a whale of a sighting

Galveston goes wild with rare killer whales spotted off coast

Galveston goes wild with rare killer whales spotted off coast

killer whales orca water ocean jumping
Killer whales are rarely seen in the Gulf. Photo by Robert Pitman/NOAA

A fishing trip turned into quite the nature show as rare killer whales appeared in the Gulf.

Galveston Party Boats, Inc. shared a now-viral video of the orcas leaping into the air before splashing back down into the water about 130 miles off the Galveston coast.

In a Facebook post, Galveston Party Boats representatives said an excursion had set out for a 30-hour spring break fishing trip with customers on March 15 on their New Buccaneer vessel with Captain Matt Smith, who recorded the video.

While out on the water, they had a haul of 40 yellowfin tuna, 14 blackfin tuna, 281 vermilion snapper and more.

But it was the orcas that appear to have captured the most attention in a video that has been viewed more than 411,000 times and counting since it was posted on March 17.

You can see customers aboard the New Buccaneer eagerly watching with their phones out. Smith replied to someone in the Facebook comments that this was the first sighting he'd seen so close to home.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, about 500 orcas live in the Gulf of Mexico.

The killer whale is one of the top marine predators and is one of the most recognizable marine mammals because of their distinct black and white bodies. They also exist in a wide range of habitats, both open seas and coastal waters, NOAA says.

They are most abundant in colder waters like Antarctica, Norway, and Alaska but can be found in tropical and subtropical waters, like the Gulf.

The most well-studied killer whale populations occur in the eastern North Pacific Ocean, and resident killer whales have been seen from California to Russia.

---

Continue reading on our news partner ABC13.