A huge humpback whale jumped out of the water Saturday and nearly crushed a couple of kayakers who were vacationing on California’s Central Coast. The couple was knocked out of their kayak and pushed into the water by the whale, but they remained surprisingly unharmed.
Nearby whale watchers stood, frightened, watching the whale push the couple under water Saturday near Monterey Bay’s Moss Landing Harbor. A Sanctuary Cruises passenger filmed the whale’s “full 180 degree breach” and Facebook shared it, CNN reports.
A passenger can be heard on the video asking about the kayak’s location followed by witnesses cheering when the couple came up unscathed with a bent kayak.
Sanctuary Cruise Captain Michael Sack said that the couple “came very close to getting crushed to death by the mighty humpback whale,” according to CBS News. “A full-size humpback can weigh in at 40-tons. That’s a lot of heavy blubber that would surely flatten a kayaker if the whale had a direct hit,” Sack said.
He added that this particular situation was one of the most dangerous he has seen on the water and that the couple was really lucky. “Kayak whale watching can be extremely dangerous,” he said. “And one should realize that humpback whales are wild animals and totally unpredictable. It’s a very uncontrolled environment out there. Just like any wilderness experience.”
Apparently there has been a high number of reported sightings of marine mammals, like humpback whales, in the Monterey Bay area in the past few years. The pair on the kayak Saturday, who were tourists from the United Kingdom, were moving through a big pod of humpback whales when the accident occurred.
The pod and the kayakers were less than one mile away from the shore. Thankfully, the paddlers were wearing life vests and other paddlers were close by to help them with their kayak.
Sean Furey, a guide with Monterey Bay Kayaks, was with the group when the couple fell under. He told CNN that the couple handled the accident “incredibly well.”
The company decided to suspend its whale-watching tours effective immediately. “We’ve talked to some biologists and we feel it’s probably affecting the health of the whales, affecting their ability to feed so we just want to make sure that the whales are safe out there and keep everybody safe here,” Furey said to CNN affiliate KSBW-TV.