False killer whale pack frolic with Eilat ranger in southern Israel

Nature and Parks Authority naval ranger says the pack of 10 whales show 'much interest in him' swimming alongside and around him on jet ski and as he enters water to film from close range

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A pack of false killer whales, one of the largest and rarest dolphins in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, joined an Israel Nature and Parks Authority ranger who was sailing along the Bay of Eilat.
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  • The pack of the oceanic dolphins was documented by naval ranger Omri Omasi, as they showed a great interest in him and his jet ski.
    3 View gallery
    להקה של עבשן קטלני במפרץ אילת
    להקה של עבשן קטלני במפרץ אילת
    False killer whale in the Bay of Eilat
    (Photo:Omri Omasi NPA)
    "I was tracking a pack consisting of at least ten false killer whales for an hour," said Omasi. "I chose to stay some 100 meters (328 feet) away as I was sailing alongside them. To my surprise, the dolphins chose to swim toward me, and they circled around my jet ski," he said
    False killer whales in Eilat
    (Video: Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Omri Omasi)
    "They were very relaxed and expressed a lot of interest in me. At one point, I turned off the engine and could hear countless whistles and sonar sounds," Omasi said.
    "I decided to enter the water with a camera, and the pack surrounded me for several minutes, examining my body and coming close to me from different directions," he said.
    3 View gallery
    הפקח צלל לצד הדולפינים הנדירים
    הפקח צלל לצד הדולפינים הנדירים
    False killer whale in the Bay of Eilat
    (Photo:Omri Omasi NPA )
    "I didn't feel any discomfort at all, but since these are wild animals that usually don't express an interest in humans, I chose to go back on to my jet ski. I continued to sail south, and the pack accompanied me along the way until they crossed the maritime border into Egypt," Omasi said.
    The Nature and Parks Authority said that this fascinating encounter was made possible after a report received from Shahaf Ben Ezra, a doctoral student from the marine laboratory who noticed the pack from shore.
    3 View gallery
    עבשן קטלני במפרץ אילת
    עבשן קטלני במפרץ אילת
    False killer whale in the Bay of Eilat
    (Photo: Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Omri Omasi )
    "Once every few years, we get a short visit of two or three days, of an impressive group of great marine mammals," the NPA said.
    "It's very likely that this is the same pack. It's a species from the Dolphin family, reaching an impressive size of about six meters (almost 20 feet) and weighing a ton and a half. The whales have a unique facial structure and particularly thick teeth. They are known as predators that feed, among other things, on other small marine mammals."
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