NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A previously endangered species recently made its way toward the shore of North Myrtle Beach, wowing spectators along the beach.
"Everyone was just in awe of this amazing creature that was just a couple hundred yards out," said Kensey Klaasmeyer, who captured a whale on camera from her balcony.
Klaasmeyer was looking out the window around 3 p.m. Monday when she noticed something unusual swimming in the water.
"I just see this giant back of something and I knew it wasn't a shark, I knew it couldn't have been a dolphin, so I was like that must be a whale," she said. "It was the most crazy thing I've ever seen."
Coastal Carolina University Professor Dr. Rob Young identified the whale in the video as a humpback whale.
He said he can't tell the exact size of the whale from the video, but the whale is likely a juvenile because most adult humpback whales and their calves are breeding off the Caribbean at this time of year. Juvenile humpback whales measure about 30 feet long.
"We have several sightings a year, usually," Dr. Young said. "Somebody in one place or another just sees one. I've seen them from several of the piers here. They go by our coast twice a year."
Humpback whales are fairly common along our part of the East Coast because the whales migrate between their summer feeding grounds in New England and Canada and their winter breeding grounds in the Caribbean.
Humpback whales are protected and people must stay several hundred yards away if they see one.
"They shouldn't go chasing after it and certainly not approaching it too closely," Dr. Young said. "It's a wonderful thing to see if you get to see a whale going by and to keep a safe distance and view them there. They're magnificent animals."
Click here to view the full video of the whale.