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Gray Whale Cruising around San Diego Bay

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Photo from m_uhlig via Flickr.

Gray Whales in San Diego Bay? Around 7:30am on Monday morning, a fisherman noticed a peculiar gray whale hanging around the waters near Shelter Island. The fisherman notified the U.S. Coast Guard, and the gray whale is still swimming around, to many local onlookers’ pleasure.

The gray whale has been providing rare up-close sights of himself to sight-seers all around, and he is even visible from the shore. Coast Guard officials and the federal maritime agency wish to maintain the whale’s safety, and they have asked boaters to stay at least 100 yards away from the whale so that she can move and roam freely.

Last spring, the 30 ft gray whale nicknamed Diego seemed to enjoy the San Diego Bay so much that it stayed around for about 3 weeks. His presence became a huge tourist attraction and sight-seers and tour groups were very excited to see him. About 20,000 gray whales pass through San Diego as they make their way between Baja and Alaska in late winter and spring.

Gray whales can grow to be about 52 ft long, weigh 36 tons, and live 50 to 60 years. These mammals were once hunted to almost nonexistence, but now there are 2 populations of gray whales: one in the Pacific Ocean and the other just north of Japan between the Sea of Okhotsk and south Korea. Gray whales were once called the devil fish because of their aggressive behavior when hunted. The gray whale is a dark gray shade with a gray-ish white spotted pattern, which are scars left by parasites that have fallen off due to the cold feeding grounds. Gray whales were granted protection from commercial hunting by the International Whaling Commission in 1949, and they have not been hunted on a large scale since.

Boat tours and whale watching have risen since the arrival of the gray whale, some of which include the San Diego Boat Tours, San Diego Harbor Excursion, and San Diego Whale Watching Tours, which donates 4% of their profits to conservation.

You can watch a video on the San Diego Bay gray whale here.

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