PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (FOX 35 Orlando) - Incredible video was recorded showing a beautiful northern right whale and its calf checking out some men fishing about eight to 10 miles off of Port Canaveral, Florida. Rob Royston and his friend were totally unaware that the whale was swimming under their boat.
“We got about eight, nine miles out. We saw a swirl, so we decided to stop and check it out, thought maybe there was some fish in the area, so we stopped," said Royston, of Kissimmee. "We started to tie knots, and about 30 feet away from us, the momma whale pops up!”
He couldn’t take his eyes or his phone away.
“We heard the whale at first so we look up and we all pulled out phones out. Within 30 seconds, the calf was right up on our boat, and it was going back and forth just checking us out.”
We asked if Royston was scared.
“Oh yeah, my heart was pounding. I didn't know what was going to happen. We saw the mom. We knew how big it was but we couldn't see her after the calf started playing with the boat.”
No sooner did they show up, than they swam away.
“Once in a lifetime. I can't explain. My heart was pounding. It was so exciting. My wife was super jealous, because she didn't get a chance to be out there. She had to work that day, but nevertheless, she gets to live through it with the videos."
Right whales typically migrate from the North Atlantic to give birth off the coasts of Georgia and Florida from December through March.
The federal government just announced that it is extending the duration of a protected area off of Massachusetts to try to keep endangered right whales safe.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has identified a large group of North Atlantic right whales south of Nantucket.
It has been asking mariners to transit the area at 10 knots or less, or to simply travel around the area, through Wednesday. But NOAA said Tuesday an aggregation of 20 of the whales was seen on Jan. 27, so the management area will be extended until Feb. 11.
Right whales are one of the most endangered marine mammals. They are believed to number no more than 411. Entanglements in fishing gear and ship strikes are hazards for the whales.
Some information taken from the Associated Press.