wjxt logo

Scuba diver encounters whale shark off Florida's east coast

Video captures Jax native Keith Brock face to face with 35-foot whale shark

A local scuba diver's encounter with a whale shark off Florida's east coast was caught on camera.

While the video is incredible, it also brings up a warning for families getting ready to enjoy the warm waters at the beach. 

News4Jax spoke with the certified scuba diver on Wednesday about his experience.

WATCH: Whale shark captured on video

"Off in the distance, off to our right, was what looked like a cloud -- a dark spot in the water," Keith Brock said.

It turns out that the Jacksonville native was face to face with a 35-foot whale shark -- that's about the size of an average school bus.

"It was stunning," Brock said. 

His wife captured spectacular video of the encounter during a family dive off the coast of West Palm Beach.

"I saw some cobia, which are the larger fish seen in the video swimming around the shark. They're typically found around larger predatory animals in the ocean," Brock said. "It came right at us. It had no concern that we were there in the water with it. It was amazing."

According to local shark experts, Brock's encounter with the whale shark is extremely rare, as they typically migrate through tropical waters of the Gulf Coast.

Brock said he wasn't afraid during the experience because whale sharks are docile and feed off plankton.

"It was breathtaking to watch it there," he said.

With summer around the corner, and the warmer temperatures, don't be surprised if more sharks are spotted along the coast.

Fifteen different species have been documented in Northeast Florida, which is why it's important to be vigilant while enjoying the beach.