A huge humpback whale nearly crushed two kayakers as it breached off Northern California while frightened tourists on a whale-watching boat looked on.
Amazing footage of the breaching on Sunday was captured by one of the boat's passengers and was posted on social media by Sanctuary Cruises. The video has gone viral with more than 3 million views on YouTube and another 200,000 views on Facebook.
The two kayakers were thrown into the water but were wearing life vests and were not injured, reported KNTV
. Other kayakers nearby helped get them back on land.
Sanctuary Cruises, which specializes in whale watching, was in the Moss Landing harbor, near Monterey, when the whale breached. The passenger, Larry Plants, had his camera fixed on where the kayakers were in the water when the humpback whale suddenly appeared
"We stopped to see a large aggregation of humpbacks feeding and carrying on with random acts of hijinks," the video's caption
says. "There were also a lot of kayakers right in the middle of it all. Humpbacks were coming up next to and in the middle of many kayakers."
"It was amusing. It's all fun and games until someone gets jumped on. The next thing we knew, this thing launched right on top of these two kayakers. That was heavy."
Humpback whales can grow to 62 feet long and weigh as much 50 tons, said researchers at the Monterey Aquarium.
"Kayaking with whales can be extremely dangerous," cruise captain Michael Sack told KSBW-TV
. "This was one of the more dangerous situations that I've seen out here. I'm not sure if at this point these two know how lucky they were."
"One should realize that humpback whales are wild animals and totally unpredictable," said Sack. "It's a very uncontrolled environment out there."
According to National Geographic
, the humpbacks are found near coastlines and feed on shrimp-like krill, plankton and small fish. They migrate yearly from summer feeding grounds near the north and south poles to warmer winter breeding waters closer to the Equator.
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