Published: Jan 20, 2014 7:31 PM EST

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- A pod of about 23 pilot whales, stuck in Gordon Pass on Sunday, made its way about seven miles south to Marco Pass.

Only WINK News was out on the water just off Marco Island where the whales swam slowly about half a mile off shore.

Sea tow captain Sam Castleberry was first to call in the stranded whales in Gordon Pass on Sunday. He says he's never seen anything like it.

"It's kinda like live Sea World. I enjoy the wildlife, that's why I do the job," he says.

But he says these whales were lathargic and seemed confused when he came upon them in the pass. He says 3 beached themselves at a sandbar.

Wildlife officials and other agencies responded Sunday and protected the mammals from other boaters. They coaxed them out to deeper water.

"In the end they came back together and formed a column, we guarded them as they headed out the pass," he says.