They spotted a tall, black dorsal fin at 3:07 p.m. and 13 minutes later they were surrounded by orcas.
"They approached and came right at us and stopped all together," Schulman-Janiger said. "It was like a chorus-line greeting. They swam under and around our boat and poked their faces out of the water. They did this five or six times."
When Martin ran his boat the killer whales surfed in its wake, the largest male a mere inches from the transom. When the boat stopped, the mammals surrounded the boat and resumed playing around and beneath the vessel, occasionally poking their heads out of the water for a closer look at their visitors.
Said Martin: "They were making eye contact with us, not just the boat. They were looking into our eyes, the way humans do. I don't see how it can get any better."
Perhaps this act could be labeled, "Blackfish, Wild and Free."
Note: This piece was originally published on PeteThomasOutdoors.com. Schulman-Janiger is co-founder of the California Killer Whale Project. People who have photographs of killer whales spotted off California, or information about sightings, are asked to contact the researcher at Janiger@Cox.net