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Man’s kayaking when giant whale bursts out of water in front of him
That's not something you see every day.
Elijah Chan
10.20.21

Witnessing the sheer magnificence of nature is a privilege one would never forget.

Most certainly when you encounter not just one, but two humpback whales while you’re out in a kayak. That’s exactly what Eddy Willis experienced when he was out in Half Moon Bay, just off the coast of California.


YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

In a video posted by the animal channel The Dodo, the half-minute clip showed him rowing towards a spot where birds were circling.

And then, without warning, large and bumpy snout tips emerged from the water.

Willis couldn’t believe what he was seeing as two humpback whales gulped a mouthful of seawater. Seeing a whale is a marvel in itself but seeing them right in front of you, even bumping the edge of the kayak a bit, is truly something else.


YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

Willis’s jaw dropped at the surprise. He couldn’t hide the excitement on his face even if he tried. With the maw of one of the biggest mammals missing his kayak, it was amazing to see that he didn’t flinch or panic.

After the encounter, Willis paddled back to his friend and settled closer to shore.

They continued to watch the whales from a much safer distance.


YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

“To me, I love whales, I love sharks…It’s an adrenaline rush more than anything,” he told KIRO 7.

This wasn’t the case, though, when two kayakers got a little bit too close for comfort with their own humpback whale encounter.

The two kayakers, Liz Cottriel and Julie McSoreley, were whale-watching in Avila beach. They were about 30 feet away from the pod so they thought they were at a safe distance.


YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

But when a large pool of fish emerged close to them, they knew they were in trouble.

“I saw the big pool of fish, the big bait ball come up out of the water. I saw the whale come up … I thought, ‘Oh no! It’s too close’,” McSorley told CNN affiliate KMPH. “All of a sudden, I lifted up, and I was in the water.”

The two kayakers managed to escape after capsizing and going underwater.


YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

They were startled but unhurt.

Humpback whales are a mainstay on the California coast, most especially in the Monterey Bay area. The state is one of their stops as they migrate every year. After calving and mating down in Mexico, these large mammals swim north to feed on krill, sardines, and anchovies.

Humpback whales are popular among avid whale watchers as their feeding habits make them swim closer to the surface.

They are currently listed as endangered, with threats including entanglement and vessel collisions. Thankfully, with animal protection laws in place, the numbers of these magnificent creatures have improved.

Hopefully, as more people become involved in their conservation, we’ll see more of these encounters in the future.

YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

In the meantime, try not to get close when you’re out in California waters. You might find yourself in awe but also flying above the water.

Watch how this kayaker expressed his excitement when two humpback whales emerged right in front of his boat.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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