LUTZ, Florida (WFLA) -- Rich Howard has loved the ocean since he was a little kid. He became a certified scuba diver at age 13, and started taking underwater photographs in his 20s.
"Ever since I was 5 or 6 years old and got my first book from Jacques Cousteau, I've just loved the ocean ever since," he said.
It's a love he shares with his wife, Laura. So the couple decided to take a scuba diving trip to La Paz, Mexico to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.
One dive took them to see a colony of sea lions. The Howards said they'd been diving and playing with the friendly animals for about 25 minutes, when the dive master told them the trip was over and they needed to get back on their boat.
Both Laura and Rich were a little frustrated their dive had been cut short. But that feeling quickly changed when they saw 4-5 foot dorsal fins breaking the surface of the water and heading straight towards them.
"I didn't think killer whales. I thought, oh, it's going to be a humpback, it's going to be a sperm whale, something that we'll see from a distance," Laura Howard said.
But it was a pod of 20 killer whales. The massive mammals started following the fast moving boat, jumping, flipping and playing in the boat's wake.