Drone Captures Rare Sighting of Gray Whale Mom and Twin Calves

whales calves

Photo Credit: DolphinSafari.com/Capt. Dave

A drone captured this rare video of two gray whale babies swimming next to their mom in Southern California off Dana Point. Whale watchers were treated to this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of the gray whale mom and twin calves on Monday, with the video, a first of its kind, showing the whales slicing through the water next to mom, keeping close to her side as they glide under a hovering camera drone.

In the video, the boat captain, Captain Dave Anderson of Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Safari, says, “It was just beautiful to see the two animals right next to their mother. It was amazing. The most amazing thing that I’ve ever seen out on the ocean.”

The captain, who captured the footage, told The Dodo that in his “20 years of business he’s never heard of anyone seeing a mother with two calves.”

Anderson also said it’s not certain whether the calves are twins or whether one of them was adopted by the mother whale. There are a few documented cases of whales and dolphins adopting young calves, but never a grey whale. He further explained, “I think it more likely, though also extremely rare, that these whales were born to the same mother. While one calf is slightly longer than the other, neither calf appears to be undernourished, like we might expect in the case of an adoption.”

The family is currently on its 6,000-mile migration from the warm waters off Mexico’s coast to the cold Arctic seas. Gray whales have the longest known migration of any mammal. It’s tough enough for mom to feed one, let alone two, so let’s hope they make it to their feeding grounds in the north! So far, Anderson said, they seem to be healthy and strong.