While Orange County was reveling in the spirit of the holidays this week, a group of marine mammals held a party of their own.
On Tuesday, Dec. 24, Capt. Steve Plantz, on board the Manute’a — a catamaran operated by Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari — came across a festive sight involving three gray whales, and some dolphins and sea lions.
Plantz had taken the Manute’a out on its first public cruise on Christmas Eve morning and was looking for marine mammals — including gray whales which have started to show up off the Orange County coastline during their annual migration from the Bering Sea in Alaska.
He first saw a group of common dolphins which led Plantz about three miles straight out of Dana Point Harbor, where he caught sight of the whale spouts. As the boat got closer, Plantz saw three whales — two adults and one juvenile. The common dolphins continued to frolic with the whales who were cruising south.
Two hours later, Plantz took out a second group of passengers. This time he found the whales off Camp Pendleton, surrounded by about 20 Pacific white-sided dolphins and three sea lions.
“The dolphins were diving around them and under them,” Plantz said. “The sea lions were just jumping.”
“Had this been any day of the year, to get a sighting like this would have felt like Christmas,” he added. “To get this on Christmas Eve, it added a special element.”
Source: Orange County Register