03/08/2012 01:37 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Whale Sighting In San Francisco Bay: Gray Whale And Calf Breach Off Crissy Field (VIDEO)

Marinagoers took in a rare sight on Wednesday afternoon when a full-grown gray whale and her calf breached just off Crissy Field in the San Francisco Bay.

According to ABC, witnesses first saw the sprays around 12:30 p.m. near the Marina Green. "I have never seen one in the bay before," said witness Juliana Beach to ABC. "I've seen them off Ocean Beach, but I've never seen them in the bay."


According to witnesses, a boater chased the whales hoping to get a closer look -- a huge faux pas and an illegal move.

"It's especially critical that they not be harassed or approached too closely," said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokeswoman Mary Jane Schramm to CBS. "Because that could result in the calf being separated from its mother. And if they are not reunited, that calf will die."

Approaching a whale could also result in a hefty fine, as the Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits vessels from coming within 300 feet of one.

According to NOAA, it's not unusual or unsafe for whales to enter the Bay during migration. However, it is essential that they not be become lost or confused due to human intervention.

Last summer, a mother whale died after getting stuck in the Klamath River with her calf. The pair garnered extensive media attention and delighted onlookers for weeks. But when weeks turned to months, her health began to wane.

"It's very sad," said Yurok Tribe Chairman Thomas O'Rourke, whose tribe owned the section of river. "It started to become a part of the community."

Watch CBS's video for more about the whale sightings in the San Francisco Bay in the video below: