For those who are lucky enough to have an encounter with a wild whale or dolphin, it can only be described as a truly unforgettable experience … one that lingers in your memory for the rest of your life. A group of lucky tourists who went on a recent wild whale-watching tour with Sail Hawaii were thrilled when a false killer whale mother and calf swam by their boat for several minutes! The video above documents the interaction.

The Sail Hawaii team said of the whales, “These are the very friendly mom/calf pair HIPc276 and calf HIPc571 from cluster 1. They were last seen by us on July 18th of this year. They have really been popping up a lot lately – this is the sixth time they’ve been seen this year.”

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False killer whales are so named because they share many similarities with the more well-known true orcas – they, too, are long-lived, slow to mature, and (in the case of females) calve only once very six to seven years – but unlike orcas, they do not hunt mammalian prey. And while the plight of true killer whales has been well-publicised in recent years, partially due to the controversy surrounding these animals’ imprisonment in marine parks, the threats facing false killer whales are not very well-known.

To learn more about conservation efforts for these animals, visit the Cascadia Research Center’s information page.