A wildlife experience that's a tad closer than comfort? Sightseers got a lot more than what they bargained for in British Columbia's South Coast when a pair of humpback whales began leaping out of the water, just narrowly missing their boat.
According to a report from CBC News, the group of kayakers were on a five-day guided tour with Wildcoast Adventures when they encountered a trio of humpback whales. After hearing about the nearby presence of the small pod, the team paddled closer to get a glimpse of the female humpback, a calf and another full-grown adult.
Everyone stayed the required distance from the whales, but apparently the majestic creatures weren't happy to stay away. The three slipped underwater calmly, until the calf suddenly burst out of the water.
"We thought they were gone," Heather Lawrence, one of the kayakers who filmed the spectacular show, said in the CBC News report. "And that's when they really set off a show. The baby jumped, and that was like, 'Wow, that's amazing.' But then the mom came up right away and she's humongous compared to baby."
She confided, "When she landed I was really hoping she was going to land far away from me."
Owner of Wildcoast Adventures Damon Stapinsky was just as concerned as his guests. He told CTV News Vancouver Island, "It was incredible but unexpected. There's no way we could've foreseen that. All I could think of was the safety of the guests."
Perhaps the mother and her baby are merely celebrating the rising numbers of their species in recent months. According to a report from Times Colonist, humpback whales were nearly extinct due to hunting in the early 1900s. Michael Harris, executive director of the Pacific Whale Watch Association, said that there were only about 1,600 humpback whales in the Pacific Northwest when the whaling industry shut down in the sixties. Now, there are roughly 21,000.
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