Out-of-season migrating gray whale spotted off coast of Dana Point

Local news

A migrating gray whale surprised a group of people on a recent whale watching excursion off the coast of Dana Point, its beautiful movements captured on drone video.

“Normally if you see such an out-of-season gray whale it looks pretty lethargic, but it was a pleasant surprise to see it so relatively healthy,” Chuck Gathers, captain of the vessel Manute’a at Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari, said in a news release Monday. 

The mid-July sighting is considered rare during summer in Southern California, Gathers said, because the gray whale migration begins in late November and lasts through mid-May.

But there are several possible reasons for the “odd” gray whale sighting.

“The whale could be one of about 200 gray whales that spend the summer feeding off the coast of Oregon instead of migrating all the back to the Arctic. Or, it may be a whale that was lost or confused and is now heading in the right direction,” the whale watching vessel stated in the news release. “It could even be just one of the last gray whales to leave the lagoons in Mexico.”

The gray whale was initially spotted by Dana Wharf Whale Watching off Monarch Point heading north.

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