KEY LARGO, FLORIDA — It’s common to see sharks, dolphins and manatees along the Florida Keys, but on Tuesday, a group of fishermen encountered a pod of orca whales – a rare sighting in the Southeast.
Mike Slaughter captured the footage showing one orca close to his boat and others briefly surfacing before his boatmates jumped into the water with snorkel gear to swim alongside the giant killer whales.
Orcas belong to the Delphinidae family along with dolphins. Killer whales have been found in every ocean and have been sporadically found in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The most studied population lives in the eastern portion of the North Pacific Ocean.
Marine Scientist Kirk Linaje told WPLG that he believes these were Caribbean orcas, which normally reside in the southeast Caribbean and Lesser Antilles.
Video Courtesy of Mike Slaughter @mmsbonito