Barnacles! The baby whale is nicknamed "Barnita."

Photo Caroline Armon, BajaEcotours

Seeing Clues: What are barnacles?

Video Clip:
Barnacles on Gray Whales

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Photo: Keith Jones

The lumpy patches on the whale's skin are barnacles: small shell-like creatures that attach themselves in dense clusters to underwater surfaces on things like boats, rocks — and whales! Barnacles become hitchhikers for months or years!

Guide Caroline explains, "This is a calf we named 'Barnita.' She is a very friendly calf who played with four boats one day in the lagoon. Her head and part of her back are already covered in barnacles. It’s amazing how fast the barnacles grow and how the amounts vary from whale to whale."