtype of orca that predominantly feed on mammals. Pinnipeds, like sea lions, will often be their prey but they could prey on larger mammals like other whales. In some reported cases mammal eating orca have even attacked and preyed on other dolphins. If you’ve been keeping up with our blogs we talked about orca subtypes before. Orca specialize in the types of food items they prey upon. Their hunting practices and behaviors reflect the type of animals they consume, and rarely would they stray from their specific prey item. The resident orca in Washington prefer salmon, there’s a group of shark/ray eating orca, and the CA51s are mammal eaters. It was a rare treat to see this family again, and they are very boat friendly as you can see from the pictures.

We had a small hiatus from our blue whales, but we expect them to start showing up en masse pretty soon. While we were waiting for blues to show up we were able to see the common dolphins (like normal), bottlenose dolphins, some great humpback activity, and fin whales. There’s even been a few sightings of our ocean ninja-like minke whales. The humpback whales have been fairly friendly and active with some lovely breaches, tail lobs, pec slaps, and some chin slaps. Absolutely beautiful animals that we are so thankful we get to experience on our local waters.

There’s been a lot of news coverage and information coming out about the great white sharks we’ve seen lately near the coastline. While out on a whale watch our guests actually were able to spot a shark pretty far offshore. On the GPS this sighting was out near the “drop off” where the depth can suddenly plummet down thousands of feet relatively quickly. Most of the juvenile white sharks that have been spotted were close to the shoreline, this was a special treat to see one out so far.

If you’ve been waiting for a chance to come down to Long Beach to get on a whale watch, it’s always a good time to look for local wildlife, but the summer is our peak for blue whales. We never know what we’ll find once we get out on the water, check out the amazing pictures in the blog and head over to our website to get a combo ticket to Harbor Breeze Cruises and the Aquarium of the Pacific. Get out on the water and then head inside the aquarium to visit our animals and learn more about whales at our “Whales: Voices in the Sea” exhibit.

See you on the water!