FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A Fort Pierce fisherman spotted something that few people ever see in waters off Florida.
Jay Charron spent a few minutes Sunday morning admiring two pods of orcas that were migrating north about 100 miles off Vero Beach.
He was with a group of eight people fishing for tuna when they saw the first dorsal fin about 75 miles north of the Bahamas.
Charron grabbed his camera and recorded video for several minutes.
The two pods of two to three killer whales were 50 yards apart from one another while they headed north.
The fishermen stayed with the orcas for about 10 minutes before letting them out of their sight.
"We saw the big dorsal fin come up out of the water. Those are large. The dorsal fin was about 6 to 7 feet high," Charron said. "We knew they weren't pilot whales, you know, not a normal whale you see out there on the east coast, and so we got up a little closer to them, and when they started rolling you see that white mark on the side of their body, we knew they were orcas. It was a shock to tell you the truth."
NOAA, the managing authority on all whales in the U.S., told WPTV that killer whales are very rare off the eastern U.S. coast.
However, there are populations in the northern Atlantic, the northern Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas and the deep waters of the Caribbean.
They advise boaters if they encounter an orca in the wild to stay 50 yards from it.
This isn't the first siting of orcas near Florida this year. Boaters spotted a pod off the Florida Keys in the waters off Key Largo in July.