Video captured on Monday showed a pod of orcas swimming off the Southern California coast, including a rare glimpse at a white killer whale calf.
The footage of the orca pod was captured by Newport Coastal Adventure, which was tipped off to the pod’s location around 10:30 a.m. by a Long Beach whale-watching company.
The orcas were initially spotted over 45 miles from Newport Harbor, but crews with Newport Coastal Adventure decided to take all available boats out on a last-minute trip for a chance to see the killer whales, according to Captain Delaney Trowbridge.
The 20 passengers went to the last known location of the orcas and were ultimately able to spot them. The group witnessed a pod of seven orcas in the waters, including a three-year-old calf named Frosty due to its white appearance, Trowbridge said.
According to Newport Coastal Adventure, Frosty has a unique genetic condition that gives the calf a lighter pigment than normal killer whales.
Whale watchers were able to spectate the whales for over two hours while the pod traveled up the coastline until sunset, even making a few close passes under their boats, Trowbridge said.
Crews left the pod about 61 miles from the Newport Harbor, where they were headed north. They were expected to continue traveling north in search of food.
According to Newport Coastal Adventure, killer whale sightings are very rare in Southern California. This particular pod was last spotted in Morro Bay in October and has been sighted as far north as British Columbia.
The killer whale sighting isn’t the only rare whale occurrence spotted by Newport Coastal Adventure this year. Last month, a gray whale with a missing tail was seen breaching off the Southern California coast.