SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - On Tuesday, a gray whale calf put on quite a show out in the water to the delight of many onlookers, but marine wildlife experts are worried about it, because it's all alone.
Sightseers can't help but think the baby whale swimming all alone is in trouble.
"I would think so. It's very small. I'm amazed he's not with his mother," one man said.
Captain Manny Moreno with RealitySailing.org helped us track the little guy's progress.
"It's so exciting to see such an encounter," he said.
Only 10 or 12 feet long, the infant with no barnacles on its back could be just a few weeks old.
Sightseer Jeanette Moss is one of many San Diegans worried about the whale.
"Yes, he's a baby and he's skinny. I think SeaWorld or somebody needs to rescue him," she said.
"If it comes on shore then there's a possibility, but that's a pretty involved process," Dr. Ann Bowles of the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute said.
Bowles says it's possible the mother abandoned her baby intentionally.
"If your calf isn't behaving normally… you swim or die, there's just no two choices, and if they can't keep up, there's nothing you can really do," she said.
Bowles is hoping for a quick reunion, but says it's also possible the mother was struck by a boat.
"The mother may have had some kind of accident or problem," she said.
In either case, the public's concern is growing.
"If it's separated from its mom, how are you going to reconnect it, you know what I mean?" a sightseer said.
Bowles says nature has a way of solving its own problems, and she's hoping that's the case here.
"It may be that the mother is somewhere fairly close by and she'll find him eventually, but if she doesn't, it's going to be tough for this little guy to survive. They depend on mother's milk for about seven to eight months, and when they migrate south, the whales don't eat very much at all," Bowles said.
Bowles says at this age without the mother's milk, the baby whale may only survive a month or two.