Rare White Dolphin Spotted by Whale Watchers Off California’s Dana Point

A rare white dolphin known by locals as “Blanco” was seen this weekend by a group of whale watchers off of Dana Point, a coastal city in Orange County, California. The harbor, with its various marinas, is a jumping-off point for popular dolphin and whale-watching cruises.

Blanco was spotted swimming in a larger nursery pod and is believed to be the only white dolphin to swim off of southern California. 

Over the past few years, the rare dolphin’s been seen from Dana Point to Long Beach, the southeast end of San Clemente Island, and the northeast side of Catalina Island.
 The group that captured the seldom-seen creature on film was part of the Dana Point Whale Watching tour.

white dolphin
Photo: YouTube/@diamondblockstudios6540

Blanco the White Dolphin

During an 8-hour whale-watching trip, passengers and crew spotted a large nursery pod of 35-45 Risso’s dolphins. The pod included the leucistic Blanco, who is very distinctive and almost entirely white. Blanco’s unusual color makes it much easier to identify him as compared to other dolphins.

Leucistic is an animal condition in which there is a partial loss of pigmentation resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales, or cuticle, but not the eyes (caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin). That’s what differentiates it from albinism, which results in pink eyes.

while dolphin
Photo: YouTube/@diamondblockstudios6540

Whale-Watching Tours

Dana Wharf has a wharf cam, but it’s the videographers and photogs on board the wildlife cruises that capture the best footage. Blanco has only been spotted a few times since May of 2021, so it’s a real treat for dolphin fanciers to catch a glimpse of him as he passes through the area. If you’ve never been on one, these sightseeing tours offer amazing scenery and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to get close to nature.

Check out the incredible videos below.

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