Captain Dave Anderson’s whale-watching crew captured Sunday the first video footage of a gray whale seen this season off the coast of Dana Point.
The poor fella may have been a victim of a killer whale attack, Anderson said.
“The first gray whale of the season whale had chunks taken out of its tail flukes, a tell-tale sign of a killer whale attack,” he said.
An estimated 35 percent of gray whale calves are attacked and killed by killer whales, and so this whale may have been attacked by transient orca, Anderson said.
Gray whales make one of the longest migrations of any mammal and are seen every winter off Orange County, according to Anderson. The whales travel over 12,000 miles from the Chukchi and Bering Seas to the lagoons of Baja, California, where they mate and have their calves.
Whale watchers can see gray whales off Dana Point from December through April and sometimes as late as May. They are often spotted within just a mile or so of the shoreline, where some believe they use Dana Point’s headlands as a landmark on their journey, making them a popular whale to watch, Anderson said.