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March 17, 2013
 
A pair of gray whales got “lucky” on St. Patrick’s Day, oblivious to Dana Point Whale Watching boats nearby.
 

 
A pair of gray whales got “lucky” on St. Patrick’s Day, oblivious to Dana Point Whale Watching boats nearby. Passengers aboard Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari got a very rare and up-close glimpse of two gray whales displaying courtship and mating behavior just a couple miles offshore of Dana Point, California.

Gray whales migrate 10,000 to 12,000 miles every year from the cold waters off Alaska to the warm lagoons of Baja, California and return again. This is one of the longest migrations of any mammal. On their northbound route back to the colder waters, as the pair in this video were headed, the whales usually have one thing on their mind: food. But not these two! All afternoon in front of amazed whale watchers these “lovebirds” rolled and twirled in a rare and amazing display of mating behavior usually only seen Baja. At one point they “fell in love” with a sailboat, repeatedly swimming over and rubbing or scratching against the bottom and keel of the boat! And a little later they gave surprised Orange County paddleboarders a once-in-a-lifetime show!

Throughout their migration gray whales face many challenges and hazards one of which takes the lives of nearly 1,000 whales and dolphins every day. Scientists estimate that 308,000 dolphins and whales die because of fishing gear entanglement every year worldwide. Captain Dave organized Orange County’s first whale disentanglement group in 2008 and has successfully disentangled several gray whales, including Lily, whose disentanglement made national headlines. Capt. Dave authored the award winning book, “Lily, A Gray Whale’s Odyssey”, a magnificent photographic journey of a gray whale’s migration.