A friendly whale gave a group of whale watchers the show of a lifetime.
Passengers aboard AllsWell, a rigid hull inflatable boat operated by Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, got up close and personal with a curious and friendly minke whale.
Video shared by the tour company Friday showed the whale coming up within feet of the boat, peeking its head out and giving the passengers a show in a type of encounter known as “whale mugging.”
Whale mugging happens when a whale shows intense interest in a boat, gets close to it and then behaves inquisitively.
During encounters like this, whale watching tours will switch the boat into neutral to avoid spooking the whale. The engines were left on to help the minke whale hear the boat and know its location, since that specific species of whale doesn’t have echolocation ability.
Gisele Anderson, Co-President of Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, said this latest encounter is just the latest example of Dana Point being the “Whale Capital of the World.”
“Minke whales are one of my favorites, sometimes so much like a puppy, incredibly friendly and interactive, just wanting to make a connection,” Anderson said.
The whale watching company says minke whales are the smallest species of baleen whales that can be found off the coast of Southern California. They can reach up to 35 feet in length and weigh around 20,000 pounds, living off a diet of krill and small fish.