February 3, 2013
Romantic gray whales roll with bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Dana Point, California, as our high-tech Whale Watching boat “Manute’a” looks on! As seen on ABC, CBS, NBC.
On Sunday February 3rd, in front of amazed whale watchers aboard Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari two gray whales paused their southbound migration for what appeared to be courtship behavior as bottlenose dolphins interacted with these giant pre-Valentine leviathans off of Dana Point, California.
Gray whales are making their annual migration from the cold waters off Alaska to the warm waters off of Baja, CA. There, in the lagoons, they mate and have their calves. It appears these two lovebirds just couldn’t wait for Baja though!
Throughout the courtship/mating behavior, whale watching passengers looked on as the whales rolled and twirled, a couple times spy hopped, and even occasionally thrashed their powerful tail flukes. A small pod of about one dozen coastal bottlenose dolphins circled and swam with the whales as if they were intrigued about what was going on.
As the pair of whales made their way past the Point, which is often used by gray whales as a landmark during their long migration, they dodged lobster traps which can be dangerous if the whales get to close and become entangled.
Last year Captain Dave and others worked to free two whales caught in similar gear and one in a gillnet. Entanglement in fishing gear claims the lives of 308,000 dolphins and whales every year worldwide according to scientific estimates. That is nearly 1,000 dolphin and whales every day! Captain Dave organized Orange County’s only whale disentanglement group in 2008 and has successfully disentangled several gray whales, including Lily, whose disentanglement made national headlines. Capt. Dave authored the book, “Lily, A Gray Whale’s Odyssey”, a magnificent photographic journey of a gray whale’s migration.
In addition to this pair of gray whales, whale watchers aboard Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari also saw a rare humpback whale, a minke whale, several other gray whales, and common dolphins. Southern California has the greatest density of dolphins per square mile than of anywhere on earth. The area also has the largest concentration of blue whales on the planet.