Baby whale spotted
A 20-foot-long juvenile gray was spotted swimming in shallow waters off Belmont Shore, Long Beach, California, on Aug. 21, 2017. Above a gray whale calf is pictured popping its head out of the water in, Baja California, Mexico, March 2017. Getty Images

A baby gray whale spotted breaching in shallow waters in the bay in Long Beach, California, drew large crowds Monday.

According to reports, the calf was spotted very close to the shore Sunday and it had appeared to authorities that it had made its way back to the ocean. However, the whale was seen again on Monday at around 11 a.m. EDT, in the waters near the docked boats on the shoreline of Alamitos Bay.

The whale, which is about 18 to 20 feet long, was separated from its mother and was working its way up the West Coast, authorities said. It is believed to be the same whale that was spotted in Baja California a few weeks ago, and then again in Dana Point, Newport Beach Harbor, and Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, California.

Many onlookers captured videos of the young whale in which the mammal can be seen circling under kayaks and gondolas near the 2nd street bridge.

On Sunday it was spotted at Long Beach oceanfront, a popular swimming area, by many people who were taking a dip in the water. One of the witnesses, Oscar Butao, said he saw the whale with a big hump and barnacles come up from where he had been swimming before. "Crazy! Amazing. I'm like, 'Why is there a whale here?'" he told NBC Los Angeles. An aerial video that showed beachgoers flocking to see the whale near the shore was posted on YouTube.

According to the Orange County Register, authorities were hoping that the whale finds its way back to the sea. Crews followed the whale around Monday but kept their distance while trying to push it to leave the harbor. Long Beach Marine Safety Chief Gonzalo Medina said: “We take a very kind of delicate approach with it. We don’t want to scare it.”

He added that people should not go very close to the mammal. “We’re really just trying to not agitate the whale and let it find its way out of the marina,” he said.

Peter Wellerstein, director of the Marine Animal Rescue project in Los Angeles County, told NBC the whale looked emaciated and very skinny, with its ribs showing.

"It's not in good shape," he said. "There is not much we can do but try to herd it out or get it going in the right direction, but we don't want to be too invasive with it."

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife was co-coordinating with local authorities and marine mammal experts to try to get the whale back into the ocean safely, stated Medina.

An aerial video of what is believed to be the same whale was captured by local wildlife photographer Mark Girardeau when it was swimming close to the shore at Laguna Beach, Orange County, California. In the video, the whale is seen swimming near snorkelers and a woman on an alligator raft. In his Facebook post, Girardeau wrote the whale swam stealthily in the waters, "completely unrecognized by nearby swimmers."

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