After having a whale of a time sloshing around in the mud and teasing those who would shoo him out of potentially fatal shallow water, Humphrey the humpback slipped under the Golden Gate Bridge and out to sea where he belongs.

"He was headed due west," Lance Jones, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, said Wednesday night as the fascinating but unwanted tourist ended a three-day visit in which he charmed thousands of curious spectators, but frustrated dozens of marine biologists and volunteers who tried to keep the 40-ton whale from baking in the sun or suffocating under his own weight.After meandering through San Francisco Bay, for all the world looking like he was teasing his human entourage, Humphrey headed due west into the Pacific, much to the delight of a cheering crowd on the bridge.

It was not clear if Humphrey's group - or pod - was waiting for him in open water.