KEY LARGO, Fla. — A group of friends fishing for swordfish in the Florida Keys encountered much larger sea creatures -- a pod of killer whales.
Mike Slaughter said his group was fishing about 18 to 20 nautical miles from Key Largo on Monday in about 1,700 feet of water, the Miami Herald reported.
Warning: Video contains graphic language.
Birds flying above the water’s surface, which fishermen use as a clue that fish are in the vicinity, led to the discovery of the orcas.
“We were about to drop for swords and saw the birds,” Slaughter told the Herald.
The whales had just killed something, Slaughter told the newspaper. Two of his fishing buddies jumped into the water with snorkeling gear to get a better view.
The whales swam almost up to the boat, WPLG-TV reported.
“Oh, he’s coming right at you,” one of the men on the boat yelled, according to the video. “The big boy!”
“Orca bait in the water,” another person can be heard in the video after some of the fishermen took to the water. “They can smell your liver.”
After a brief look, the killer whales swam away.
Capt. Bill Chrisman of No Regrets Sport Fishing told WPLG that he has seen sperm and pilot whales, but never a killer whale in more than 20 years of fishing in the Keys.
Jeremy Kiszka, a marine mammal scientist and associate biological sciences professor at Florida International University, also took a look at the video. He told the Herald that it appeared that there were at least four large killer whales and one male.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, killer whales are more commonly found in Norway, Antarctica and the northern Pacific Ocean, the newspaper reported.
Marine Scientist Kirk Linaje told WPLG that he believed the animals were Caribbean Orcas, which live in the waters of the southeastern Caribbean Sea.