Whales off Calif. coast draw crowds, warning

November 2, 2011 - 2:45 PM
Whale Watch Warning

FILE - In this Oct. 25, 2011 photo provided by the Santa Cruz Conference and Visitors Council, kayaker Alan Brady is surprised by two breaching humpback whales while kayaking off the coast of Seabright State Beach in Santa Cruz, Calif. The U.S. Coast Guard is warning people to stay away from a pod of whales that has settled unusually close to the shore off Santa Cruz or face fines for whale harassment of at least $2,500. The agency plans to monitor the waters on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Santa Cruz Conference and Visitors Council , Paul Schraub, file)

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard is warning people to stay away from a pod of whales that has settled unusually close to the shore in Northern California.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/ujST4A) the humpback whales have settled near the shore off Santa Cruz and pose safety concerns for kayakers and boaters.

Each whale measures about the length of a school bus.

The National Marine Sanctuary says no one has been hurt so far, but a sailboat was damaged this week when it struck one of the mammals.

The Coast Guard says people must stay at least 100 yards from the whales or face fines for whale harassment of at least $2,500. The agency planned to monitor the waters Wednesday.

Biologists say the whales have come closer to shore, settling in about a mile from land, in search of food.

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com