Mike Dronkers / Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 @ 2:41 p.m. /
UPDATE 12:15PM Thursday: Still there. Slurping mud.
We're told there's a California gray whale hanging out near Houda point.
Despite it occasionally rolling near the surf, HSU Zoology professor Dawn Goley said there isn't any immediately apparent cause for concern. She spoke with your Lost Coast Outpost reporter and Humboldt Baykeeper's Jessica Hall earlier today.
"It's out there in that sandy area south of Camel Rock and I think it's doing well.
We checked to see if there was any sign of entanglement, and from what we could see with scopes, we can't really see any evidence that it's trailing fishing gear or things like that.
We look for signs of what we consider normal behavior, and today we were able to watch it surface normally, roll on its side, which is normal behavior if they're feeding, and then we saw evidence of feeding because as it resurfaced you'd see mud plumes that were left behind. Gray whales feed on these invertebrates that are embedded in the mud. They feed by taking big mouthfuls of that mud and then squishing out the mud and the water, so if you see these mud plumes around whales you're pretty sure those guys are feeding."
Goley already took some HSU students out to view it this morning, some of whom thrilled to their first whale sighting.
If you go see it, landlocked whale watching doesn't get much more convenient. Take the Westhaven exit off Northbound 101, go under the underpass, and turn right. Pull over near the overlook or in the Houda Point parking lot. People live in Westhaven and the roads are tight, so be cool if you check it out. Bring binoculars. The whale has been there for about 24 hours already.
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Thanks to KHUM caller "Ronnie" for tipping us off.