NEW BEDFORD — Two boat captains with a local marine assistance company spotted a young whale apparently frolicking in the water just about a mile off New Bedford on Wednesday — and they captured the moment on video.

TowBoatU.S. New Bedford owner Capt. Clint Allen said his son, Capt. Casey Allen, and colleague Capt. Brian Joseph saw the Whaling City whale after making a 100-mile round trip offshore on Wednesday.

In the video taken by Casey, the animal can be seen near the harbor entrance breaching or jumping and slapping the water, apparently having a whale of a time.

"It just was frolicking around," Allen said.

Casey can be heard in the video saying the whale is likely a juvenile humpback.

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According to Allen, the two captains went out to sea at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday to deliver an electronic part to a wind farm survey vessel about 50 miles offshore — but they didn't see the whale until the afternoon, when they were nearly back to port.

It was playing in the water at Clark's Point about a mile south of Fort Rodman/Fort Taber.

Allen said most marine wildlife sightings take place on the open ocean, so seeing a whale enjoying itself so close to shore is unusual.

"It was exciting to see up close like that," he said of the video taken by his son, noting that the younger Allen is "pretty savvy" when it comes to animals.

The captains alerted Marine Fisheries authorities, who asked them if it looked entangled or distressed.

But they said it just looked like it was playing.

The pair also called the Coast Guard, which sent a VHF radio message alerting boat traffic to be aware of the animal near the harbor's entrance.

Yesterday's sighting comes just over a week after an orca was spotted off the coast of Nantucket.

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