Video shows rare sperm whale sighting off SoCal coast


NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — A boat tour company shared video and photos of a sperm whale recently spotted off the coast of Orange County.

Jessica Roame, education programs manager at Newport Coastal Adventure, said it’s not something they often see on their tours out of Newport Beach. A captain with the company said the Oct. 27 sighting 14 miles west of the Newport Beach Harbor was his first time seeing a sperm whale in the area in his 20 years on the water.

While another whale was spotted by staff in 2016, Roame said this particular whale was easily 55 feet in length.

Sperm whales are pelagic mammals that spend most of their time at sea feeding on giant squid. They are difficult to find as they often surface for less than 10 minutes at a time compared to the 40 minutes they spend diving 4,000 feet, according to Roundhouse Aquarium Teaching Center.

The mammals hunt using extremely loud echolocation, heard clearly with the use of an underwater hydrophone. After hearing about recent sightings, Eric Martin from Roundhouse brought a hydrophone onboard a Newport Coastal Adventure boat and helped the crew locate the sperm whale, which the aquarium said was the same sperm whale spotted in February 2020.

Newport Coastal Adventure tour guests got to take in the sight later that morning on the company’s whale watching and dolphin tours that depart Southern California daily throughout the year.

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