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A 24-foot-long cetacean surprised boaters and stand-up paddlers at Dana Point Harbor 

A gray whale stopped by Dana Point Harbor for a visit on Aug. 1. It was seen rubbing up against the docks, and swimming and foraging in the channels. Photo: Courtesy of Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari
A gray whale stopped by Dana Point Harbor for a visit on Aug. 1. It was seen rubbing up against the docks, and swimming and foraging in the channels. Photo: Courtesy of Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari

By Andrea Swayne

A gray whale, estimated at about 24 feet in length, paid a visit to the Dana Point Harbor on Saturday, Aug. 1, surprising boaters, kayakers and stand-up paddlers in the channels.

According to David Anderson, owner of Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari, the whale spent several hours swimming in the Harbor, allowing him and Mark Tyson to get a good look at it.

“The Harbor Patrol kept boaters away from the whale while we did an assessment of its health and condition to ensure it was not entangled or sick,” Anderson said. “The whale had healed scars on it that appeared to show it had been attacked by killer whales and had also been entangled in fishing gear.  But it appeared to be in relatively good condition, otherwise, for a whale heading north so late in the season.”

Anderson also said the whale was seen foraging for food in the sand and rubbing itself on the docks.

Because the whale did not appear to be in distress, the best course of action was to stand back and let it find its way out to sea, he said.

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