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A frolicking humpback whale, three minke whales and dolphins put on a show in South Laguna – Orange County Register

Vaseline 2 months ago

A juvenile humpback whale draws cheers from boats and residents of hillside homes in South Laguna as it repeatedly forks out of the ocean between Thousand Steps Beach and West Street Beach. (Photo courtesy of Danawharf.com/Laura Lopez)

A frolicking juvenile humpback whale repeatedly broke out of the water between the bays at South Laguna, drawing cheers not only from passengers aboard whale-watching ships but also from residents of homes along the steep hills overlooking the coastline.

Fin whales, minke whales and dolphins were also spotted on Sunday, April 21 – a display that couldn’t have been better choreographed to celebrate Earth Day, several people said.

For a week now, whale watching tours from Dana Point Harbor have been cheering on the abundant marine life passengers have seen.

“Our ocean is alive with so much wildlife,” says Donna Kalez, who operates Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching. “As Earth Day approaches, we are reminded of the importance of a clean ocean and protecting diverse marine life.”

Kalez said captains and naturalists aboard her charter boats have recorded 80 sightings of fin whales and multiple humpback, minke and gray whales accompanied by their calves in the past week. Almost every day, she said, they also saw at least one humpback whale emerge from the water.

“This year’s (Earthy Day) theme, ‘Planet versus Plastics’, highlights the importance of fighting plastic pollution,” she said, adding that people can help by using reusable water bottles and cutting down on single-use plastics. minimalize. “It is crucial to ensure that no waste ends up in the water. And avoiding balloon releases is key, as they often end up in the ocean or waterways.”

Laguna Beach is leading the way in preventing both from reaching the ocean with a ban on purchasing and using balloons in public places and a ban on single-use plastics.

Additionally, the city’s coastline is largely a marine protected area, meaning fishing or taking anything from the tide pools is prohibited. The more than decade-long closure has helped the fish population recover and has made the cliff-protected lagoons a popular place for whales to feed and also take their calves.

On Sunday, Captain Danilo Sansalone was aboard the newest boat in Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari fleet, the Hoku Nai’a, a 65-foot catamaran, leading a special Earth Day cruise for the non- profit Dolphin Project. when he received word from other charters about the jumping juvenile humpback whale and the other whales hanging out off the coast of South Laguna between Thousand Steps Beach and Mission Hospital Laguna Beach.

“It kept jumping in the same location and it looked like there was a lot of food,” he said. “It was a very healthy whale, a juvenile.”

Sansalone said he and the other boat captains kept their distance as the whale moved back and forth and jumped out of the water at least a dozen times.

“Everyone was yelling and screaming and having a good time.” he said of the passengers aboard the boats.

There were also shouts and shouts on the hill from residents looking out onto the beach and watching the spectacle from their decks.

“I’ve been to Laguna many times and even been on a few whale watching tours, but I’ve never experienced what I experienced today,” said Kimberly Munoz, who was in town to tour Chris Richter’s gallery. “It was a spectacular sight to see the whales splashing in the sea. What a treat for this Texas girl.

For another neighbor, the sight made Earth Day even more important.

“This is the best Earth Day I’ve ever experienced,” said Lisa Yamasaki, who was frantically taking photos from her patio. “Every time one of the whales jumped out of the water, you could hear people on the boats and along the hillside gasping and cheering, and a second later you felt and heard the crash as its body or tail hit the water.”