• Rare gray whale sighting caught off Redondo Beach

    By: Joanna Small

    Updated:

    Incredible video of an unbelievable sight— Wednesday morning two scuba divers shot video of a gray whale in the South Sound.  They spotted it just feet off the shore of Redondo Beach.

    Gray whales don’t usually travel this far south unless it's spring and they are just passing through from Alaska on their way to Mexico.  But even then the same 11 whales are typically seen north of Seattle near Everett, so experts say what these guys saw today is almost unprecedented.

    "Right there you can see him and then I get squirrely trying to move around and get him in there,” says Chris Vosse, as he shows us the video he shot underwater with a GoPro. 

    We can forgive his shaky camera-work. Chris and dive partner Chanon Hiatt witnessed what's likely a once-in-a lifetime sighting just 15 feet below the Sound’s surface.

    "This is my 625th dive and I've never seen anything like this -- whale, especially there! Nothing in my life; it's just amazing,” Chanon Hiatt, who is deaf, tells us through an interpreter.

    The pair were on their way back to Redondo Beach when the whale got within feet of Chanon. Even though he doesn’t speak, he uses sign language to say words can't describe the experience anyway.

    "We've never seen anything like that.  I can't explain how I feel,” Chanon signs.

    Pacific Whale Watch Association Executive Director Michael Harris was practically speechless too.  When we told him about the sighting, he said he had to see the video, so we showed him, and he confirmed it is a gray whale, and it is unbelievable here and at this time of year.  Harris says the animal could be malnourished or just lost on his way to Mexico. Harris says gray whales make the longest migration of any animal Earth -- 12,000 miles from Alaska to the Gulf of California. He hopes this one gets back on track.

     "My guess is you just have a wrong way whale -- one of the 18,000 that took a wrong turn and headed into the inland sea,” explains Harris.

    The guys are just thankful they caught the incredible encounter on camera.

    "There's a saying ‘you saw this but if you don't have the picture’”-- well, then it's just a whale of a tale.

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