Beachgoers were treated to a rare up close and personal sighting of a 15 foot juvenile gray whale Monday afternoon, when the little guy found his way (or her way?) under the bridge to the Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad. Sightings were first reported around 2 p.m., prompting Carlsbad public safety officials to call in whale experts from Sea World and set up traffic and security patrols around the lagoon inlet to ensure the safety of all mammals in the area, human and whale alike.
“We got reports of people trying to swim with the whale,” said City of Carlsbad Fire Chief Mike Davis. “It may be small by whale standards but you’re still talking about a 2,000 pound sea creature. One flip of the tail could easily incapacitate a curious swimmer.”
Police officers set up traffic controls around the bridge and urged onlookers to keep an eye out for distracted drivers and pedestrians.
Sea World officials said the whale did not appear to be in distress and should be left alone to explore, rest and do whatever else whales do. Mostly the whale cruised around just east of the bridge, giving people along Carlsbad Boulevard and nearby trail an impromptu nature show met with oohs and ahhhs, along with lots of questions. "Where's it's mother?" "Is it okay?" "Why is it here?"
Alas, before these questions could be answered, around 4 p.m. with one final spray out the blowhole, the whale dipped once again under the bridge and headed back out to sea, leaving the small crowd with only their memories (and iphone videos).