It might be a fishing trip of a lifetime for one Baldwin County man. James West spotted a sperm whale near Mobile Bay, not a place the salt water mammal is usually found, although they are world travelers.
West was fishing with his uncle, south of Weeks Bay when he came across the whale.
In a video he recorded, West said, "We're in about 6ft of water and there literally is a gigantic whale out here."
He couldn't believe his eyes!
"We just saw something out in the distance, a couple humps, a lot of birds and we thought it was dolphins first of all and thought 'man this is crazy. It's still there. It's not moving' and we got closer and when it sprayed, I realized it was a whale," said West.
West said his boat is about 20 ft and the whale seemed twice as long.
He kept an eye on it, making sure no other boaters hit it and called fish and wildlife officials who came, just in the nick of time.
West said, "It was really thin, had lost a lot of weight and it was going to beach itself to die, basically."
Crews watched the whale through the night. It's unclear how it ended up in the bay.
West said through laughter, "To actually be one to discover a whale in Mobile Bay, this has to be something that's never happened before. Turns out, nobody has any history...everybody's like 'this man's lying."
A team with the Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network and NOAA are said to be monitoring the whale. If you ever see a whale stranded (live or carcasses), call 1-877-WHALE-HELP (877-942-5343).
For stranded manatees (live or carcasses) call 1-866- 493-5803. You can also report manatee sightings to DISL’s Manatee Sighting Network at manatee.disl.org.