On the Baja Peninsula, whale watching becomes something else. Young Grey Whales seek out boats full of tourists and interact with them, many being kissed and rubbed like your pet dog.
Grey whales hold the record for longest migration (excluding birds) some being over 22,000 km. So these young whales who start life associating boats with a positive experience, then need to navigate thousands of kilometers around the north Pacific through the US, Canada, Alaska, and some even Russia. Outside of these bays the whale calves were born in, most vessels aren't looking for whales, are much larger, and traveling at greater speeds. The calves, who have so far known boats to be a positive and safe experience, only need to make the mistake of approaching another boat once for it to be a fatal incident.
To see National Geographic do a story on this and call it "Where it's Ok to Pet Whales" is as misleading as it is disappointing. It is the habituation of wild animals that is putting their safety, as well as our own, at great risk.