I recently shared a video of an encounter with a baby Gray Whale and its mother. Many people have seen the video and there has been a terrible backlash of hostility from some well-meaning people. They accuse of us harassing the calf, of boxing it in and trying to separate it from its mother. This is simply not true. I love these animals and I know the laws and regulations in how to appropriately view them in the wild.
We spotted the mother over 200 yards Northwest of us and then positioned ourselves to be outside of her direct path. Her calf separated from her and surfaced right underneath my girlfriend’s kayak. It stayed there for over a minute, spinning playful circles and rubbing up against her kayak. I’ve conducted many whale watching tours and have never before seen a whale exhibit this kind of behavior. It seemed curious and playful and didn’t move away from us. It even stayed with my girlfriend’s kayak after she and her friend started backpaddling away.
Myself and the other guide approached to make sure they were safe and that nothing was wrong with the calf. When I came up next to my girlfriend’s kayak, the calf kept spinning circles and then rubbed up against my kayak before submerging and then resurfacing on the other side. It then rejoined its mother and stayed in the vicinity for several minutes. It was an amazing experience that I and everyone else on that tour will never forget.
I love these animals. I’m excited every single time I see them and aside from this experience, the tours I conduct are always outside of their direct path. Occasionally they surface close to us and we always remain stationary and stay out of their way because it is important to not interfere with them as they migrate south. The company I work for, Everyday California, offers these tours so that people can see them in the wild and realize that keeping such large and intelligent animals in captivity is extremely wrong and there are better ways to see them. We are ocean lovers. We are animal lovers. I feel terrible that some of our fellow marine animal lovers are so up in arms against us and view us with disgust and hostility. We are on the same side. We want to help keep them free and show people just how wonderful and essential they are.