A group of whale watchers off the coast of Southern California had the rare privilege of witnessing the moment a grey whale gave birth.
Passengers aboard Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari enjoyed the extraordinary event off the coast of Dana Point, between Los Angeles and San Diego.
A company spokesperson said the crew had noticed the whale behaving sporadically, as they steered the boat slowly toward the animal.
“Passengers and crew saw something orange- and red-colored in the water they thought might have been kelp.”
Instead, a newborn calf rose to the surface.
The mother brought her baby right up to a small boat—as if to show it off.
“For a minute, many of us thought it may be a shark or predatory event. But, instead of the end of life, it was the beginning of a new one!”
The calf can be seen learning how to swim with the help of its mother. Several small boats were floating in the area, while a woman can be heard gasping with awe and delight at the rare sight.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, grey whales are often curious toward boats, making them ideal subjects for whale-watching tours.
Eastern North Pacific grey whales migrate 10,000 to 14,000 miles along the western US Coast, and often give birth in the warm waters nearby in Baja California, Mexico—with newborns measuring 15 feet long and weighing about 2,000 pounds.