Multiple whale sightings near Surf City and along Topsail Island have been reported recently, according to island officials.
The most recent sighting occurred at 8:55 a.m. Friday morning when a whale was spotted near the 1900 block of South Shore Drive heading North, according to Allan Libby, the public information officer with the Town of Surf City.
James Hoover, a local fisherman, saw the large mammal swimming off shore near the first access on North Topsail Beach but didn’t know quite what to make of the sight.
“I saw it yesterday probably about lunchtime or just at 12 o’clock. I saw just one of them about two miles south of where we’re at now,” Hoover said Friday.
Hoover was out fishing for Whiting and Pufferfish when he caught sight of a whale, which was a first time experience for him.
“I had no idea what I saw, I told (my buddy) ‘Look I think that was a whale out there if I ain’t crazy.’ I just seen the back come up and I seen water shoot up, that’s what made me think it was a whale maybe,” Hoover said. “I thought it was pretty exciting, you know, if that’s what I saw. I stopped fishing and kind of just looking but I never saw anymore after that.”
The Town of Surf City has been receiving reports of the whale’s movements over the past four to six weeks.
Residents and animal lovers are taking to social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram to share their experience and inform others who’d like to catch a glimpse.
“What I know is what I see here. In the last four to six weeks there seems to be an above normal amount of dolphin and whale activity this year, especially in the early morning,” Libby said.
Libby has been working with the Town of Surf City for the past eight years and during that time he has observed nine different whale sightings.
Five of those sightings have been in the last two and a half weeks.
And while the species of whale is unknown at this time, Libby suspects the whales are following schools of fish to warmer waters as the weather cools off.
To stay updated on recent whale activity, follow the Town of Surf City social media at Facebook.com/SurfCityNC.