Expert thinks whale tried to avoid hitting kayak

By now you’ve probably seen this video of an incident in California’s Monterey Bay last week. A humpback whale breached unexpectedly and landed on two whale watchers in a kayak. Although they were knocked out of the kayak and briefly submerged, the couple was uninjured. They were able to right their dented kayak and paddle back to shore.

Browsing The Guardian last night, I came across a first-person account by Tom Mustill, the man in the kayak. He and his friend Charlotte Kinloch are understandably still haunted by the incident and both are kept awake by the same image — the whale hovering over their beds.

Interestingly, whale specialist Prof. Joy Reidenberg thinks the whale saw them at the last second and altered its movement in an effort to avoid hitting them. “I think you two survived because the whale cared about trying not to hit you,” she said. Mustill agrees.

Saved because the whale didn’t want to hurt them? Or because it was just trying to avoid hurting itself? Either way, is it any wonder the couple can’t stop thinking about the incident?

2 thoughts on “Expert thinks whale tried to avoid hitting kayak

  1. Witnessing how huge the humpbacks are when they breach from a distance and relative safety of a boat carrying about 50 persons was both thrilling and scary. I don’t know if i would ever be able to sleep again had i been in that tourist kayak! Our guides said a full grown humpback weighs over 50 TONS. This whale had to have done all it could to miss the kayakers. Hmmm, wonder what “oops, my bad” sounds like in whale speak? Thanks for this… I must be the only person who did not know about it!

    1. Well, I tend to have the news on a lot. Bad as it often is, it beats daytime TV.

      I can’t even imagine looking up from a puny little kayak and seeing a whale towering over me.

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