Kayakers paddling near the Penn Islands of British Columbia got a spectacular show—one that looked quite dangerous—when a mother humpback whale and her calf began breaching nearby with one breaching whale appearing as if it was going to land on the kayakers.
The close encounter occurred last week. Wildcoast Adventures was leading a group of kayakers on a tour in the Discovery Islands when they came across a mother humpback whale nursing a calf. They, along with other boaters, watched at a safe distance for 30 minutes.
"I was sitting right behind the group," Damon Stapinsky, owner of Wildcoast Adventures, told CTV news. "I was just letting all my guests enjoy what we were watching, the mother feeding her young. We saw the tail fluke go down and we assumed that was the end of the show."
Little did they know it was just the beginning. Wildcoast Adventures compiled video from three different angles and posted it on YouTube. The footage is stunning:
The video taken by a kayaker of the mother humpback breaching so close to the kayaking group was taken with a telephoto lens, making it look closer than what it really was. Still, it was much too close for comfort.
"Get back," Stapinsky can be heard saying at one point.
"In a kayak, you can't back off that fast," Stapinsky told CTV News. "They can swim way faster than we can paddle. When momma came up, shortly after [the calf], it was apparent that we needed to get back and get back fast."
Canadian federal guidelines require whale watchers remain 100 meters away from whales. But in this case, the whales came to them and rather quickly.
Clearly it was a shock to the kayakers.
When the mother whale breached near them, one kayaker can be heard saying, "John doesn't need a bathroom break anymore, he's good."
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