Last Updated: October 17, 2022, 10:27 IST
Sighting a whale is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Most people have to buy special tickets to take a look at the massive mammal. Even then, one would often have to wait months before it is the whales’ migrating season. One can imagine how fortunate it would be if the sea mammal came up to someone on its own, completely by chance! That is precisely what happened to a father-son duo fishing off the coast of New Jersey on Wednesday. What was supposed to be a regular fishing trip ended up giving Zach and Doug Piller an exclusive look at a breaching humpback whale.
Zach and his father, Doug, were on their 18-foot starcraft, fishing for striped bass and tuna off the Jersey Shore in Belmar. Zach was recording his father reeling in a catch when the calm surface of the ocean was suddenly swarmed with fish scurrying towards the boat the two men were on. They seemed surprised enough by this happening when, to their utter shock and excitement, a humpback whale’s head broke the surface of the water.
The marine creature then started receding into the water, but not before brushing past the starcraft the father-son duo were on. The boat is seen rocking to and fro in the foamy waters due to the impact of the hit. Zach is heard exclaiming, “I got that on video”, amidst shocked and excited swearing. One can also see and hear a fishing rod reeling in the aftermath of the incident. As an amused Zach turns the camera towards his father, the older Piller is seen smiling while holding his equipment tight. “Still got my fishing rod”, he is heard saying in a calm manner. Zach posted the video on Instagram, captioning it “Epic whale footage. Hitting the side of our boat! -Original video.”
Eric Otjen, SeaWorld San Diego vice president of zoological operations, told NBC that the whale breaching near the boat was a pretty rare sight. “This whale just happened to chase bait fish right next to a boat,” he said, adding that “the feeding part is common. Being that close to the boat is not. You probably have a better chance of winning the lottery. It popped up where it popped up.”