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Though what has become annual “whale watching” season in Puerto Peñasco may still be about a month or more away, in mid-November a number of folk aboard EcoFun Rentals on their way to Isla San Jorge (Bird Island) were treated to a rare display of orcas (killer whales) in the Sea of Cortez. (It’s worth noting whales spotted around Peñasco tend to consist of humpback, grey, and fin whales)
The sighting took place on the morning of Nov. 10th, when dozens of people touring with EcoFun were lucky to spot a family of orcas, which is not a common occurrence in this coastal region.
According to those aboard EcoFun that day, they were suddenly surprised upon seeing black whales swimming swiftly by. At first many believed they were dolphins, until the boat captain indicated they were actually orcas – which had not been seen in this area for years.
It was then that passengers got excited and pulled out their phones and cameras in order to catch a photo or video of the unique experience.
“People were shouting excitedly every time they (the whales) came up. There were about 8 near the boat and every time one came up we felt it was going to get on the boat,” remarked Sheyla Barajas, EcoFun Activity Coordinator on board that day.
Though the trip to Bird Island usually includes the possibility for people to get off to swim, or kayak around the natural protected bird and sea lion reserve, on this occasion passengers stayed on the boat to prevent any odd encounter with the orcas, particularly as they are not a common species for this area.
“I tried not to get too excited,” described Barajas, “There was a lot of adrenaline because I wanted to get good photos and video. They were swimming around quickly and managed to get our feet wet.”
According to information provided by staff from the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO) , killer whales inhabit cold and temperate waters. In Mexico, small populations have been spotted in the Gulf of California as well as in the Pacific. Yet, these cetaceans can found along the coasts of Antarctica, Japan, Iceland, Norway, and Canada, where their sightings have positioned them as one of the most important wild life spectacles in the world.
The killer whale, which can weigh up to 5 tons, can adapt to varying environmental conditions and feed off a large variety of prey.
Video provided by EcoFun Rentals