DANA POINT — For the third time in four months a gray whale has visited the harbor.
Mike Bursk, a captain with the Ocean Institute’s R/V Sea Explorer, was heading out on a trip at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21 when the approximately 35-foot-long whale passed the boat heading into the harbor.
The whale swam down the outer channel and wowed paddleboarders, kayakers and boaters as it calmly cruised along.
When Bursk got back to the dock at the Ocean Institute an hour later, the whale was swimming and diving near the institute’s dock. Bursk described the whale as juvenile and looking healthy.
Calls to the Orange County Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol by Bursk and Capt. Chuck Gathars on Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari drew an immediate response.
Deputies used their fire hoses to spray the water and slowly shepherd the whale toward the mouth of the harbor.
“They stayed behind the whale and moved him from the center of the channel by the bridge all the way around the corner to the front of the harbor,” said Craig DeWitt, videographer for Dolphinsafari.com.
The whale’s visit on Tuesday was the third time a gray whale has been spotted in Dana Point Harbor since August.
On Oct. 20, Bursk was taking out a group of Anaheim High School students when he also spotted a juvenile gray swimming up the channel.
That time, the whale took the same route as Tuesday, swimming along the outer channel toward the Ocean Institute and over to Baby Beach.
The whale left the harbor after a few hours, after some prodding from local boaters and paddleboarders.
At that time whale experts wondered if the October whale was the same wayward whale that had made national headlines after appearing in Dana Point Harbor on…