GULF OF MEXICO (WLOX) - Just five days after leaving the Port of Gulfport, the Nautilus research vessel had quite a surprise.
A rare sperm whale got really close to the Nautilus's ROV, or remotely operated vehicle, that was 2,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.
"It navigated so gently around us," said media relations spokeswoman Susan Poulton. "The moment was both incredibly thrilling and beautiful."
The Nautilus set off on April 9 for a six month mission. The crew will explore the Pacific Ocean, an 1800's era shipwreck, and study the long-term effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
To watch the four and a half minute video of the amazing encounter and see more photos, click here.