California whale watchers see rare orcas, including calf

January 10, 2017
This Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 photo by Dale Frink shows an orca and a calf, part of a pod of four swimming about a mile offshore near Point Vicente at Newport Beach, Calif. Orcas, also known as killer whales, are more commonly associated with Mexican waters further south and rarely seen this far north. (Dale Frink Photography/Davey's Locker Sportfishing and Whale Watching via AP)

Whale watchers in Southern California were treated to a rare sighting of Eastern Tropical Pacific killer whales.

Dale Frink, a photographer and naturalist who runs a whale-watching cruise, says the five orcas, including a small calf, were seen near Point Vicente on Saturday.

He says the Eastern Tropical Pacific orcas, identified by a darker saddle area behind the , make only rare appearances in Orange County waters. They're more common off San Diego and south to Peru.

California Killer Whale Project researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger tells the Orange County Register (bit.ly/2i5Mrkw) that it was her first time seeing the rare type of orca in 35 years of research.

Frink says the boat followed the pod for about a half hour.

This Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, provided by Dale Frink shows a pod of orcas, including a calf, swimming about a mile offshore near Point Vicente at Newport Beach, Calif. Orcas, also known as killer whales, are more commonly associated with Mexican waters further south and rarely seen this far north. (Dale Frink Photography/Davey's Locker Sportfishing and Whale Watching via AP)

Explore further: Orcas seen killing and eating beaked whale and sevengill shark

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