Surfacing whale nearly lands on kayakers in dramatic video

A mother and daughter in separate kayaks off Avila Beach in California came dangerously close to a surfacing humpback whale Saturday–and the near-disastrous experience was captured on video by the mother.

First you see seabirds diving for bait being pushed up by the whale. Then you see the whale break the surface between Rhonda Burmeister and daughter Samantha. The first scream appears to come from Samantha. The second scream appears to come from Rhonda when the whale surfaces a second time in front of her. Behold the close encounter:

The whale easily could’ve landed on either kayaker by taking a different angle back into the water.

“I wasn’t expecting it that close,” Rhonda told KSBY News. “I was expecting a distant shot. I wasn’t expecting it to hit the back of my kayak [which apparently occurred after the video ends].

“Unfortunately a couple was in a twin kayak beside us and they fell in the water from the wake of the whale.”

Rhonda discouraged others from doing what they did and urged others to keep their distance from the feeding whales. But then she told KSBY she would do it all over again.

“Oh my gosh, I was almost taken by this beautiful thing, and it would’ve been worth it, it would’ve been worth it,” she said.

Photos of similar close encounters captured off the San Luis Obispo coast show why the San Luis Port Harbor Patrol is concerned for the safety of boaters, kayakers, SUP boarders, and all others trying to get close-up video or photos of the vertical feeding whales.

Patrolman Chris Weddle told KSBY that hefty fines awaited those people refusing to stay 100 yards away from the whales.

Considering the potential fine and that a huge whale could land on you, it is worth mentioning that zoom lenses were created for instances such as these.