Amazing (if unsafe) encounter with a gray whale calf in Baja

David Anderson runs a whale-watch operation in Orange County, but he calls this up-close experience with an affectionate whale during a family vacation in Magdalena Bay in Baja California "one of the best encounters I have ever had with a whale." The baby appears to enjoy being petted and even having human hands caress its teeth. Anderson says the calf was teething and seeking comfort. The encounter lasted an hour, he says. The video was edited down to three minutes.

whale-calf-baja.jpgUh, don't try this at home. No way those kids should be sticking their hands into the mouth of a whale — baby or not. Apparently it's common for gray whales to make human and boat contact in the winter calving grounds in Mexico. "At least once the calf seems to close its eyes upon being stroked on its head, as might a kitten or puppy," says outdoors writer Pete Thomas. "What's missing, however, is the calf's mother, and how she responded to her baby's prolonged human encounter." At least she didn't tip over the boat.

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