BETHANY BEACH, De. - A group of Delaware paddleboarders now have a whale of a tale to tell after making a new friend at Bethany Beach.
Lili Oller and a group of other women get together for Mermaid Mamas, a paddleboarding group.
“Its a tribe of us, we are now 22 strong, local girls. There are two or three men. It's just mostly women who have just conquered their fear of the ocean and paddleboarding," explained Oller.
But last Thursday, the group had to conquer much more than a fear of the ocean.
The group was near Sea Colony when they saw a whale spout, so of course they had to paddle closer to investigate.
What they saw amazed them beyond belief.
Go to minute 13 to see the whale jump:
"Sure enough, we are heading south and there was about 11 of us that day and OH MY GOSH, WHALE SPOUT WHALE SPOUT. And I kinda panicked cause I was like wow, he is here. Oh my gosh, I have been waiting for this for 3 years, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. And then you see him again and he is coming towards us and we see it again and all of a sudden it jumps out, with its mouth open to go get the fish and we are screaming like kids on a roller coaster.”
This had been the moment Oller was waiting for. She said they often see dolphins on their morning excursions, but seeing a whale was out of the ordinary.
"You could see all the little fibers in his mouth. As he is coming out with his mouth giant and open and we were like OH MY GOSH! We just thought that we won everything, just by him coming to all of the women. That was what was so spectacular, he came to each one of us.”
The whale, which the group has decided to call Dick, then swims away, but not without a goodbye.
"He then disappears and we are looking for him, and no lie, I don’t know like 50 yards out and he flukes his tail three times to say goodbye. I started crying. I said 'He said goodbye, he said goodbye!!'”
But this wasn't the last time Oller and friends ran into Dick. The very next day they got to see their new friend once again.
“To see it back to back two days, wow, it was one in a million, it just doesn’t happen. Unless you are in Hawaii or something. But here? Nah,” Oller said with a laugh.
As to why they call the whale Dick?
“You gotta stand out in social media, everyone has the newest and greatest and this and that, so I said we gotta put something out that will stir the pot. So my friend said let's call him Dick! And it stuck.”
Oller said her town is now invested in her hunt for Dick. She says every joke is about Dick and people are sending her messages and come up to her asking if she has seen Dick.
WMAR-2 News asked the National Aquarium to help us clarify what type of whale Oller and friends might have seen.
"It looks like a humpback whale, which are common along the mid-Atlantic Coast this time of year. Juveniles will feed close to shore, which is the behavior that they animal in one of the videos on the page is doing," explained the Director of Animal Rescue, Jennifer Dittmar.
Oller says she has gone paddleboarding every day for the last week in hopes of running into Dick once again.