A pair of whales, first spotted early Monday morning in San Diego Bay, is still hanging around Tuesday and was captured on camera grabbing the attention of boaters and whale watchers along the shore.
“Oh! He just spouted!” shouted Sandra Hembera. She was near the pier around 10 a.m. and was amazed at the vantage point she had.
She was one of about a dozen people watching for the whales Tuesday morning at the fishing pier on Shelter Island.
“This is just awesome. Kids should be out here. Parents should be bringing their kids out here. This is just a really neat thing,” she said.
One whale was spotted and reported to the Coast Guard at 7:40 a.m.Monday by a fisherman on Shelter Island who said he saw a gray whale in the area.
Boaters were issued a warning by the Coast Guard to stay at least 100 yards away from the whales swimming close to shore in San Diego. It isn't clear what exactly the whales are doing here, but they do seem to be enjoying their stay.
"We are just out here cruising today and someone told us there was a whale out here, and so we said, 'No way,' " said Shirley, a Phoenix resident. "Well, there is, and he is just out here in the water, and he is just jumping and playing and showing off. What a treat."
Originally, it appeared that there was only one whale, but later in the day, officials said that, in fact, there were two of the marine mammals, possibly a mother and her calf, in the bay.
If that's the case, it's not unexpected this time of year to spot a cow and calf close to California's shoreline. The northbound migration is typically very close to the shore to give some protection to the newborns.
Wayne Perryman is one of the marine mammal biologists counting pairs of cows and calves in San Simeon through the end of May.
"We think they migrate that close to shore, to avoid killer whales," Perryman said. "The noise of the surf masks the sounds of their breathing."
He said it's unusual that the pair would be traveling so close to the Channel Islands but believes the whales simply made a wrong turn into San Diego Bay. “Sounds like they were just going along and made a turn and there they are,” said Perryman.
The U.S. Coast Guard is collecting reports of sightings and passing them along to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
If you snap an image of the whales, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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