California

10 curious killer whales ‘blow away’ tourists in this up-close encounter

A San Diego whale watching tour observed a pod of orcas swimming close to their boat Thursday, October 5, 2017.
A San Diego whale watching tour observed a pod of orcas swimming close to their boat Thursday, October 5, 2017. Xplore Offshore

Even after 15 years of guiding whale watching tours in San Diego, Russell Moore still is in awe when he comes across a pod of killer whales.

On Oct. 5, Moore was leading a tour for his business, Xplore Offshore, when a group of 10 curious orcas swam right up to his boat.

“We were all blown away,” Moore said in an interview with NBC San Diego. “You cannot help but be blown away. These animals are as long as my vessel.”

Moore said the group saw the whales in the open water about 5 miles from the shore of Mission Beach.

He also encouraged those who go whale watching to keep a distance from the animals. Let them approach you, Moore said, and be calm and quiet when whales decide to come in close.

“Ecotourism is the No. 1 threat to marine mammals these days,” Moore told NBC San Diego. “Think about that — whale lovers are threatening whales now.”

Micheal Brink of SLO.TOURS spotted a pod of about five orcas south of the Port San Luis Pier in Avila Beach on Saturday, May 20, 2017. The pod of about five orcas was feeding on bait fish, along with about 30 sea lions.

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