WATCH: Orcas Playfully Pop Up Around Boat Off SD Coast | NBC 7 San Diego

WATCH: Orcas Playfully Pop Up Around Boat Off SD Coast

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    NEWSLETTERS

    This video, captured by San Diego Lifeguard Ben Lewis, shows a pod of killer whales checking out a panga boat off the coast of San Diego. (Published Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015)

    They may be nicknamed “killer whales,” but a pod of orcas seemed no more than curious as they swam around a boat off the coast of San Diego.

    Ben Lewis caught the magnificent sight on video as he and fellow San Diego lifeguard Todd Rice took a 20-foot panga boat about five miles from Point Loma on Sept. 10.

    He said he could not tell what the dark shapes in the water were until they came closer to their vessel. Lewis estimates there were about 30 whales in the pod, varying in age and size.

    According to SeaWorld spokesman Dave Koontz, these were transient orcas that are spotted along the California coast from time to time.

    Little is known about their migratory patterns, he said, but it appears in this case, they may have been exploring some new surroundings, like the boat.

    “Such occurrences have charmed mariners since man has taken to the ocean, and continues to delight sailors today,” Koontz said in an email Thursday.