A juvenile gray whale that ought to be in Alaska with thousands of other gray whales is instead meandering along the Southern California coast as if it were on a sightseeing adventure.
Each year, gray whales travel 10,000 to 12,000 miles round-trip, migrating from their feeding grounds off Alaska to the warm waters of Baja Mexico for calving before making a return trip.
By August, gray whales are typically back in Alaska not picking spots to visit along the Southern California Bight.
On Thursday, the juvenile gray whale was spotted in Newport Harbor in Orange County in what Taylor Thorne of Newport Coastal Adventure told the Orange County Register was an "extremely rare occurrence."
But that wasn't the only stop for this misguided gray whale, which has had quite a week already, as reported by GrindTV.
On Monday, it entered Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad in North San Diego County. About 300 people were watching it from the highway.
On Tuesday morning it was 30 miles to the north in Dana Point Harbor in a visit called "very rare" by Capt. David Anderson of Capt. Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari. Later that same day it was seen among swimmers along the beach at the Montage Laguna Beach.
And, of course, on Thursday it was about 17 miles farther north cruising in Newport Harbor.
"It's supposed to be in Alaska right now," Thorne told the Register. "And it is far from Alaska.
"I don't know what it's doing. It's just going deeper and deeper into the harbor."
The whale, though skinny, appears to be in reasonably good health, Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a gray whale researcher, told GrindTV.
"The whale seemed really relaxed and was blowing three and four times in a normal pattern," Schulman-Janiger told the Register. "It seems just like an inquisitive young whale. We get them in the harbors every summer."
The question is, will it visit every harbor during its northern migration?
If so, be on the lookout soon for the gray whale at Anaheim Bay, Alamitos Bay and the Port of Long Beach—those are other potential waypoints within the Southern California Bight for this wayward whale.
Read more about whales on GrindTV