At first he thought it must have been a wave.
Troy Bickle, 25, told The Baltimore Sun that he, his brother and his father were on a fishing pier Friday in Ocean City, Maryland, when they noticed what appeared to be “ripples” in the water.
“They were coming straight to the pier,” he said.
But it was much more than just a powerful current. As it got closer, the identity of that mysterious shape became clear.
It was a whale, swimming right off the coast.
"It was awesome," Bickle told Delmarva Now. "I don’t think I’ll experience something like that ever again.”
The man from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, whipped out his camera and recorded the whale, which bumped into the pier for a brief second.
“That’s a fricking whale,” someone in the video is heard saying as it approaches.
“It’s gonna hit this,” another adds.
After hitting the pier with its tail, the whale swims away.
Bickle took to Facebook to share proof of his spectacular encounter. His post on the “Ocean City Cool” page had more than 40,000 shares by 2 p.m Saturday.
"Never thought I’d see a whale this close to shore," he wrote. "He even bumped into the pier. Pretty exciting if you ask me."
Sandi Smith, marketing and development director for Maryland Coastal Bays Program, told Delmarva Now that it’s “pretty normal” to see whales in Ocean City, depending on the date.
“This time of year,” she said, “everyone is migrating.”
She added that it probably was a juvenile humpback whale.
Bickle said he’s still amazed at the chance encounter.
“It was pretty cool,” he told The Baltimore Sun. “It’s not every day that you see a whale.”