Last week, Captain Barry Moss was out for a typical boating day when he discovered something unexpected -- and large -- in the water.

  • Moss video recorded whale shark encounter
  • Whale shark looked at least 25 feet long
  • Mote Marine Laboratory: 12 confirmed whale shark sightings 

Moss was 20 miles off the coast of Anna Maria Island when he encountered a group of whale sharks. 

"It kept coming and coming," he said. "I was saying, 'this is bigger than my boat! This is bigger than my boat!'" 

He grabbed his camera to record what he called a breathtaking experience. The video shows the massive animal swimming only inches from Moss's boat.



The shark appears to be at least 25 feet long, gray in color, with spots along its tail. 

"As gigantic as these fish are, this gentle giant just made his way right next to me," Moss said. 

Moss added he was surprised with the reactions to his video from the local area. 

"I didn't realize the response I would be get because they are so rare, especially in the Florida area," Moss said. 

This is the second time this month that these animals have been spotted off the coast of Anna Maria Island. Mote Marine Laboratory confirms they've received about 12 reports this year of sightings from St. Pete Beach to Englewood.