A group of whale watchers lucked out with a rare sighting of a sea creature that isn’t quite as big as most whales, but at about 500 pounds is still pretty massive for its species.
A Newport Coastal Adventure tour group spotted a giant swordfish swimming off the coast of Laguna Beach Sept. 23, officials with the company said in a Sept. 25 post on Instagram and on the company website.
It’s rare to see swordfish swimming off the California coast, and a drone videographer was able to capture aerial shots of the huge creature for the first time, he said in a subsequent Instagram post.
“I immediately tossed my drone up when the opportunity presented itself and had a quick 120 seconds to stack aerials before this big (boy) sunk out,” he said. “Fish expert (Ryan Lawler) estimated this swordfish to be at least 500 pounds!”
Lawler and Mark Girardeau own and operate the tour group. As the drone videographer filmed the fish, Girardeau shot video from the boat that shows the creature’s dorsal fin and tail fin as it swims.
The fish is so long, some mistook the fins for two separate fish in the comments.
“One fish, dorsal fin up front tail fin trailing behind,” someone explained.
While North Atlantic Swordfish can reach a maximum of 1,165 pounds, the average weight of those caught in the fishery is between 50 and 200 pounds, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.
They’re one of the fastest predators in the ocean, according to NOAA. And it’s rare to see them swimming off the California coast, Newport Whale Adventure said.
“Many people can say they’ve seen a whale or dolphin before, but it’s more rare to see one of these unique ocean creatures freely swimming in the wild,” officials said.
Some expressed their awe in the comments.
“So majestic,” someone said. “Like a being from another world.”