Stunned whale-watchers witness birth of gray whale calf off Dana Point
Stunned whale watchers off the coast of Dana Point got more than their money’s worth when a gray whale gave birth to a calf right beside their boat.
Passengers who were looking for marine wildlife Monday on an excursion with Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching were graced with the once-in-a-blue-moon viewing as they recorded videos from their catamaran sailboat — which was noticeably smaller than the mother whale who swam alongside it.
At first, they saw a gray whale acting strangely, swimming not in a straight line, according to staff with Capt. Dave’s. Then, the whale began swimming in circles and they saw blood in the water.
“Normally when you see blood in the water it’s not a good sign,” said Stacie Fox, who has worked for Capt. Dave’s for three years. “But I was like, I bet this is a female giving birth. I started yelling that to my captain. I was taking pictures.”
Fox, who admitted to tearing up during the birth, said it was an event that had been on her bucket list.
“It is kinda hard to put into words how amazing it was,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to see a whale birth but I never thought it would actually happen.”
Fox said the wrinkly newborn looked like a “little pickle” and that the cow and calf swam around by the boats for about 45 minutes. The whales are migrating to the lagoons in Baja California, Mexico, she said, where they usually give birth to their calves.
Staff with Capt. Dave’s said it was the first live viewing of a whale birth in the 25 years they have been watching whales.
The gray whale cow even sidled up alongside the boat and nudged the vessel, lifting it slightly above the water’s surface, video showed.
Gray whales grow up to 40 to 50 feet in length and weigh more than 70,000 pounds, according to the Oceanic Society.
The massive mammals are often seen off the coast of California as they make their annual migration from the waters of the Arctic to the lagoons in Baja California.
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