Watch: Spectacular underwater footage captures orca 'orchestra' in icy Antarctica waters
MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica - A crewmember on board a Coast Guard ice-cutting ship got spectacular underwater sights – and sounds – of a pod of orcas swimming nearby as the ship sailed toward Antarctica.
USCG Fireman Niall Shannon attached a Go-Pro to a string and set it underwater just off the Polar Star's bow in January. The footage shows several orcas - also known as "killer whales" and a minke whale swimming in the icy waters near the ship, even capturing one orca whale breaching through the surface. All the while, the camera recorded the whales' distinctive calls.
An orca breaches in the waters off Antarctica, as seen by an underwater camera taken by a crew member on board the U.S. Coast Guard's Polar Star. (Niall Shannon / U.S. Coast Guard via Storyful / FOX Weather)
"Finally got a good recording of the orchestra," he posted on his Instagram page during one video captured on Jan. 4. A second video posted nearly two weeks later showcased the camera's encounter with a minke whale.
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The Polar Star, based in Seattle, travels to Antarctica's McMurdo research station every year to break up miles of ice that, in some places, can be as much as 21 feet thick.