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Caught on video: close encounter with a whale near Gloucester

A whale jumps out of the water off Gloucester
Watch as a whale jumps out of the water in Gloucester. (Courtesy of Doug Shatford)

Doug Shatford got an up-close view of a humpback whale jumping out of the water Wednesday near Gloucester.

His daughter, Caitlyn Shatford, shared the video footage on her Facebook page. It shows the whale leaping out of the water with so much force that a number of fish were sent flying up into the air with it.

She said the whale surfaced off the coast of Magnolia, which is a small village on the west side of Gloucester, and her father captured the video from his boat.

“He could see the fish jumping from shore, so he hopped in his boat to get a closer look,” she said.

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Doug Shatford said he shot the video off Kettle Cove Island around 5:30 p.m. and estimated that the humpback whale was three times as big as his 20-foot boat.

“What a friggin’ unbelievable thing!” he said, in a telephone interview. “It was huge, too.”

Just before it happened, “All of a sudden a ball of fish started coming toward me,” he said.

Shatford put his boat in reverse and said he wasn’t expecting the whale to jump out of the water so close to his boat.

“It kind of startled me,” he said.

Shatford said he was happy his daughter shared the video on social media so more people could see the incredible moment.

Shatford also said he recently lost his wife, Michelle, to pancreatic cancer, and he felt her presence when he had the close encounter with the whale.

“My wife . . . I think she was right there with me,” he said.


Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.