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The Moment: Dana Point, the whale capital of the west

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Last year the blue whale, Earth's largest mammal, came along. This month a 75-foot fin whale will be added to the sidewalk mural pod, joining an orca, a humpback and a gray whale.

Dana Point has been called “the whale capital of the West,” and not just for
those beautiful creatures often spotted offshore. Local surfers, art students and volunteers passionate about Doheny State Beach keep a 20-year tradition alive:
the life-size boardwalk paintings known as Whale Walk.

Some years sperm and minke whales make an appearance on the boardwalk, but last year, ahoy! The blue whale, Earth’s largest mammal, came along. And this month a 75-foot fin whale will be added to the sidewalk mural pod, joining an orca, a humpback and a gray whale. These paintings enliven the walk, which aims in part to be a teaching tool for families who bring their children to the beach. As beachgoers flock to the sand in the summer and step – or ride – over the whales, the paintings fade. Twice a year, volunteers show up before sunrise to spend hours bringing them back to life. A lesson in conservation, indeed.


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