Each winter in the northern hemisphere, gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) raise their babies in the warm waters of two major lagoons in Baja California, Mexico. The young whales spend time nursing and exercising in protected waters, learning from their doting mothers.
During this period, many gray whale females and their calves take an interest in tourist boats carrying visitors from near and far, often approaching to initiate interaction. In most circumstances, seeking direct contact with wild animals is not a good idea. But here, it is the whales who seek out people for what can only be called play.
This little whale repeatedly approached the boat I was in, seeking out contact with all on board. The young whale's mother was always nearby. It seemed, in fact, as if the adult led her offspring to the boat and insisted that the calf engage with the humans. You can see the top of the mother’s back in this photo, just behind the friendly calf.
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