This gray whale, seen at Westward Beach, is spyhopping, or propelling itself up out of the water for a quick look-around. Photos by Suzanne Guldimann/Surfside News
A gray whale pokes its head out of the water at Westward Beach. The twin blowholes visible on the top produce a distinctive heart-shaped spout when the whale exhales a breath.
No other whale has a signature spout quite like the gray’s. That heart-shaped breath is the most conspicuous sign that a whale is nearby.
This whale was so close to shore that observers could hear it breathing.
Gray whales can grow to be 45 feet long, and weigh as much as 60,000 pounds, with tail flukes that can measure as much as 15 feet across. This whale was using its tail to propel itself through the waves.