Two kayakers whale watching off the coast of California got an extremely close look at the mammal when a humpback whale nearly swallowed them. The footage of the incident that happened on November 2 has gone viral online.
One of the kayakers had her phone out at the time and managed to capture the experience on camera, which went viral online. While footage captured by onlookers was also extensively shared.
In the short clips, birds can be seen circling above calm waters when suddenly fish start flopping around Julie McSorley’s kayak.
“I saw the big pool of fish, the big bait ball come up out of the water,” McSorley told US-based news channel KMPH-TV.
“I saw the whale come up. I thought, ‘Oh, no! It’s too close.’ All of a sudden, I lifted up, and I was in the water,” she added.
Sharing a clip of the incident that shows a compilation of both perspectives, tweep @KlatuBaradaNiko wrote: “Talk about a close call! Two kayakers were almost swallowed by a breaching humpback whale Whale off Avila Beach, CA (California). It capsized the kayak but luckily they are okay. Check it out from two amazing points of view.”
“I’m thinking to myself, ‘I’m going to push.’ Like, I’m going to push a whale out of the way!” Liz Cottriel, McSorley’s fellow kayaker was quoted as saying by local media.
“It was the weirdest thought. I’m thinking, ‘I’m dead. I’m dead.’ I thought it was going to land on me. Next thing I know, I’m under water,” she added.
The two women were pushed underwater by the whale before appearing at the surface of the water and escaping unhurt.
According to the National Geographic, humpback whales are found in every ocean in the world. Their Latin name, Megaptera novaeangliae, means ‘big wing of New England’. It refers to their giant pectoral fins, which can grow up to 16 feet long, and their appearance off the coast of New England, where European whalers first encountered them.