NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — About 40 false killer whales were spotted along a California coastline, an uncommon sighting for the tropical species usually found in warmer waters.
The sighting on Saturday was the first time they had been found along the Orange County coastline since 2019, when they showed up four times that year, the Orange County Register reported.
“They like Mexico and this is just kind of a little spring break trip," said Ryan Lawler, owner of Newport Coastal Adventure.
Lawler was at a private birthday party when he saw the pod of false killer whales just outside the Newport Harbor entrance.
“They just popped up in the middle of this armada of boats,” he said. “All these big black dolphins popped up in the middle of them.”
The false killer whales, like actual killer whales, are a dolphin species. They are typically found in tropical and subtropical oceans in deep offshore waters, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
The false killer whales can be almost 20 feet (about 6 meters) long and up to 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms).
The whales were also seen off of the coast at Dana Point, according to Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari and Dana Wharf Whale Watching.