Mike Leonard and his family were fishing just a few feet from the migrating whales last week when one popped up out of the water, capturing prey in its massive mouth.
Fishermen just a few hundred yards off the coast of the Queens borough in New York City were surprised by a humpback whale. (Image via WNBC video screenshot)
“It was literally like five feet away,” Leonard told WNBC-TV. “It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in life. It was pretty cool actually. The big 40-footer went underneath our boat, and our boat rocked a little bit."
Other locals have spotted the whales for the last few weeks as well:
Danny McFadden told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones: ”I’ve been here since 1980. I’ve never seen a whale alive on the beach, and every day you come down here around 4 o’clock or 9 in the morning, and you’ll see them breaching, jumping out of the water.”
“And then all of a sudden, this great big one would come all the way up,” a woman told Jones. “He’d open his mouth and slam it shut, and you’d see all the water spurt out. And then he’d flop back in again. It was amazing.”
While somewhat rare to see the whales so close to the coast, marine scientist Caterina Panzeca told the station the whales are searching for food as they migrate south to the Caribbean.
Watch the stunning footage taken by Leonard courtesy of WNBC's report:
(H/T: Yahoo News)