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article image'Spyhopping' baby gray whale spotted off Malibu coast

By Sandy Sand     Feb 5, 2010 in Lifestyle
“Spyhopping” -- when a whale pops up vertically from the water, then sinks back down -- is one of the antics a baby gray whale is performing in and around the pier in Malibu, California.
Although California grays frequently swim by Malibu on their long treks from the warm waters of Baja, California, where they give birth, up to frigid waters of Alaska where they feed, and back again, they rarely spend any time stopping over in the shallow waters along the Malibu coast, said Joann Waugh, assistant manager of Malibu Outfitters.
"For Malibu pier specifically, it's a rare thing to see. He's putting on quite a show."
Whale watchers have been captivated by the baby’s cavorting around the pier and the deeper water a little farther off the coast, as the 20- to 30-foot animal spyhops and swims in and out from under the pier.
Waugh said mother whales may travel closer to shore than they normally would, so their babies don’t have to hold their breath as long as they would in deeper water.
She added that the mother whale has yet to be spotted.
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