Whale watchers near Dana Point, California were shocked when they spotted a grey whale and her two calves a mile off the coast. The solitary creatures usually have a single calf every two years, so the family of three was a bit of a head scratcher.
Captain Dave Anderson, of Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Safari, was notified by a local fisherman about the unusual pod. He quickly directed his tour toward the trio and launched a drone to capture footage of the spectacular sight.
It’s unclear whether the calves are twins, or if one of them was adopted by the whale when it was orphaned. According to Anderson all three looked healthy.
The family was making the 6,000-mile trek north from breeding grounds near Baja to arctic seas fishing grounds. The voyage will be a challenge for the mother whale. She has to fend off predators, like killer whales, and ensure the calves don’t get snagged in fishing nets. She also won’t get a meal until she is closer to Oregon, while nursing calves drink nearly 50 gallons of milk a day, significantly depleting her body mass.
For now, however, the whale family looks healthy and happy. Grey whales are known for being very affectionate and protective of their young, so the two have a good chance of making it all the way to the Arctic.