SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Just a few miles off La Jolla Shores, a local outrigger spotted a humpback whale and recorded the entire encounter.
Doug Hogan captured the video on the morning of Valentine's Day and shared the footage with CBS 8 (watch the raw video above).
"I thought it was a gray whale because I saw it from about a half mile,” said Hogan.
But as Hogan paddled closer on his one man outrigger, he knew this was something special.
"But the humpback jumping and breaching and the long fins and slapping in the water was totally different behavior than the gray,” he explained.
The humpback whale was seen about three miles off of La Jolla Shores, and unlike gray whales that Hogan has seen in the past, this one stuck around.
"The humpbacks hang around and jump and leap and play. So it was a pretty spectacular opportunity to take the shots I got,” Hogan added. "You just hope, you hope it's going to do that and you hope you get a good shot and you hope when you get back to shore you actually get something."
Unlike gray whales, humpback whales are seen year-round, but they're not as common. Experts at the Birch Aquarium said 435 gray whales have been spotted off the San Diego coast since mid-December – compare that to just 14 humpback whales.
"It was really neat, I grew up watching Jacques Cousteau so I think anyone who grew up watching Jacques Cousteau always wanted to be that kid or that diver,” said Hogan. "So that was like my Jacques Cousteau moment. Just to be there, hanging there, not interfering with it, just letting it do what it does and film it, and share it with friends and family.”
Hogan is out in the water about once a week and for him this experience ranks right near the top. He adds that for anyone who lives in San Diego, “this is one heck of a backyard. You can look at the ocean, you think it's just flat and nothing going on there. If you really know how to appreciate it, it can be a forest."