Those along Massachusetts' South Shore have not just been enjoying the warm weather, but also a rare treat, seeing dozens of right whales off the coast of Marshfield.
The whales started swimming closer and closer over the weekend, and residents lined Ocean Street to catch a glimpse. No boat is needed to spot their fins and their spouts out at sea. The spectacle is visible from the shore.
The species is endangered, with fewer than 500 believed to be left on the planet, and experts estimate roughly 50 are swimming and feeding in Marshfield.
Their food source is closer than ever and the Marshfield Harbormaster said they are seeing more of them than ever as they feast on a crustacean known as krill.
NBC10 Boston was invited on board the Harbormaster's boat Monday for a whale watch, where crews were surrounded by the species within minutes. Many of the right whales were spotted less than a mile off shore, but those looking to see them up close have to follow the rules.
"Boaters have to stay 500 yards away and vessels over 65 feet have to maintain a speed of 10 knots or less," Harbormaster Mike DiMeo said.
Those who get too close going too fast risk facing a hefty fine. Given the warm weather, the harbormaster and Coast Guard are warning boat owners to be cautious.
As the whales eat out on the water, business owners say they appreciate more customers eating at the restaurants. The Jetty restaurant was packed over the weekend. The whale watching frenzy creating a pre-season boost they said is much needed after a brutal winter.
"Maybe it's payback for the winter we had," owner Tracy Vaughan said. "Now, we got the nice weather, and the whales have come, and so it's bringing people down to see them, it's awesome."
Experts do not know how long the right whales will be swimming near Marshfield, but lobstermen are anxious. They are ready to put their traps in the water starting May 1, but will not be able to if the right whales are still close.