LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Several pods of sperm whales emerged off the Southern California coast in an extremely rare, hours-long sighting that had whale watchers and scientists giddy with excitement.
More than 50 mothers and juveniles were rolling and playing with dolphins Monday a few miles off Laguna Beach, the Orange County Register reported (http://bit.ly/1s6vG5P ).
“I’ve been counting whales and been on the water for 35 years. We’ve never had a large group like this ever,” said Alisa Schulman-Janiger, director of the ACS/LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project.
The whales weigh up to 45 tons and eat about a ton of squid a day.
The massive mammals were spread out over an area of up to 3 square miles and came within inches of boats as they poked their heads out of the waves, said David Anderson, who operates Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari sightseeing tours.
Anderson said that before Monday he had seen only one sperm whale in nearly 20 years on boats off Southern California.
“This was the most amazing sighting that I’ve ever had off Southern California, by a long shot,” he said.
By 5 p.m. the whale pods were passing the Dana Point Headlands and heading south.
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