A quadcopter drone was used to capture this amazing video a year ago. If you watch all five minutes, you’ll see thousands of common dolphins stampeding off Dana Point, California, three gray whales migrating together down the coast off San Clemente, California, plus, toward the end, close-ups from Maui of a newborn Humpback whale calf snuggling and playing with its mom, as an escort whale stands guard nearby.
Captain Dave Anderson of Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari in Dana Point, California filmed and edited the video. He used a small inflatable boat, from which he launched and caught the drone by hand. A miss could have meant injury to him from the four propeller blades, or loss of the drone. In fact, he lost one drone on takeoff when it nicked his small VHF radio antenna and went into the water. Although he was alone and six miles offshore, Anderson says, he went into the water after it, without thinking, to retrieve the valuable footage taken on a flight half an hour earlier that morning. He wrote:
I had my hat and glasses on, I was fully clothed with long-johns on to keep warm and my cell phone and wallet in my pocket. It was a stupid move, but the copter started sinking so fast it was my only hope to get the amazing footage I had just shot.
We appreciate it, Captain Dave. It’s a wonderful video.
Bottom line: Video showing thousands of common dolphins stampeding off Dana Point, California, three gray whales migrating together down the coast off San Clemente, California, plus a newborn Humpback whale calf snuggling and playing with its mom near Maui.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.