Photo: Alejandro Torres
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It’s an unlikely sight in San Francisco Bay.
A humpback whale has been splashing around in the waters near Alameda for more than two weeks.
The much-photographed cetacean has earned herself the name “Allie” and there’s even an Alameda Allie Facebook page where people can post photos.
Experts say Allie appears to be an adult female who is in poor health.
“The whale is underweight and skin condition is poor,” said Giancarlo Rulli, a spokesperson for the Marine Mammal Center. “The whale has a moderate amount of whale lice and that’s consistent with a poorer than normal skin condition.”
Biologists at the center suspect the animal came to the bay in search of shelter from the harsh conditions of the open ocean. Humpbacks feed near the Golden Gate Bridge where the ocean waters can be rich with anchovies, but they rarely travel deep into the bay.
“The hope is the whale is gaining strength within that shelter area,” says Rulli.
Allie has many fans who are rooting for her and on Thursday morning a group gathered at Pier 3 in Alameda for a prayer circle.
Many also track her location and say hello to her daily from the shore.
“I just came back from the whale,” said Mark Klein, who is part of the group Alameda Point Harbor Seal Monitors that conducts daily seal counts. “The latest position is where the USS Hornet is docked near the row of ferries. You can go out to that wharf and usually you can just look and see where there are a bunch of people with cameras and that’s where Allie is.”
On some days, Allie has put on spectacular shows, throwing her big blubbery body into the air and then falling into the water with an epic splash.
“It’s very thrilling, especially when she breaches out of the water,” Klein said.
The Marine Mammal Center asks the public to not approach the whale.
Amy Graff is an SFGate staff writer. Email: email@example.com
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/alameda-humpback-whale-health-sightings-condition-13990076.php.