A Killer of a Sail

Rare sighting of killer whales in local waters

By Whitney Southwick
|  Wednesday, Dec 23, 2009  |  Updated 2:11 PM PDT
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Orca Sightings off San Diego

Maritime Museum of San Diego

Orcas spotted off the coast of San Diego in December 2009.

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Orca Sightings off San Diego

Killer whales were spotted near the Coronado Islands just before Christmas 2009.
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For the second time this week a local charter boat has been treated to a sighting of killer whales.  On Tuesday, the schooner "America" was out beyond the Coronado Islands searching for gray whales when it reportedly ended up in the middle of about 20 Orcas.

It's rare to see killer whales this far south. They normally ply the colder waters off  Washington and British Columbia.  The Maritime Museum, which helps operate the "America" speculates that an apparent food shortage up north has forced the whales into Southern California. 

"I have never had the chance to see Orcas up close and these guys came over to us to play and show off.  Two of them went swimming upside down under our bow - amazing!" exclaimed  Al Sorkin, crew member aboard the schooner.

Much more common this time of year is the spotting of gray whales in the Pacific off  San Diego.  They migrate south from Alaska to Baja between December and April. 

A number of charter boats are available for whale watching.  The Maritime Museum says you can book space aboard "America" - it leaves the embarcadaro every day at 10:30 a.m. sharp.

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