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Whale spotted near Naples Pier by crab fisherman

Crabber sees whale near Naples Pier
Crabber sees whale near Naples Pier
Posted at 1:11 AM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-23 06:46:02-05

When people go to Naples Pier, they expect to see wildlife like birds and even dolphins. However, one local crabber saw something different in the water when he was out on his boat early Monday. 

Dennis Canfield was on his boat, tending his nets when he noticed something large making waves in the water. 

"Once I got a good look at what was making the big hole in the water, I knew it wasn't a bunch of fish, it was a whale", he told Four In Your Corner.

The photos appear to show a North Atlantic Right Whale.  The endangered species commonly appears off the east coast of Florida in the winter to give birth, but they are not often seen in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dennis estimated its size as about 35 feet long and 12 feet wide.

Last week there was a Right Whale sighting off Panama City Beach.

When we spoke with Dennis, he was still surprised at what he saw. He's lived in Naples all his life and had only seen a whale twice, The first time was while he was a child, and he hadn't gotten as close as he did to the whale he saw Monday morning. 

"It was very close, it was almost swimming distance... maybe 12, 15 feet of water."

Canfield called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He says they told him the whale most likely migrated into the area from cold water to give birth.

For Canfield, the experience was a memorable one.  "It definitely made the day better. They say a moment like that brings you closer to God."

UPDATE: A fishing charter company out of Naples also spotted the whale.  They posted this video to Facebook Monday: