Jersey Shore resident Brian Shea has spent decades enjoying the ocean throughout the world but he had one of his best experiences last weekend right at home.
He was paddleboarding off Long Branch in Monmouth County on Saturday when he had a close encounter with a humpback whale.
The marine mammals have been regularly spotted and photographed from the beach or boats in recent weeks.
But for Shea, armed with a GoPro, the experience was directly in front of him.
In a video posted on Facebook, he stops paddling and seconds later, a whale emerges from the water. You can hear the excitement in his voice.
“I’ve been spending most of my life in the ocean for 40-plus years and have been everywhere from Tahiti to Hawaii to California to the Caribbean, and this experience was right up there with the best of them!” he said.
“I’m so thankful we get to experience this right in our backyard.”