Whale Tale: Day III

A baby gray lost in San Diego Bay has gripped our attention

When I first heard a whale had been sighted in San Diego Bay, I figured it was a mistake. Could it simply be that Rush Limbaugh was in town and taking a dip off Harbor Island?

No, we’ve got an actual 30-foot juvenile California gray whale loitering in our harbor. Our little Free Willy made national newscasts. And today will be Day 3 of “Stop the presses -- we’ve got a blowhole photo op!”

As diversions go, this is a fun one. Still, we’re all concerned for Moby Jr.’s health. I wouldn’t want to spend three days in San Diego Harbor any more than test my immunity system for three days in the Mumbai sewer system. Jai Ho!

Little Rush is drawing crowds along the bay. That can’t be good for whale-watching boat excursion business. Or, for SeaWorld turnstiles. For the duration of his stay, let’s hope the Port doesn’t initiate a whale-viewing fee along Shelter Island shoreline.

Many of us who live and work near the bay are staring a little longer at the water -- hoping to catch a breach from artist Wyland’s next giant wall model. Marine biologists say it’s not healthy to herd the sea mammals out of situations like this. It stresses them out. So I’m going to stay calm throughout Whale Watch. And think positively. When Shamu’s cousin (twice removed) heads back to the safety of its open-sea family, I’ll do my best not to blubber. 

Ron Donoho, formerly executive editor of "San Diego Magazine," is a regular contributor to NBCSandiego.com who covers local news, sports, culture and happy hours.

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