Florida captain in awe during close approach by whale shark larger than boat

Florida captain in awe during close approach by whale shark larger than boat

Outdoors

Florida captain in awe during close approach by whale shark larger than boat

A Florida captain was mesmerized but also somewhat concerned during a rare whale shark encounter last Thursday, because the enormous creature “looked bigger than my boat.”

In an ABC Action News report Monday, Capt. Barry Moss also said he had turned his engine off, so as not to scare the approaching whale shark.

“Just beautiful,” Moss or a friend can be heard saying, with the creature seemingly within touching range.

Whale shark image courtesy of Barry Moss

It was one of three whale sharks spotted by Moss, who was 20 miles off Anna Maria Island, but the only shark that completed a close approach, with its mouth slightly agape while feeding.

Moss was aboard a 25-foot boat, according to the Miami Herald.

Whale sharks, the world’s largest fish species, can measure 30-plus feet and weigh 20 tons. Thankfully, the creatures are so docile that they’re often referred to as gentle giants. They roam ocean currents filter-feeding on plankton and small fish.

ABC Action News reported that whale shark activity off Anna Maria Island is unusual and has piqued the interest of scientists. Anna Maria Island is a barrier island in Manatee County on Florida’s Gulf coast.

–Whale shark image courtesy of Barry Moss

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