Pod Of Orcas Spotted Just Outside Golden Gate

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) — A group of whale watchers spotted a pod of killer whales about 10 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge Saturday.

This was the second time in three days these same orcas were spotted. There  was a sighting off the Monterey coast on Friday.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

According to members of the group, 12-15 orcas surrounded their boat. There were a few calves in the group. For about 2 hours, the pod swam and played while the group of 40, or so people looked on. Amid all the excitement, they managed to videotape the whales and share them with CBS San Francisco.  The video is courtesy of Andy Katzman.

((© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  • Hubert Powell

    Something to enjoy this Sunday morning

  • Tom

    That’s really great to see and with the porpoise,seal and herring it’s a good sign for our waters!

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    […] Pod Of Orcas Spotted Just Outside Golden Gate SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) — A group of whale watchers spotted a pod of killer whales about 10 miles from the Golden Gate […] […]

  • Tom Kehoe

    Probably run out of food elsewhere. They’re scrounging for what little is left. If this area were a good source of food, don’t you think that pods would have long been a common sight?

    • Mr. Sea Lion

      Orca are fairly common off the California coast… the whole West Coast of the US, actually. Though they are not as common as you might find them in say Alaska, or Washington – which may be why you have the perception that they are “scrounging for what little is left.”

      There are two kinds of Orcas… “locals” and “transients”. Locals are… as the name implies… local to a particular area… like a territory. Transients are more wide-ranging and don’t seem to prefer to stay in any particular home waters. It could be that this is a transient group, just here temporarily… picking up a few sea lion snacks before hitting the road.

      • S.Tarantino

        This siting is a big deal because the members are from L-pod, southern residents of Puget Sound, WA. I believe they have been making this trip for the past 5 years to Montery. Out of the three pods of southern residents, J, K and L, it is K and L that leave Puget Sound in the winter, only to return each spring.

      • Tom Kehoe

        Why then, is this sighting a big deal?

  • Joe Florez

    My cats breath smells like cat food.

  • Bill

    Joe your pretty dumb, Mr. Kehoe ya think?

  • Marc

    Bill you said “your” pretty dumb? It’s “YOU’RE”–not “YOUR”.

  • Omnivore

    Are they good eatin’?

  • ChocoCat

    “Tom Kehoe

    Why then, is this sighting a big deal?”

    Its not Mr Kehoe, you can go back to your porn or video games

  • yeadoesntmatter

    Orca’s are not common in the bay area. There have been a few sighting in since just about 2007. Though I’d love to see them first hand, the sign that we are seeing them more frequently here probably has larger ramifications, like their food source further up north where they are a common site is dwindling.

    • Mr. Sea Lion

      I love how something new happens around here and it’s definitely because of some tragic event somewhere else. Of course that can be the ONLY answer! Orcas are starving up north so they have to come here! Where do you get this information?

      It’s FAR more likely that it’s a “transient” pod… following its food source. Orcas are specialized hunters, meaning different groups prefer different food sources. Just like with people, where some prefer beef, and others prefer to eat chicken or fish instead…. Orcas prefer marine mammals or salmon etc.

      Transient groups of Orcas do not have a narrow territory but prefer instead to roam over huge distances… like blubbery hippies… staying off the ocean grid.

      • S.Tarantino

        It has been confirmed that the siting consisted of members of L-pod, southern residents of Puget Sound, WA.

        Since if is apparent that you have not done your research, they are called ‘residents’ not ‘locals’. Means the same, I suppose, but it is not factual.

        The southern residents have been dealing with a lack of salmon for years now, further these pods were depleted by the last legal round up for captivity in marine parks……2 of which still survive, some 30+ years ago.

        Fish-eating (Resident) Killer Whales Sighted in Monterey Bay on Feb. 10, 2011

        Nancy Black

        Monterey, CA. Today, February 10, 2011, members of the endangered group of Resident Killer Whales were spotted by Monterey Bay Whale Watch, headed into Monterey Bay along the deep submarine canyon. The group consisted of “L Pod” a family group of 40 individuals, part of the population of Southern Residents consisting of J, K and L pods. These whales spend most of the year off the San Juan Islands in Washington State feeding on salmon in the inland waterways. These whales have been recently listed as endangered as their population has decreased most likely due to a reduction in their primary food source, Chinook salmon. Today’s afternoon group of whale watchers were absolutely thrilled as our boat searched north along the canyon edge for gray whales, most common at this time, but instead our naturalist, Lori Beraha, spotted a distant splash, nearly 2 miles in the distance. It turned out our captain, Richard Ternullo, had navigated the boat right towards the Resident Killer whales, which were seen the day before off San Francisco. Our friend and colleague, MJ Schramm who works for the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, called us after she received a report about the whales off San Francisco and sent a photo, which confirmed they were the Southern Residents. We were hoping they might be headed our way and luckily were correct! Several passengers said it was a trip of a lifetime for them and they never imagined they would see so many killer whales!


  • Capt. Tom Bernot

    Everyone! It is not important to know why they are here. It is far more important to know what human impact they face in the future and take steps immediately to reduce waste and learn how we can live eco-friendly lives with Mother Earth.

  • mscott

    dam now I can’t go baby seal clubbing the whales are going to get them all. Nothing more fun than clubbing baby seals in front of their mothers.

  • PeterC

    Why not just enjoy that we got to see them?!

  • Eddy

    Why all the specualtion on food sources when there is clearly still plenty of food sources for them throughout the pacific? It is not that uncommon and we should enjoy getting to see them and it is not like we have eyes everywhere, they are probably here more often than we see them.

  • amy

    The whales are amazing. How come the trash talk in comments?

    • KaiBeezy

      Amy > Insightful article partly on this topic by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker this week. He says:

      “But things that were once external and subject to social embarrassment — above all, our interactions with other people — are now easily internalized, made to feel like the mere workings of the id left on its own. Thus the limitless malice of Internet commenting: it’s not newly unleashed anger but what we all think in the first order, and have always in the past socially restrained if only thanks to the look on the listener’s face — the monstrous music that runs through our minds is now played out loud.”

      I suppose the thing to do is just ignore the ranting. Or you can skip reading comments in certain places, and try to gravitate to more civilized environs. I have been impressed by comments in the Providence Journal of all places — the editors could be moderating there, but you have to wonder if it’s simply a more polite town because smaller, more closely-knit.


      ~~~~~~~~~ Hell, yeah, I’m an elitist!

  • bassman

    most people have nothing else going on in there lives , but only try to make others miserable …. this pod has been spotted around over the past six months

  • Maggie

    Thank you Capt. Tom for a perfect and awsome day.

  • tony

    I bet those Orcas are feeding on Great White sharks, which are abundant in the bay area.

  • kat

    This is a cool article because it’s about amazing animals showing off to people who usually do nothing but look at man made objects, staring at the car in front of them, or watching junky TV. It’s not about war, politics, murders, anything like that. Just a nice story about cool animals. Yes they travel up and down the coast. yes, there are transients, off-shore, and local types. yes, they are cosmopolitan the way few species are. yes, they eat mammals and/or fish (teleosts and elasmobranchs) depending on the type of orca. But above all, it’s just a fun nature encounter.

  • Rascal69

    Many of the posters on this site simply confirm that California truly is the land of fruits and nuts.

  • Capt. Tom Bernot

    To Maggie
    It was my pleasure. I hope that the experience has made you feel the way I do. Not so far removed from the world around us, and no longer bogged down by the stresses that we humans place on ourselves.

  • kat

    @Rascal69 Oddly enough, a diet of fruits and nuts is by far one of the healthiest.

  • JC Smith

    This pod may be the L pod “resident” fish-eating killer whales. They are normally found during the summer months around the San Juan Islands of WA State. Numbering 40, this populaion of whales are listed as Endangered.
    Anyone with photos or sighting data, please contact NAKED WHALE RESEARCH. 707-267-8587. We are interested in winter habits and foraging behavior. Thank you! http://www.nakedwhaleresearch.org

  • Howard Garrett

    Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research in Washington has identified these as members of L pod, on their annual trip to Monterey, where they were seen Thursday. Meanwhile, part of J pod was seen near Victoria BC yesterday. The endangered Southern Resident Orca Community has maintained a population in the mid-80’s for the past five years.

    To ensure that whale reports will reach NMFS researchers and all researchers and organizations and the Orca Network Whale Reports, the primary whale sighting number for California, Oregon and Washington is toll-free at 1-866-ORCANET, or email info@orcanetwor.org, or post your reports on the Orca Network facebook page..

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