Humpback Whale Hangs Out off Coast

"Stinky," a humpback whale who's been spotted multiple times over the past 25 years, spends a week in the South Bay.

Whale-watchers and boaters off Redondo Beach have lately spotted a humpback whale rolling around in the water near the Redondo Canyon.

The whale, identified by researchers via its tail markings as a humpback nicknamed "Stinky," first appeared off Redondo Beach the morning of Jan. 15, and was last spotted Sunday morning.

During its visit, Stinky was often closely surrounded by kayakers, people riding jet skis and stand-up paddleboarders—an action that whale researchers said could be dangerous.

Stinky is perhaps more familiar to whale-watchers in Northern California. The whale very familiar to those in Monterey Bay, and was given the name because of the odor apparently surrounding him.

"This particular whale has actually had its five minutes of fame already," said Bernardo Alps of Cabrillo Whalewatch in an email to Patch. "It is one of the humpbacks that made headlines by lunge feeding very close to kayakers off Santa Cruz in the fall of 2011."

The first recorded sighting of Stinky was off Point Arguello in 1987, and since then, there have been 23 recorded sightings in 11 different locations, Alps said.

"Its sex is unknown, although the fact it was not seen with a calf in 11 years adds to my suspicion that it is a male," Alps wrote. "it also has extensive scarring over its body that is often acquired by (male) humpbacks during fights for access to females and it is relatively small; males are smaller than females in this species."

Humpback whales have been a federally protected species since the 1970s, according to NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service.

Sandy Bagley January 22, 2013 at 03:24 PM
My husband and I watched Stinky for hours from our deck on Esplanade. I was very surprised how close people got to the whale as you can see from the pictures that I posted. It was very exciting however to see so much wildlife right in front of us.
Diane Naletich January 22, 2013 at 04:08 PM
That is a GREAT video. We went out of Long Beach yesterday for the 3 pm cruise - we spent an hour with 2 whales who kept us entertained. Our boat ended up leaving them vs. the whales departing from us. Truly memorable!!
Nicole Mooradian (Editor) January 22, 2013 at 08:32 PM
Awesome photos, Sandy! NOAA guidelines say people should stay 100 yards away from whales. Clearly, these people were violating those guidelines.


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