A California whale watching tour group got a rare front-row seat to witness the moment a gray whale gave birth.
Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari took a group out along Southern California’s Dana Point coast on Monday when a gray mother whale came near to show off her new baby calf.
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“Yesterday afternoon we celebrated a new year and a new baby whale!” the whale watching company shared on Facebook. “We witnessed a migrating gray whale giving birth a few miles off the coast of Dana Point (a 1st for us in 25+ years of whale watching).”
The group explained that gray whales typically give birth in the warmer waters of Baja California, Mexico, but that it likely did not make it in time.
The calf could be seen swimming alongside its mother while also resting its face on hers throughout the video, which has since gone viral.
“After surfacing, the newborn calf began learning how to swim and bonding with its mother,” Capt. Dave’s added in its post, noting how spectacular it was to see questionable movement turn out to be a baby whale calf. “The female even brought her calf over to our boats as if to show off her offspring and say hello!”
Gray whales migrate from Alaska to Baja California annually, swimming around 10,000 miles round trip, according to NOAA Fisheries. Newborn whale calves are estimated to measure 14 to 16 feet long and weigh about 2,000 pounds.