Ultra-rare killer whales spotted for first time in nearly a decade

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Ultra Rare Killer Whales Spotted For First Time In Nearly a Decade

A pod of rarely seen false killer whales is making a splash along the coast of Southern California.

False killer whales
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Ultra-rare killer whales spotted for first time in nearly a decade
In this photo provided by Earthjustice, a false killer whale is seen leaping while chasing prey in waters off Hawaii in April 2006. (AP Photo/By Robin Baird/www.cascadiaresearch.org)
False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens), group swimming at the surface.
In this Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 photo, a false killer whale performs in a tank at Okichan Theater of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu, on the southern island of Okinawa, Japan. Okinawa is Japan's southernmost prefecture and more than 300,000 foreign tourists visit to Okinawa every year. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens), swimming above sandy sea bed, Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippines, South China Sea, Pacific
False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens), swimming at the surface
Veterinarians examine a newly arrived false killer whale in a tank at Ancol Marine Park in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011. The fish arrived Thursday from an ocean park in Taiwan. (AP Photo/Irwin Fedriansyah)

Whale watchers off of Orange County's Dana Point got a once in a lifetime sighting of false killer whales this week.

"It's probably been the best three days of our lives here," said Captain Hartman of Dana Wharf. He spotted the the pod of about 40 false killer whales not once, but four times since Wednesday.
"They rubbed themselves up against the boat," said Hartmann.

Experts say this species, which resembles killer whales but is actually quite harmless, is rarely seen off of Southern California's coast, FOX5 reports.

"It's a huge deal because this kind of whale prefers warmer water," said Erin Gless, a naturalist for San Diego Whale Watch.

Gless said the pod was probably following a food source and that brought the pod to the coast.
The last recording sighting of false killer whales off the coast of Southern California was more than a decade ago.

"We had one sighting in 2001 and prior to that the last sighting was in the 70's," said Gless.
On Thursday the pod of whales headed south towards San Diego.

When she heard this, whale enthusiast Sandy Rosenberg immediately booked a tour with San Diego Whale Watch in Mission Bay

"I have never seen a false killer whale and I really want to," said Rosenberg.

Rosenberg said she spotted plenty of whales on her tour, but no false killer whales surfaced.
Captain Hartmann said it is an experience he will always remember, "We're still kind of on a high from it," he said.

Check out the full video of the encounter here:
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