A young humpback whale got a little lost this weekend when it wandered into Ventura Harbor, where it swam for hours.
The creature delighted visitors — even surfacing near the pier to say hello — and drew the Coast Guard, National Park Service and volunteers who tried to lure it back to sea.
Authorities unsuccessfully tried to guide the whale back to the open ocean by blocking its path with boats and banging on pipes. The 40-foot-long juvenile was able to find its way out of the harbor by Sunday, thanks to rescuers who played a continuous loop of humpback whale feeding sounds underwater near the harbor’s exit point.
Ventura Harbormaster John Higgins told The Associated Press that to his knowledge, it was the first whale to visit the harbor.
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“We’ve had California gray whales just peek into the harbor as they’re going up and down the coast,” Higgins said. “But none have ever gone into the harbor.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.