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Gray Whale Hugs Boat and Looks Through its Special Underwater Window

Passengers aboard Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari in Dana Point, California, had the rare opportunity to get eye-to-eye with a playful gray whale while it swam the “backstroke” with a pod of bottlenose dolphin off the coast of Dana Point, California.

“Without a doubt this is the best we’ve ever seen of a gray whale underwater from our Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods, the water was so clear and the whale was actually playing us and with the dolphin. This was an extraordinary encounter,” says Captain Dave.

This seemingly happy gray whale was on its annual migration from the cold waters off Alaska to the warm lagoons of Baja, California, when it paused to have some fun with bottlenose dolphins and passengers and one of our whale whisperer crew. We watched the whale rolling over on its back and swimming upside down trying to entice the dolphins to slide across its belly.  It then came over to look our naturalist in the eye!

The gray whale swam right next to our stopped catamaran sailboat, within arm’s reach of astonished passengers and crew. Our boat remained in neutral whenever the whale chose to come close to us. This is called a mugging. “And what a mugging it was!”  Capt. Dave exclaimed.

Whale watcher Don Bennett from Fort Wayne, Indiana, says of the experience, “We saw a gray that if I could have reached down from the boat, I could have touched this gray whale. He looked at me with his eye! He was amazing.”

Bottlenose dolphins are seen year-round off the coast of Southern California. They are one of the most well-known dolphin species due to their popularity in marine parks and the television series “Flipper”. They average about 8 to 10 feet in length and can weigh over 1,000 pounds.  Intelligent, playful, and curious, bottlenose dolphin often interact with whale watching passengers and love to bow ride with boats.