Humpback Whale Nearly „Swallows“ Two Kayakers In California

Julie McSorely and Liz Cottriel were in for quite an unexpected afternoon when kayaking off the coast of Avila Beach in California. The two noticed some humpback whales breaching just a short distance away and were enjoying whale-watching from their kayak at what they thought was a safe distance. Other paddleboarders in the area were also enjoying the spectacle.

However, they quickly discovered they weren’t such a safe distance away after all. A chilling video shows how one whale swam underneath their kayak and accidentally knocked it over. As if that weren’t enough, the whale proceeded to inhale them completely. The chilling video is stuff of nightmares for many of us, but thankfully, the two kayakers came out just fine.

Humpback Whale Nearly “Swallows” Two Kayakers In California

“I saw the big pool of fish, the big bait ball come up out of the water. 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,” McSorely shared with Fox26News.

Cottriel told the outlet her thoughts in the moment, saying, “I’m thinking, ‘I’m dead. I’m dead.’ I thought it was gonna land on me. Next thing I know, I’m underwater.”

Both women were rescued by nearby paddleboarders and kayakers who had also been watching the whales. McSorely and Cottriel were rather shaken up after the incident, but they’re determined to use it as a learning experience.

McSorely shared in a comment on Facebook that they weren’t intentionally being reckless or irresponsible. “We were with several others watching from what we thought was a safe distance. I have learned that it was not enough,” she wrote.


Humpback Whale Nearly “Swallows” Two Kayakers In California

As McSorely further shared in a Facebook post, “I had never kayaked while whales were here before this past Sunday and was unaware of some of these guidelines. There were many others who were much closer than we were on Sunday and those I saw on Monday were safer but still too close. I learned the hard way and although we are safe it was a crazy close call. These are amazing magnificent creatures and Ichoose to learn from this.” She proceeded to link to an educational resource on staying safe while whale watching.

Humpback whales won’t intentionally inhale a human, though accidents like what happened with McSorely and Cottriel can happen. According to Whalehouse, it is possible for a humpback whale to swallow a whole person, but their preferred diet consists of krill and small fish. Humpback whales feed by straining large amounts of water through special plates. Because of this, they can accidentally inhale things they don’t intend to eat, like larger fish or even people.

It’s advised to maintain at least 100 yards distance while whale watching.

Check out the video of the incident below:

What do you think? Have you ever been this close to a whale?

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