DANA POINT — A juvenile gray whale was amazing beachgoers at Baby Beach, early Tuesday morning, Aug. 8, as it rolled in the mud in shallow water.
“It was right in the kid’s swim area, and it looked like it was going to get stuck,” said Nathan Good, a 12-year-old from San Clemente who was on the Manute’a with a group of 27 other junior guards. “The captain sailed over and we got to see it. It was awesome. It was a baby and it was cute.”
The gray whale was first spotted in the harbor around 6:30 a.m. by a paddleboarder who later told Dominic Biagini, an aerial photographer for Capt. Dave’s Dolphin Safari and Whale Watching. Biagini started filming the whale by drone at Baby Beach, watching as it worked its way up the north side past the Pilgrim tall ship. From there, the whale circled a small fishing pier several times.
Biagini watched as a woman jumped off her kayak into the water next to the whale. “The whale spy hopped to look at her, Biagini said. “I’ve filmed a lot of animals, but this is amazing.”
Word of the whale spread quickly among stand-up paddle boarders and parents with young children hanging out at Baby Beach.
About 10 a.m. Capt. Dave Anderson, who had Good and his fellow junior guards aboard and 20 other passengers aboard Manute’a, followed the whale from their dock to Baby Beach and watched as it fed in the mud in water no more than 12 feet deep near the Ocean Institute.
By 11 a.m., the whale was still near the Ocean Institute blowing bubbles and meandering in shallow water.
Donna Kalez, of Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching, had run to Baby Beach to see the whale but was told by paddleboarders it had left the harbor.