Pacific gray whale sightings have begun to surge off Southern California, just in time for today's official start to the whale-watching season. But marine mammal enthusiasts are still excited about a sighting logged more than a week ago by scuba divers who captured rare underwater footage of a juvenile gray whale off Shaw's Cove in Laguna Beach, Calif. (The video, filmed by Rebecca Ziegler, is posted above).
If you look closely at the footage you can see barnacles and lice—the telltale markings of a gray whale—on the young whale's head.
About 20,000 Pacific gray whales migrate each fall and winter from Arctic feeding grounds to lagoons along Baja California, where calving and nursing occurs.
The whale in the video appeared to have been curious about the bubble-blowing divers. Juvenile gray whales often travel by themselves and can be more adventurous than adult male and pregnant females, who are trying simply to reach the lagoons as quicly as possible.
Alisa Schulman-Janiger, director of the ACS-LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project at Point Vicente on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, said this could be a record December in terms of gray whale sightings.