Rare Video Captures Gray Whales ‘Practice Mating’ in Dana Point Harbor

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An intimate moment shared between gray whales in Dana Point Harbor took place just feet away from a whale-watching boat while cameras were rolling this week.


A gray whale seen in Dana Point Harbor in a photo provided by Larry Hartmann.

The three gray whales seen bobbing and breaching in the video taken Thursday were practice mating, according to Larry Hartmann of Captain Larry Adventures, which provides whale-watching excursions aboard the vessel Discovery out of Dana Point Harbor.

Female gray whales don’t actually mate until November, Hartmann said.

The trio were on their way to Alaska, a nine-month, 10,000-mile trip that is the longest migration of any mammal, according to Hartmann.

Often, the 30- to 40-ton mammals don’t eat during the long trek and lose about half of their body weight, Hartman said.