False killer whales, which made an extremely rare appearance earlier this month off Orange County, were spotted again Tuesday afternoon.
Crew and anglers aboard the Clemente, which runs from Dana Wharf Sportfishing, sighted between 20-30 false killer whales at about 2:30 p.m., one mile beyond the San Clemente Pier.
Capt. Corey Lieser said he first saw what he thought was a dolphin or gray whale breaching in the distance. A closer look revealed false killer whales, traveling in small groups in a northerly direction.
The previous sightings were on March 12 and 13, as far north as Newport Beach.
The first known sighting before that was 2001, off Newport Beach. They were spotted only a handful of times in the previous 30 years.
False killer whales, which are smaller than killer whales, are mysterious creatures that are infrequently encountered in the Eastern Pacific off Mexico and Central America.
While they share some habits of killer whales, they do not closely resemble their larger cousins.
–False killer whale images are by ©Pete Thomas (March 13) and protected by copyright laws