NEWPORT, Calif. (KSWB) — A rare white killer whale calf was captured on video Monday swimming among a pod of orcas off the Southern California coast.
The footage of the orca pod was captured by Newport Coastal Adventure, which was tipped off to the pod’s location around 10:30 a.m. by a Long Beach whale-watching company.
The orcas were initially spotted over 45 miles from Newport Harbor, but crews with Newport Coastal Adventure decided to take all available boats out on a last-minute trip for a chance to see the killer whales, according to Captain Delaney Trowbridge.
A group of 20 passengers were able to spot the pod of seven in the waters, including a three-year-old calf aptly named Frosty for its white appearance, Trowbridge said.
According to Newport Coastal Adventure, Frosty has a unique genetic condition that gives the calf a lighter pigment than normal killer whales. Killer whale calves usually have the same black-and-white coloring as adults do, but the light-colored areas may appear creamy white to pale yellow or tan during the whale’s first year, according to SeaWorld.
Whale watchers were able to spectate the whales for over two hours while the pod traveled up the coastline until sunset, even making a few close passes under their boats, Trowbridge said.
Crews left the pod as it continued traveling north in search of food.
According to Newport Coastal Adventure, killer whale sightings are very rare in Southern California. This particular pod was last spotted in Morro Bay in October and has been sighted as far north as British Columbia.
The killer whale sighting isn’t the only rare whale occurrence spotted by Newport Coastal Adventure this year. Last month, a gray whale with a missing tail was seen breaching off the Southern California coast.