MONTEREY (CBS SF) — At least a dozen orcas put on quite a show for a boat full of whale watchers out on Monterey Bay last Saturday.
The pod of killer whales surfed playfully around their vessel, performing tail flips as the young orcas played tag.
The frolicking cetaceans were caught on video.
The group was an all-day trip with Monterey Bay Whale Watch.
Marine biologist Nancy Black, the company’s captain and owner says April and May is when moms and calves migrate.
“Killer whales hunt the calves,” she explains. “It’s not a pretty picture when you think about it, but it makes it an important feeding season.”
Black has been working with cetaceans on Monterey Bay for more than 25 years for the Oceanic Society’s whale and dolphin research program.
This weekend, there were at least a dozen orcas frolicking about. The video was shot after they had just finished feeding on a calf.
“They get playful and social when they are full,” says Black. “You’ll see lots of tail flips and the young ones chasing each other.
Despite their killer reputation, orcas are very social. When they feed they get together with other families, greeting and mixing.
“Right now there are six families,” says Black.
In a killer whale family, it’s the woman who rules the pod.
“Orcas are matriarchal,” she explains, “like elephants.”
“The grandmother is the head of the family and her offspring all live together. The males stay all their lives,” says Black.
Black and her crew of marine biologists offer daily excursions on Monterey Bay during the migration season, and all-day trips through December.
Marine enthusiasts who want to join them can find out more on the Monterey Bay Whale Watch website, gowhales.com.