A rare white orca named “Frosty” was spotted over the weekend by a boat off Santa Monica Bay, drawing screams of excitement from whale watchers.
Harbor Breeze captain Kevin Nguyen said one of the whale-watching agency’s boats was around six to seven miles from the Port of Los Angeles about 9:30 a.m. Sunday when those onboard saw a blow. Nguyen said they slowed the boat down to see what it was and spotted big dorsal fins.
“We knew exactly what they were,” he said.
Nguyen’s boat followed the pod of about seven orcas, which included Frosty, a white orca that has a rare skin condition. Nguyen said the last time they saw Frosty was in 2019, when it was a newborn.
“It’s been a while since we’ve seen orcas come around and it was nice to see them,” he said. “They seem to be doing well.”
The Newport Coastal Adventure team, which operates daily whale-watching tours, was tipped off to the orcas Sunday by Harbor Breeze, according to Newport Coastal Adventure captain Delaney Trowbridge.
The team took all its available boats, with 20 passengers onboard, and rushed to the orcas’ last known location, about 45 miles from Newport Harbor.
“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!” Trowbridge said in a statement.
The team spotted the pod of orcas, which included “Frosty.”
The passengers spent the next 2½ hours watching as the whales traveled up the coastline. They last saw the whales about 61 miles from Newport Harbor, as the mammals continued north, probably in search of food.
This pod has been spotted as far north as British Columbia and was last seen in Morro Bay in October.
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