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As warm water from a probable El Niño event moves into Southern California, it brings with it an abundant amount of marine mammals and fish, some of which are rarely seen in the area.

Whale watchers aboard Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari in Dana Point, California, have delighted in a whale-a-palooza with blue whales, fin whales, humpback whales, minke whales, and extremely rare Bryde’s whales seen in just the last two days! Dolphins too, some in pods numbering over 1,000, seem to be enjoying the abundant food supply made available by the warmer water. Dana Point has the greatest density of dolphins per square mile than anywhere on earth.  And large sharks, including rare hammerhead sharks, have been seen on multiple occasions.

Bryde’s (pronounced “broodus”) whales in particular are a very special and unusual sighting. According to N.O.A.A. estimates there are just 12 Bryde’s whales off California, Oregon, and Washington. They are part of the family of baleen whales, like blue and humpback whales. Bryde’s whales can reach lengths of up to 55 feet and weight up to 90,000 pounds.

In this video Dana Point whale watching passengers received an unexpected surprise yesterday and today when they encountered an infrequently seen humpback whale mother and calf. Humpback whales average 40 to 50 feet in length and can weigh up to 40 tons. These gentle giants are well known for their playful behavior and long pectoral flippers which they use for better maneuverability.

The hungry humpbacks fed on schools of fish alongside a pod of common dolphins. When a whale is feeding it gulps down large amounts of sea water and food, usually krill or small fish. In their upper jaw hangs baleen, a substance made of keratin that the whale uses to filter their food out the water.

Dana Point whale watchers are getting a close look at magnificent blue whales too. Blue whales are the largest known animal to ever live on earth and Southern California has more blue whales during the summer than anywhere else in the world.

Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari offers daily, year-round, dolphin and whale watching trips from Dana Point, California, aboard a high-tech catamaran sailboat with Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods. Learn more and reserve whale watching tickets >

Click on a photo to buy prints and photo gifts from this safari and others or visit WhaleWatchingPhotos.com