By Andrea Romano
November 26, 2019

You can make new friends in the most unexpected places.

According to the Daily Mail, a group of four whale watchers got an incredible close encounter with a mother gray whale and her calf while riding in a panga boat in the San Ignacio Lagoon, off Mexico's Baja Peninsula.

Drone footage on Instagram, taken by adventure photographer Erik Jones on Nov. 7, shows the once-in-a-lifetime meeting of the friendly and curious whales. In the video, the mother whale lifts her nose out of the water to meet the four people inside the boat. She then gets close enough to playfully spray water and for people to give her a gentle stroke. Her calf, meanwhile, jumps in the water for attention.

Jones wrote on Instagram, “For a 45 to 50-foot female to bring her calf up to your boat and encourage it to be scratched and rubbed was a truly memorable and humbling experience that we'll never forget.” He also told the Daily Mail that the two would “compete” for attention from the humans in the boat.

In the video’s caption, Jones wrote that the area’s remote location and the fact that the group went out at a particular time of year probably contributed to this amazing encounter.

“It's one of the few gray whale breeding grounds on the Baja peninsula where you can literally touch the whales,” Jones wrote. “From February - April they're nursing in the bay and love to hang out with tourists.”

Jones added, “If it was anyplace populated, San Ignacio might have been overrun with tourists by now. But fortunately, it's as remote as it gets, which makes it all that much better.”

Whale watching can be a magical experience, whether or not you get a chance to have a real up-close meeting with a whale. Still, it’s particularly epic when someone does manage to get a closer look, like one diver who took a selfie with a whale in Tonga, or a woman whose phone was rescued by a Beluga whale in Norway.

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