MONTEREY (KPIX 5) — Some new undersea visitors are making a big splash in the Monterey Bay.
Since Monday, whale watchers have spotted a new pod, or family, of killers whales. The whales are known by their markings to live in the Pacific Northwest.
“They’ve never been seen down here, even with all our efforts all these years,” said Nancy Black from Monterey Bay Whale Watch.
Black is a marine biologist who’s been studying and cataloguing killer whale pods in the Monterey Bay for 32 years.
“Those killer whales have been identified previously, but up in the Puget Sound area,” said Black. “It’s been many years since we’ve had new whales, new families to the catalog so they just showed up one day out of the blue.”
Several of the Monterey Bay whale watching outfits have been spotting the killer whales every day for the past week.
“We got a pretty close look as they came across our bow,” said Randy Straka of Princess Monterey Whale Watch. “It’s almost as if they were looking at us. It’s cool to see, especially when our customers are thrilled like that.”
No one knows why these killer whales have migrated so much farther south from their normal hunting locations in Washington and British Columbia.
They could be following food sources, or they could be coming here to mate.
“It could just be like a gathering, a social gathering because they have been really active, really playful. Lots of breeching, hopping, it’s been real exciting for passengers,” said Black.
No one knows how much longer this show of nature will be here because the killer whales could leave as quickly as they came.