Gray whale still hanging out in San Diego Bay
A gray whale taking a break from its annual migration spent another day cruising around San Diego Bay Tuesday, providing nature-lovers with some rare up-close glimpses of a marine giant usually spotted only in the open ocean.
The cetacean has been in the harbor at least since the beginning of the work week. About 7:30 Monday morning, a fisherman notified the U.S. Coast Guard that he’d just seen the looming sea mammal breaching near Shelter Island.
The federal maritime agency urged boaters to heed the whale’s safety and well-being as well as their own by staying at least 100 yards away as the leviathan wanders through the bay.
Gray whales, which grow to about 45 feet and live 50 to 60 years, were once nearly hunted out of existence. But two populations now live in the Pacific, with about 20,000 now migrating between Alaska and Baja California. A 2007 study based on DNA taken from 42 whales suggested a pre-whaling population of 76,000-118,000.
The other, smaller population is believed to move between the Sea of Okhotsk, just north of Japan, and southern Korea.
Last spring, a 30-foot gray whale made San Diego Bay its home for more than three weeks, eventually gaining the nickname “Diego” and becoming a tourist attraction before finally disappearing back into the sea.