Captain Dave Anderson filmed with his drone amorous gray whales off the coast of Southern California for two days rolling around in a rare display of mating behavior usually reserved for the lagoons of Baja. “This is by far some of the most amazing beautiful footage I have seen of whales,” Capt. Dave explained.
A pair of gray whales had eyes only for each other as they engaged in unprecedented mating behavior for two days in a row. One of the whales has a severe spinal deformity, similar to scoliosis. Despite the handicap the whale appears to be living, loving, and thriving!
It’s unusual to see courtship and mating outside of the lagoons. These two gray whales, however, decided to have an amorous interlude off the coast of Dana Point, California, a location author Richard Henry Dana once described as “the most romantic spot on the coast”.
For two days the whales twirled around, sometimes swimming on their sides and on their backs. At one point one of the whales rolled on its side and draped its pectoral flipper over the top of its mate. Almost as if they were snuggling! “It was so beautiful the way the whales were connecting,” said Captain Dave, “they looked like they were in an embrace. It brought tears to my eyes as I watched the footage live from the drone through special goggles!”
Extraordinary gray whale sightings are breaking records this season, which typically lasts from December through May. This month so far Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari has seen more than double the number of whales than last February and up over 450% from 2013! Researchers are not sure why more gray whales are being seen. Some speculate that maybe the whales are migrating closer to shore, although there have been no scientific surveys done to confirm this.
Gray whales have one of the longest migrations of any mammal. Along the way they face many threats including killer whales and entanglement in fishing gear. Nearly 1,000 dolphins and whales die every day, worldwide, in fishing gear entanglement. Captain Dave organized Orange County’s first whale disentanglement group and has successfully disentangled several gray whales, including the gray whale Lily, whose rescue made national headlines.
Video filmed by David Anderson and Dale Frink.
Music used with permission by David Hollandsworth.