The USS Coronado (LCS-4), a new U.S. Navy battleship that will be commissioned in San Diego on April 5, made an impressive showing Sunday off Dana Point.
But it seems as though 419-foot trimaran’s crew had forgotten to pay attention to gray whales that are migrating in a northerly direction along the Southern California coast.
A Facebook post from Dana Wharf Whale Watching reads: “Wow, this warship almost ran over some Gray Whales! Good thing Captain Todd [Mansur] warned them and they came to a stop!”
Mansur said in a phone interview that he reached the USS Coronado crew via radio and the vessel stopped immediately and waited for two whales to pass. "They were traveling very slowly and when I alerted them they were able to stop the boat instantly," Mansur said. "They weren't doing anything reckless."
Photographer Christina de la Fuente captured the top image showing one of the whales with the USS Coronado and the Dana Point coastline in the background. The second image, captured by Carla Mitroff, shows the 95-foot Dana Pride alongside the USS Coronado.
The high-speed warship is the Navy’s fourth littoral combat ship. It’s designed to carry out missions close to the coast and is powered by thrusters instead of propellers, enabling access to shallow water (it has a draft of only 14.4 feet).
According to the vessel’s website, the USS Coronado "is designed to defeat asymmetric 'anti-access' threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft."
Gray whales are beginning their 6,000-mile migration from Baja California nursing grounds to Arctic summer feeding grounds.