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Whale-watchers off Dana Point got the Christmas gift of a lifetime last week when a trio of gray whales was spotted frolicking with scores of dolphins and sea lions.

Capt. Steve Plantz is a lifelong ocean explorer who has led tours with Captain Dave’s Dana Point Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari for the past two years. He said to see the gray whales alone would have been a sight, but to see all the sea creatures floating in unison was a rarity.

Plantz took a group of whale-watchers out to sea on Christmas Eve aboard the Manute’a, a 50-foot catamaran sailboat. The goal was to find marine mammals, including gray whales, who are most often spotted between December and May during their annual migration from north of Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California.

What the 49 passengers witnessed instead was a water ballet among the animals.

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