Caught on camera: False killer whales circle, capture prey

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It’s not often we get to see the ocean’s food chain unfold before our eyes, but a videographer recently did in waters off Kailua-Kona.

Seth Conae was on a deep-sea dive about three miles off the coast when an unexpected visitor approached him.

“When that first false killer whale showed up, it was pretty amazing how close it got. It was surreal,” he told KHON2.

The false killer whale continued to get closer. He says what happened next made the encounter epic.

“Seeing the mahimahi circle around the bag and watching the other ones come in like they were calling each other, and then them all working together to basically try to get their prey,” Conae said.

Seven false killer whales circled the 50-pound mahimahi that stayed as close as it could to a floating plastic bag.

“I think it was already in protective mode or hiding mode and trying to stick around that bag because I think it knew the false killers were in the area,” Conae said.

Conae, who is a dive instructor at Neptune Charlie’s Ocean Safaris and a guide and captain at Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures, says that’s when one of the false killer whales slapped the mahimahi out of the water with its tail.

“It’s hard to control yourself when you’re in the moment and you’re watching something that you can’t wrap your head around,” he said.

One by one, they made passes at the wounded fish until one of the bigger ones swooped in for the final kill.

“I thought it was a National Geographic moment taking place right in front of me,” Conae said.

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