Gray whale pays a visit to Newport Beach

A gray whale stopped to have a meal just beyond the surf line along the Balboa Peninsula on Wednesday before continuing on its northward migration.

Ryan Lawler, who owns Newport Coastal Adventure, saw the whale while on his boat. It was rolling around the sandy ocean bottom, likely to relieve itching, Lawler said.

The whale also took time during its brief stay to feed on plankton, Lawler said.

California gray whales are known to have the longest migration of any mammal, typically traveling 10,000 to 12,000 miles a year round-trip between chilly Alaskan waters and warmer Baja California, where they breed.

The whales typically migrate south in the fall and start the northern migration in February and March.

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