Close call with gray whales off San Diego coast

Speedboat nearly hits whales
Posted at 11:44 PM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-24 13:17:17-05

(KGTV) - Whale watchers are thankful for an up-close encounter off San Diego’s coast, but worried this one was the result of a near miss.

A San Diego Whale Watch tour was observing a gray whale and her calf near Mission Beach Tuesday when a speedboat passed over the pair of whales, according to those on SDWW’s vessel.

Witnesses say the calf became separated from its mother in the confusion.

“It was actually really kind of frightening to see the calf so far from its mother,” said Cristin Kelly, a captain for SDWW, “the mother was swimming around looking for it not able to find it for several minutes.”

Kelly says the calf hid under the boat until its mother came back, then the pair of whales swam off together.

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, large marine animals must be observed from a distance of at least 100 feet.

Violators of the MMPA can face a $10,000 fine plus other civil monetary penalties and up to 1-year in prison.