Whale makes detour in Marina del Rey

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. The 20-foot gray whale has been cruising the marina for about a week. It has been heading out into the Pacific Ocean to feed then, returning to the harbor.

The /*California gray whale*/ is en route to northern Alaska from Baja, Mexico. Marine biologists say the straggler is probably just pacing itself, taking its time heading north.

Experts say whales tend to like the shallow water because they can scrape barnacles off their bellies.

Word of the whales detour has attracted many residents to the marina.

"I love animals, I'm big into the environment so, you know, it's thrilling to see something like that," said whale-watcher Joe Dochterman. "And whenever you see such an awesome creature like that you can kind of feel the power that it conveys, which is awesome."

"A lot of excitement, a lot of excitement," said Marina del Rey resident Warren Richard. "It appeared to be a small whale and the kids were fascinated. Everybody was fascinated, everybody came."

A representative for the Marine Animal Rescue is warning boaters to watch out for the whale and to not get too close. He says it would be easy for the whale to get hurt, adding that it's a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Violators could face fines up to $10,000 and jail time.

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