A humpback whale named Spot was filmed leaping out of the water in Donegal Bay by James Garvey of the Rossnowlagh Surf School.

Footage of the whale posted on the Donegal surf school's social media accounts has amassed thousands since it was published on Wednesday afternoon, June 21.

"Dedicating this video to my Dad," Garvey said in a Facebook post with the video, "I feel your spirit in the Ocean."

An incrediable experience in Donegal Bay .... Humpback #HBIRL24 puts on an incrediable performance for us @barrabest @WeatherCee @deric_tv @welovedonegal @donegalbaytoday @visit_donegal @Failte_Ireland @FermanaghJulian @rtenews @IrishTimes @DscoverBundoran @DonegalWeatherC pic.twitter.com/20GoU2L6ch

— Rossnowlagh Surf School (@RossnowlaghSurf) June 21, 2023

Garvey likened the sighting to winning the lottery, describing it as a "phenomenal day."

"I don't know the odds of winning the lottery but this was the same thing for a whale lover. A nature lover's lottery win," Garvey told BBC News NI. 

Garvey said he chartered a boat to see 10 minke whales and roughly 500 common and bottlenose dolphins before the "holy grail appeared."

"Every time you meet a whale it's just an incredible experience.

"It's breath-taking every time, given their size, but it's just breath-taking anyway, and how curious they are about people.

"Basically it's a pretty rare occurrence that a humpback whale would be spotted in Donegal Bay, but for one to put on an incredible performance just half an hour from Rossnowlagh is just unbelievable."

Garvey added that he witnessed four breaches in addition to bubble-netting - a surface-feeding habit associated with humpback whales. 

Garvey said he also witnessed the whale engaging in fluke slapping, an act that sees whales lift their tail flukes out of the water and slap them on the surface. 

BBC News further reported that the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) said it had recorded 11 validated sightings of humpbacks since the start of June 2023 in Donegal Bay and Broadhaven in Co Mayo, but none in the traditional hotspots of West Cork and Kerry.