At first, he thought it was a sea turtle.
Then, upon closer inspection, he was sure that what he was witnessing was a baby whale.
In the end, he said, it was nothing more than a sunfish, flapping its fin as it swam near the surface of the water in Boston Harbor.
But for Michael Bergin it didn’t matter what the creature was — it was the craziest thing he had ever seen in his entire life.
In a now-viral Facebook video posted by Bergin last week, the 41-year-old Malden resident lets off a tirade of expletives as he and a friend come across what he describes as a “seven-foot, 800-pound” fish floating in the greyish water.
The video had been viewed more than 250,000 times as of Wednesday morning, and grabbed the attention of radio stations as far away as Atlanta.
Taken aback by his sudden Internet fame, Bergin said Tuesday in a telephone interview that his over-the-top reaction — it’s replete with a quintessential Boston accent and a string of profanities — to seeing the large fish was completely authentic.
“I ain’t seen nothing like that in my entire life, bro. I ain’t even been to the Aquarium,” Bergin said. “When I see something like that, I’m amazed, bro. It’s like seeing a gorilla for the first time, man.”
Bergin said his excitement about the fish came shortly after he hit the waters with long-time Malden friend Jason Foster last Friday.
The pair launched Foster’s boat from the Charlestown Navy Yard before they found themselves cruising the ocean near the Graves Light Station, Foster said.
It was then that they encountered the fish’s fin protruding from the ocean’s surface. It immediately grabbed Bergin’s attention.
“We are witnessing a baby [expletive deleted] whale right here, dude,” Bergin screams in the video, holding the camera above the fish. “That thing is big!”
Bergin calls the fish “Moby Dick,” and gets excited that his ocean find could land him on the news. The video continues for just over five minutes and is laced with swears.
“I don’t know, man. I went nuts. We didn’t know what the hell it was,” Bergin said. “It was scaring me to death, it was like a dinosaur. It was so ... ugly.”
Foster, who has been fishing since he was 17, wasn’t as excited about the discovery, but, like others, found humor in his friend’s explicit reaction.
“That’s how he talks all the time. All he does is swear. He’s nuts,” Foster said. “He was just spazzing out, and I’m just dying laughing.”
Foster said the pair tried to hook the fish and bring it on board, but in the end they contacted the Coast Guard to let them know what they had found.
Unabashed and unapologetic, Bergin said he doesn’t go out on the ocean much, so he will be sharing the “ugly” fish encounter video with people in his neighborhood.
“Now I have the biggest fish story for life, kid,” he said.
He’s also basking in his instant online fame, all thanks to a fish.
“It’s going viral all over the computer, bro,” Bergin said. “It feels a little good. I can’t believe it’s going viral like this, but I promise you, buddy, that video is so real you wouldn’t even know.”Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.