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By Andrea Papagianis
Two humpback whales gave outdoor recreationists aboard local dolphin and whale watching vessels an all-day show Sunday, July 20 as the mother and calf played hide-and-seek along Dana Point’s coast.
On the first trip of the day, Capt. Frank Brennan with Dana Wharf Sportfising & Whale Watching spotted what he thought was three humpback whales. It turned out to be just two humpbacks and one fin whale. The mother and calf remained in the area throughout the day, playing what appeared to be games and giving whale watchers a show.
Both Dana Wharf and Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari captured aerial drone footage of the humpback whales, which have been spotted on other days since. Such footage has given researchers a new perspective into the behaviors of many different dolphin and whale species.
“As we watched the mother and calf we saw another startling behavior that I had never seen before,” said Dave Anderson. “The mother actually extends her left pectoral flipper toward the calf for several minutes … and then, just before a dive, touches the calf’s chin, as if to lift its head or blow hole out of the water to exhale before diving.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s like human mother who is holding her child’s hand.”