Tour companies at coastal locations throughout the United States offer whale watching cruises, often guaranteeing actual sightings. Frequently, the companies cooperate with each other or have their own lookouts to locate whale activity and then booked cruises are able to give their guests the thrill of sightings that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. And this weekend, whale watching guests on a trip off the California coast at Dana Point were treated to a sighting that was priceless and a natural marvel that is usually not seen by human eyes. A tour by Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari was approached by a pod of false killer whales. The pod members seemed excited and were actively swimming around and near the boat – as one cow gave birth. The picture with this article shows the newborn baby whale only minutes after birth with fins still folded to the side and fetal folds still showing on the skin. Wild whale accompanied by pod gives birth – what an amazing experience for the fortunate observers!
For certain, a whale birth in the open seas or even near the coast is rare. So the sightseers and the boat’s crew had an experience of a lifetime during this cruise, managing to get amazing video and photos. Their experience was all the more exciting since false killer whales generally are not seen off southern California. Captain Tom Southern of Captain Dave’s can only recall two other sightings in 15 years.
Despite their name “false killer whales,” they are actually in the dolphin family. They are matte black and swim and act more like dolphins. Fishermen frequently hunt or drive them away because they plunder nets. In Japan, the false killer whales are a target of annual drive/hunt fisheries.
According to Southern, females approached the boat, coming right up beside it and pushed at the side. He says, “Then you see this spurt of blood and you think they got something – but instead you see a baby pop out. He was about 2 1/2 feet-long and his fins were all folded together. He was lying on his side and flopping around like a fish.”
Everyone on the boat watched the miracle of birth happen and kept a close eye on the newborn baby false killer whale, who struggled at first. It took about 10 minutes for the baby to find his way, but he soon started swimming around, poking his head up out of the water.
Southern conveyed the birth to other boats in proximity to Dana Point. It was not long before others came to see the baby whale, his dives, and his pod. Captain Frank Brennan of Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching was one of the first to arrive at the scene and was spellbound. He said that in his 19 years working for Dana Wharf Sportfishing, he has never witnessed a whale or porpoise birth.
Southern said. “This was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.”
Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari posted their exciting experience on Facebook.