A whale was spotted Monday morning off the coast of Shelter Island, enjoying a sun-filled swim in the shallow waters.
The whale was spotted by the NBC 7 news chopper in the bay east of Point Loma. Whale sightings so close to shore are uncommon.
The animal appears to be a gray whale, according to marine biologists at Birch Aquarium.
Gray whales are in abundance off San Diego’s coastline this time of year, marking the peak in whale watching season.
Humpback whales, on the other hand, migrate to the warm waters of Hawaii in December, though experts told NBC News last month that the animals were slow to head to the islands this year.
Experts said the whales' absence could just mean they're spending more time feeding in northern waters, possibly because of El Nino disruptions or because their population has gone up.