IT was a rare treat for a lucky group of sightseers off the NSW Hunter region coast at the weekend when a pod of false killer whales emerged close to their tour boat.
The oceanic dolphins were spotted only a few hundreds metres off the shoreline at Catherine Hill Bay on Saturday morning.
CoastXP owner Dominic May said it was a "rare" occasion as he had only spotted the animals three times in the past three-and-a-half years.
"The first time their was just one, the second time their was three and this time there was five to seven," he said on Sunday.
"They're pretty impressive when you see them.
"Yesterday they were completely in cruise mode. They came alongside the boat and were happy to stay around as long as we wanted.
"Out boat is 10.8 metres and when these guys were alongside the boat you could really see their full size of about seven metres."
The sighting was reported to ORCCA for monitoring and recording.
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Mr May said it was "tricky keeping up with them" because of how fast they can swim.
"The last time we saw them they were in a hurry," he said.
"When they swim fast, they can really fly.
"I have difficulty keeping up with them, that's how fast they can go."