orca

Orcinus.orca.jpg

Orcinus orca | Observed: Throughout the year | Sightings: Not common/random

Perhaps the most sought after animal in the ocean / sea, orcas have a presence that will  forever resonate within those who are fortunate to encounter them in the wild. In some cultures,  they are known as a spirit animal possessing great power. Nothing compares to the first time  one sees their dorsal fin rise up out of the water…it is life changing adrenaline rush. Orcas are  toothed whales, belonging to the dolphin family Delphinidae. Easily distinguished from other  cetaceans by their black and white patterned body, orcas are apex predators, having no  natural predators. Their diet is quite diverse ranging from fish to marine mammals, such as sea  lions, dolphins and larger baleen whales. Sizes vary between males and females. Male orcas  range from 20 - 26 ft ( 6 - 8 meters ) weighing a maximum of 13,000 lbs (6.5 tons ) while  females are a bit smaller 16 - 23 ft ( 5 - 7 meters ) and weighing up to 8,000 lbs ( 4 tons). Dorsal  fins exhibit sexual dimorphism, males can reach 6 ft high ( 1.8 meters ), more than twice the size of females.  

Sightings in the Sea of Cortez occur year round but encounters are not common and are often  unpredictable. There are some heightened chances of observing orcas during the mobula ray season. Orcas in Baja California prefer to feed on these rays during the summer months. They also predate on dolphin pods in this area throughout the year.