Gray whales live in the North Pacific, and once also lived in the North Atlantic, but appear to have been driven to extinction by the 18th century. A gray whale hasn't been spotted in the Atlantic basin for nearly 300 years, until three years ago when in May 2010, a gray whale was spotted off the coast of Israel. In July 2010, that same whale was spotted off the coast of Spain. Until now, gray whales had never been found in the Southern Hemisphere.
Four tour boats on dolphin-spotting cruises near Namibia's Walvis Bay spotted an unusual whale. Just eight days later, John Paterson of the Albatross Task Force confirmed that the lone whale was a gray whale -- the first ever recorded south of the equator.
Comparing photographs with the whale spotted nearly Israel and Spain in 2010 confirm that the whale found in the Southern Hemisphere was not the same whale. Scientists are now trying to determine the origins of the whale.
It is possible that the whale swam south past Baja California, rounded the tip of South America and across the Atlantic, but it seems unlikely as the whale would have to travel a large distance against currents, through open ocean, from west to east. Gray whales typically do not do any of that.