Tourists along California’s coast got the thrill of a lifetime when the boat they were sailing on as part of a whale-watching excursion just happened to be in the area when a gray whale gave birth to her calf right there in front of them! The lucky folks were cruising along with Captain Dave’s Dana Point Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari when the incident occurred on January 2, 2023. What a way to start the new year!
Captain Dave’s Dana Point Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari
Fortunately, Captain Dave’s posted a description of the exciting event as it unfolded:
“Our whale-watching passengers and crew had a once-in-a-lifetime sighting off the coast of Dana Strands Beach in Dana Point, California, when we encountered a gray whale giving birth to a calf.
“At first, the sighting appeared to be a typical migrating gray whale. As the boat slowly approached the animal, our crew noticed it was behaving sporadically (sic). Passengers and crew saw something orange and red colored in the water that they thought might have been kelp. Instead, a newborn calf came up to the surface!
“For a minute, many of us thought it may be a shark or predatory event. But, no, instead of the end of life, it was the beginning of a new one!
“After surfacing, the newborn calf began learning how to swim and bonding with its mother. The female even brought the calf over to the boats as if to show off her offspring and say hello.”
“Gray whales prefer to give birth in the warm and protected lagoons of Baja California, Mexico. The lagoons offer safety from predators such as orcas, as well as warm water for calves who have not yet built up a thick layer of blubber.
“Although some gray whales do give birth in Baja, there are times when calves just won’t wait and are born during the migration.
“Gray whales migrate annually along the U.S. west coast, swimming 10,000 to 12,000 miles round-trip. It is one of the longest migrations of any mammal. The whales travel from their feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas near Alaska to the mating and birthing lagoons of Baja, and back again.
“Gray whale calves are about 15 feet long when they’re born and will gain over 50 pounds a day feeding on their mother’s milk. Gray whale mothers can lose 30% of their body weight nursing one calf on milk that contains over 50% fat. Gray whale adults average between 40 to 50 feet in length and weigh 30 to 40 tons.”
Check out the amazing video below!