Laura and Rich Howard are used to snapping pictures of sea life, but nothing prepared them for the first images they caught on their brand new camcorder.
The two were touring the Sea of Cortez, an oasis of bright blue water and wildlife sandwiched between the California coast and Mexico. They had just ended an underwater dive, when the view above water got interesting.
"We see these very large dorsal fins, the ones on the top, start cutting up above the water. The dorsal fins are taller than the T-top on our boat," Laura said Wednesday.
It was a pack of about 20 killer whales.
"There were some that were surfing, and then there were others that were just kind of riding along on the sides," Rich Howard explained.
Their captain powered the boat to full speed. The entire crew was captivated by the one-of-a-kind wonder riding the waves just behind them.
"It was just like puppy dogs. Very playful, they were just having a good time," Rich said.
Laura Howard hung off the back of the boat. Her camera was just feet from the massive creatures.
"They would come up to get a breath and with my little camera, every time they'd take a breath through their blow hole at the top, it would spray me in the face! You can see the camera get wet. I thought, 'I just got blown on, sneezed on by a killer whale!" she laughed.
It's footage the Howards will treasure for a lifetime.
"There's this magnificent, intelligent creature, and we're sharing this moment. And I really, truly believe that the whales were having as much fun as we were having fun," Laura smiled.
The Howards run a marine photography business as a hobby. To see more footage of their whale watch and other adventures, visit www.oceansofimages.com.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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