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Captain Dave Anderson of Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari in Dana Point, California, has recently filmed and edited a brand new video that contains never-before-seen footage of a mother and calf humpback whale being escorted by a sea lion. The mother and calf pair has been staying in the Dana Point area for a week now.

“At first I thought the sea lion was a dolphin, but was surprised to discover that it was, in fact, a sea lion bow-riding on the the mother’s forward thrust. As we watched the mother and calf we saw another startling behavior that I had never seen before. The mother actually extends her left pectoral flipper towards the calf for several minutes… and then, just before a dive, touches the calf’s chin, as if to lift it’s head or blow hole out of the water to exhale before diving. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s like a human mother who is holding her child’s hand. Without the drone’s perspective, we would not have been able to see this interaction between the mother and calf. It was just beautiful and I was really moved to see the mother do this.”

According to N.O.A.A. Southern California has the greatest density of dolphins in the world. We have pods up to 10,000 strong stretched out for miles like the wildebeests of Africa. Over 400,000 common dolphin alone. We also have the largest concentration of blue whales on earth.

Entanglement in fishing gear takes the lives of nearly 1,000 dolphins and whales ever day around the world. Captain Dave formed Orange County’s first whale disentanglement group in 2008 and has been involved in disentangling several whales, including a gray whale named Lily, whose disentanglement in Dana Point Harbor made national headlines. He authored the award-winning book, “Lily, A Gray Whale’s Odyssey”, which won eight awards in 2013.

Special Note From Captain Dave:
Attention to any would-be whale videographers: please only attempt this if you are extremely familiar with whale behavior as it is illegal to do anything that causes the whales to change their normal behavior with big fines- and the authorities do watch YouTube. Different areas have different laws on approaching whales. I am a whale watch captain with nearly 20 years of experience. All laws were obeyed by us during filming. The Mom and calf as you can see in the film were completely undisturbed by the small drone. NOAA is currently reviewing drones and may create laws or guidelines for using them around whales.

Fully Licensed Music: Waves of Freedom by David Hollandsworth

Equipment: DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter  with ZenmuseH3-2D Gimbal and GoPro HERO3 Black

Video footage is copyright David Anderson/ and may not be used without permission.