"I've lived in Destin my whole life and this was one of the coolest experiences we've had."
Todd Watkins has lived in Destin his entire life and never had an experience like the one his family filmed last summer.
A video, posted last week by Watkins on YouTube, shows the Watkins' close encounter with a hammerhead shark.
Todd, his wife Crystal and their two children, Chase and Baelyn, were cruising in their boat in the Gulf of Mexico near the west jetty when they saw it.
The distinctive fin of a shark crested the surface as it headed toward the shore.
"I handed my GoPro to Chase and he started filming while I slowly drove the boat. Baelyn filmed, too," Watkins wrote in an email to the Daily News.
He said the shark went straight into shore before leisurely turning around and heading back out into deeper water. The family had seen plenty of sharks in the past, but they usually swam away before they could get close, Watkins said.
"That shark was not (fazed) by us one bit. I've lived in Destin my whole life and this was one of the coolest experiences we've had."