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On March 12, 2014 Captain Dave, owner and operator of Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari in Dana Point, California, had an extremely rare group of false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) come over to his boat and surround him. These animals have not been seen off Dana Point by Captain Dave for nearly a decade.

At one point Captain Dave, who was out in his own small inflatable boat near his whale watching boat, had five of these whales come over and surround him. He put his GoPro in the water and one curious whale came up about four inches from his camera and examined it.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Captain Dave. “I was sitting there for about 5 minutes and the whales came over and surrounded me. Their whistles were so loud I could hear them above the surface. I grabbed my GoPro and wasn’t even sure it was on and stuck in the water. I was tempted to touch them but I didn’t want to disturb them.”

“One of the whales even became seemingly jealous of another and chased it off so he could come over to me. It was one of the most amazing encounters I’ve ever had with wild cetaceans.”

The false killer whales that surrounded Captain Dave were part of a large pod of pod of 40 to 50 whales seen today. False killer whales are actually a member of the dolphin family, just like killer whales. They can reach lengths of 15 to 20 feet and weigh about 1,500 pounds. They are outgoing and can be found with other cetaceans such as bottlenose dolphins.

Southern California has the greatest density of dolphins per square mile in the world.  We have mega-pods that can have up to 10,000 animals according to scientific estimates. There are over 400,000 common dolphins alone.