Fast Facts: Rare Pod of Killer Whales Spotted with a Special Guest
NEWPORT BEACH— On April 24, just 45 miles from Newport Harbor, Captain Delaney Trowbridge of Newport Coastal Adventure led her passengers to a rare sighting of a pod of killer whales which included something even rarer— “Frosty,” a killer whale who has some form of a genetic condition that has made the pigment of the whale much lighter than the typical killer whale, almost white. Frosty has been spotted as far south as Mexico and as North as British Columbia in the last three years.
“We were tipped off to the Orcas yesterday by a Long Beach Whale Watching company around 10:30 am near Palos Verdes,” said Capt. Trowbridge in a Statement from April 25. “Coordinates to their last known location were 3 hours old, and they were spotted over 45 miles from Newport Harbor when we (Newport Coastal Adventure) decided to take all available boats out, adding on a last-minute trip for the possible ‘chance’ of seeing killer whales. [Twenty] passengers signed up, and we rushed to their last known location, focused on our binoculars for the spouts of killer whales. As the crew scanned for signs of the killer whales, they heard loud screams from the passengers- the whales had popped up only a quarter mile in front of our bow! We got extremely lucky and were able to relocate a pod of 7 Orcas, one of which was a 3-year-old calf named ‘Frosty’ after [its] milky white appearance.”
The crew and passengers watched the whales for the next two and a half hours as the whales traveled up the coastline until sunset. The whales even made a few close encounters alongside the boats.
“We left them 61 miles from the Newport Harbor, heading North, so it’s likely these whales will continue on their Northbound travels in search of food (marine mammals like Gray Whales and Sea Lions),” said Trowbridge. “Sightings of killer whales are few and far between along the Southern California coastline, so it was a very special encounter. This particular pod has been sighted as far north as British Columbia, and their last reported sighting was in Morro Bay in Oct. 2022.”
While seeing the pod this far south is a site to behold, Frosty’s white skin makes jaws drop. According to an article from The Guardian, experts say several known conditions can cause certain animals, including orcas, to have white skin. One condition is leucism, in which the pigmentation of the skin is paler. The other is Chediak-Higashi syndrome, an inheritable immune deficiency that can cause partial albinism.
This is the second unusual sighting that Newport Coastal Adventure has had recently. Last month a group of whale-watching passengers spotted a gray whale that was missing its fluke but was still swimming at an average speed of 3 miles per hour.
Visit https://newportcoastaladventure.com/index.html to book a whale-watching trip or visit their social media at @Newportwhales and @NewportCoastalAdventure on Instagram and TikTok.
11 thoughts on “Fast Facts: Rare Pod of Killer Whales Spotted with a Special Guest”
Very sad that you took so many boats to bother and confuse(sonar) these Amazing creatures! Maybe rethink what an Ocean is? Not an amusement park!
Beautiful Whales in there Wonderous Wonder Swimming Free ! Please Keep our Whales Safe and Free for all to see their Beautiful Wonderful Everything !
Its wonderful to read about Orcas. Humans can learn from many animals but especially Orcas as they stay within their families for many years taking care of each other. Very intuitive animals and very caring. Even though they are trained to perfom in front of multitudes everywhere in the world wherebthere are facilities that do hold them, I think that sort of entertainmentbshould be banned. Good example to see was the life of Keiko. Who was captured verynyoung and because it developed some sort of bacteria in its pectorals he really didn’t adjust to living in captuvity and when after manynyears of entertaining humans, they released Keiko back intonthe wild, he just couldnt cope with being alone, and he succumbed to pneumonia and passed away. Freedom for Keiko cost him his life. Its a shame. All performing Orcas in captuvity for monetary gains should be released back intontheir home..the ocean..Salanaa Eiyung Ayesis
Beautiful photo and great information!
What an amazing gift to be able to see these magnificent creatures!
Amazing simply amazing.
Having a sister that is heavy involved the world of whales, visit The Whale Museum, San Juan Island. If you aren’t able to go to The Whale Museum then I encourage all to visit their website to follow certain pods of Orcas. Adults and kids alike find it fascinating. Keep up the excellent work! I applaud you!!
Pictures of this particular pod, especially Frosty please
Pictures of Frosty?? Please
You said a Gray whale was seen swimming an average of 3 mph with his fluke missing. You should write in the article what a fluke is for those of us that have no idea what a fluke is.
It’s the tail……..and my heart breaks for this poor whale.