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These Whale Watchers Went a Bit Too Far

Times Staff Writer

You’ve lived on a cliff overlooking Marineland for 17 years, you’ve visited the aquatic park at least 50 times and you talk about Corky and Orky, the park’s famous killer whales, as if they were family.

So why not pay the whales a visit some night, pet them on the head--and take them for a spin around the pool?

“Hey, it’s been a fantasy of mine ever since I was a kid,” said Dave Mulligan, a 24-year-old Rancho Palos Verdes man who was arrested over the weekend after he admittedly sneaked into the park and “surfed” Corky around the killer whale aquarium for almost 25 minutes. “I love whales. You can see them from our house.”

Mulligan and David Berg, 25, of Rolling Hills Estates were arrested on suspicion of trespassing about 2:40 a.m. Saturday after security guards caught the fully clothed pair--neckties, penny loafers and all--riding the whales, Sheriff’s Deputy Don Williams said.

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“I was riding them. It was great,” Mulligan said Monday. “I was leaning back on the dorsal fin. Then we were standing on the whales and surfing. I don’t think we would have gotten caught, but my buddy was getting pretty loud. It was so much fun it was hard not to laugh out loud.”

Mulligan said the pair, along with three of their friends, got into Marineland by inching along the the cliffs at the southern end of the park and then scaling a fence. The five men--all named Dave, Mulligan said--had been drinking beer at a Redondo Beach tavern when they decided it would be fun to pet the whales.

“The other three Daves kind of got scared (and left), but my buddy Dave and I jumped on when Corky and Orky started rolling over on their backs,” Mulligan said. “Everybody was sober. You had to be, especially after sneaking in. You had to maintain a low profile.”

Marineland officials would not comment on the incident, but Williams said Mulligan and Berg would have been charged with a felony if they had harmed the whales.

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