A kayaker who was nearly taken out by a breaching Humpback whale said he thought he was going to die – but the whale may have turned away at the last minute to save him and his friend.
This viral video from last week shows a whale leaping out of the water in Monterey Bay, California and nearly landing on top of a tandem kayak. Fortunately the dented boat resurfaced a moment later with both people drenched and shaken but unharmed. One of them, Tom Mustill, wrote about their experience for The Guardian:
All of a sudden without warning, the water nearby to our right gave way to an adult whale shooting upwards, like a space shuttle taking off: a huge block of living thing impossibly held in the air. The only thing my brain registered was quite calmly that when it came down I was going to die. Then it fell, and I was underwater. I felt a yawing next to me and I was tossed around. I think this was the body or tail of the whale and I get a funny feeling in my guts when I think back on this.
A whale specialist he spoke to later pointed out that the whale landed differently than she would have expected given how it breached, which could mean the whale saw the kayak and twisted in midair to avoid landing on it.