MARINA DEL REY — A stray gray whale has headed north after spending weeks lingering in the waters here.

Marine biologist Peter Wallerstein said Sunday that he and a county Baywatch crew watched the young California gray accompanied by about 50 bottlenose dolphins head northwest past Venice and Santa Monica.

Wallerstein says the group lost track of the whale as it swam into the deeper ocean Friday night at a quick, steady pace.

The 25-foot yearling appeared in the shallow manmade marina June 2 in a detour from its migration from Baja California to Alaska.

Last week the National Marine Fisheries Service appointed a baby sitter to watch out for the whale to protect it from curious onlookers or see if it was growing weak enough to require human intervention.

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