Beluga Whale Off San Diego

Beluga Whale Off San Diego

Last week, whale watchers caught the glimpse of a lifetime, a beluga whale swimming through San Diego's waters.

The rare sighting was captured about seven miles off the coast on Friday. Beluga whales are native to Arctic waters and while they do swim south during the summer months, San Diego is still considered a long way off for the animal.

Gone Whale Watching owner Domenic Biagini captured the amazing find via drone video.

"Imagine if you were going outside to take your dog for a walk and you saw a polar bear," Biagini said. "It doesn't make any sense at all. I saw it with my own eyes and I'm still not sure I believe it."

He said he was contacted by his colleagues Lisa LaPointe and Chris Faist, who first alerted him to the discovery. He told his passengers they were going to meet up to help investigate, not knowing what to expect.

But once they located the animal, "I knew immediately that it was a beluga whale, which is insane," Biagini said.

The whale is thousands of miles away from its typical habitat range. But it's unclear how it ended up this far south from the Arctic.

Biagini says it doesn't appear to have been in captivity because of its shyness to boats and yellow diatom patches that signal it lives in extremely cold waters.

He says the furthest south a beluga whale has traveled along the west coast is unofficially northern Washington state. According to the San Diego Surfriders, the last known official southernmost sighting was in 2018, when a wayward beluga whale was spotted in the United Kingdom's River Thames in 2018.