As part of ongoing research, a boat of experts was recently exploring the waters off the coast of New York.
The researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society Ocean Giants Team were about 60 miles off the coast when they spotted a duo of humpbacks. That’s when things got exciting.
One of the humpback whales approached the boat and paid the researchers an up-close visit, according to an Oct. 26 news release from the society.
“I have conducted research on whales all over the world for more than 30 years, and these types of experiences don’t happen all that frequently,” Howard Rosenbaum, director of the society’s Ocean Giants Program, said in the release. “When this humpback whale came right up to our boat and swam around and under it, the whole team was able to have such a unique experience that will inspire our efforts for years to come.”
The creature swam around the boat for several minutes, according to a Facebook post from the organization.
A video shows the “incredible encounter” with the “curious” whale.
“A truly awe-inspiring experience, one that we will always remember,” Rosenbaum said in the release. “To have this encounter with one of the largest animals on the planet right here off New York is amazing.”
The New York Bight — the waterway between Cape May, New Jersey, and Montauk, New York — is visited often by several whale species, including humpbacks, fin whales, minke whales and North Atlantic right whales, according to WCS experts.
Humpbacks are among the largest animals in the world and can weigh up to 40 tons and reach lengths of about 60 feet, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.