But one man got an even more personal experience with a whale… he got so close he was able to pet it!
In order to help and study the whale population without using invasive methods, the Ocean Alliance developed a specialized drone called the “Snotbot,” which hover above surfacing whales to collect blow from their lungs. They are able to use that lung lining sample to perform crucial tests of things like environmental toxins and hormone levels.
This means the sample can be taken from a distance without getting in the whale’s way, but it still requires people to head out to sea to operate them. In May, Christian Miller was on one of these Snotbot expeditions in San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico, according to Caters.
But while getting data on the whales, he got an extra special surprise: one of them came up to say hi!
A grey whale calf came up to the boat, curious about the passengers, and, just like a dog or a cat, seemed to be asking to be petted.
Christian was happy to oblige, reaching over and touching the friendly baby whale.
The whale’s mother was by its side. They were unafraid of the boat or the people, and in fact the calf was comfortable enough to let them rub the underside of its belly.
It’s amazing how trusting the whale was. Maybe they somehow knew that these expedition workers were there on a mission to help their species.
Watch the video below:
Whales are such amazing, intelligent creatures! What a cool experience for this crew to get to interact with one up close.
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