Typically, when we see cetaceans porpoising alongside boats, they're small dolphins. But tourists with Chris’ Fishing and Whale Watching got a major treat this week when a pair of orcas decided to join their party in California's Monterey Bay. 

The clip above was shot by Justin Cornell, who was beyond excited by the encounter. Monterey Bay is currently playing host to dozens of transient killer whales, who, unlike their resident cousins, eat marine mammals like harbour seals and sea lions. This makes the bay a perfect snacking stop during their coastal migrations.

Many of the whales identified in these waters in the past have been seen in the area repeatedly over subsequent years, making Monterey a great place for researchers to study orca behaviour and movement. Earlier this week, Katlyn Taylor of Monterey Bay Whale Watch (MBWW) encountered 24 orcas in just one day:  

"As part of the Monterey Bay Cetacean Project, we have photo-identified close to 200 individual killer whales off California," the team explains. "Several of these individual whales have been sighted from southern California to Alaska, indicating they inhabit a large range. We are also monitoring the predatory behaviour of killer whales and have observed several attacks on gray whale calves by killer whales in Monterey Bay."

To get to know some of these whales for yourself, check out the Monterey Bay orca photo database!



Top header image: Miles Ritter/Flickr