The crew and passengers didn’t know what to make of it – a group of false killer whales, a type of large dolphin, swam up and began bumping their whale watching boat Saturday off the Dana Point coast.
As people tried to hold their cameras steady, a female false killer whale bobbed in the water nearby. Blood rose to the surface, followed by the weak, curved dorsal fin of the mother’s new calf.
In a moment not often captured on video, let alone seen on a whale watching trip, the passengers and crew of Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari witnessed a marine mammal giving birth in the open ocean.
“I’m so thankful they chose to do it in front of our boat. It’s got to be one of the biggest things that’s ever happened out here,” said tour company owner Dave Anderson. “This birth is one of a kind and I’ve been doing whale watching for 20 years.”
Video of the event shows the other false killer whales swimming alongside the newborn, helping keep it near the surface so it could breath as it familiarized itself with its environment.
Newborns are typically less than five feet long and will grow to be 15 to 20 feet long and weigh 1,500 pounds, Anderson said. They're called false killer whales because of their resemblance.
Whale watchers off the south Orange County coast have had some good luck lately. Two weeks ago Dave’s Dolphin Safari group watched a herd of 500 dolphins stampede through the water.