PHOTO: Whales Put On Show For Fishing Boat Out Of Atlantic Beach

The folks on a fishing boat off our coast got a rare, first-hand look at migrating whales last week.

About 20 people were onboard the Captain Stacy out of Atlantic Beach November 23 about 2:30 p.m. when they spotted the whales. The boat was about 28 miles offshore.

The captain, Maurice Davis Jr., said they spotted three whales and estimates the lengths at 40 to 50 feet. He told WITN the whale in the photo jumped at least 17 times while they watched.

According to the North Carolina Aquarium, eight of the ten “great” whales have been reported in our coastal waters. Whales are classified as great if they reach lengths of 30 feet or more.

The humpback is included in this classification. Captain Davis said it appeared that the whale in the photo was a humpback, and it feeds on fish like shad and menhaden.

Several humpbacks have been spotted off our coast over the years, in December and January as they head south to warm waters to breed or give birth or in March and April as they move northward again.