When gray whales congregate in Baja California lagoons each winter to mate and nurse their young, they often swim up to small boats and allow for intimately close encounters with astonished whale-watchers. Apparently, some of these "friendlies" are continuing this practice during their return voyage to Arctic home waters.
The accompanying videos contain footage of gray whales, presumably adults, interacting with passengers aboard the Dana Pride (top video) and Reel Fun (bottom video) on Friday out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale-Watching in Orange County, Calif.
The Reel Fun is a fishing boat and those are U.S. Marines -- who put their fishing equipment aside during the encounter -- being introduced to a smelly blast of whale breath.
These types of ultra-friendly encounters with gray whales are not common beyond lagoons, probably because once gray whales begin their northbound migration, they're on a mission to reach their objective.
Said Donna Kalez, general manager of Dana Wharf landing: "This has to be good for tourism in Orange County. If the whales are doing this here, people don't have to go to Baja to see it."
(Note: Similar footage, involving the same whales, was captured by Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Safari.)