Juvenile Gray Whale Spotted In San Diego's Mission Bay For Past Two Weeks

March 13, 2024

For two weeks now, a juvenile gray whale has been spotted swimming around San Diego's Mission Bay.

The gray whale was first spotted on the evening of February 29 and has since been seen several times around Mission Bay, most recently yesterday afternoon near the channel entrance. It is believed the whale is foraging for ghost shrimp and native crustaceans from the sea floor, while filtering sediment through its baleen plates. 

The gray whale has been spotted in the South Cove, Fiesta Bay and Mission Point areas of San Diego's Mission Bay. We reached out to representatives from the City of San Diego and SeaWorld San Diego to see if they are performing any proactive measures to help the whale get back out to the ocean but did not receive a response by the time of publishing.  

The above Instagram Reel is a compilation of videos posted by Instagram accounts @tristen.pink@lee_trader , @matthew_savino , and @tre_c ,  and originally shared by @mission.beach.sd. The Mission Bay whale is the latest in a series of unusual whale encounters that have occurred in San Diego in the past few months. 

A juvenile gray whale recently washed ashore in San Diego's La Jolla Shores community. On the afternoon of February 22, 2024, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries was alerted to a live stranded gray whale at the beach at La Jolla Shores, San Diego. The whale died that evening. The whale was estimated to be about 1–2 years old. It measured 24 feet long, and weighed about 11,000 pounds. 
On February 23, a NOAA Fisheries marine mammal stranding response team conducted a necropsy with partners from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. They confirmed the whale was a male and in poor body condition. There were no obvious signs of human impact. The team collected a full suite of biological samples for further analysis.
Last December, an enormous, 52-foot-long female, juvenile Fin whale was found dead on the beach on the border of Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. NOAA had tractors struggling to push the whale back into the ocean. The endangered fin whale had bite marks from orcas (killer whales) over its body, which may have led to its death, according to NOAA.