If there's one video that demonstrates why you shouldn't get too close to whales, this has to be it. Shot in California's Monterey Bay by a passenger on Sanctuary Cruise Whale Watching (SCWW), the clip shows the exact moment a pair of tandem kayakers is nearly crushed to death when a humpback whale breaches right on top of them. 

Dozens of kayakers, paddleboarders and boaters have flocked to the bay in recent weeks to get a glimpse of the whales that have gathered here to feed. It's a thrilling adventure, no doubt, but it's also illegal. Even if you aren't actively pursuing whales, heading out into an area known to be teeming with whale activity can still be considered wildlife harassment.

"This was one of the more dangerous situations that I've seen out here," recalls SCWW captain Michael Sack. "Kayaking with whales can turn into a life or death situation real quick. Within seconds. It was very scary to watch. I’m not sure if at this point these two know how lucky they were."

Experienced paddlers helped to hoist the overturned pair back into the boat, which was bent during the incident. "That's why I would never take anyone [out] whale watching [on a kayak]," says Sack. 

Some viewers have suggested the video could be fake, but Monterey local Debi Thompkins witnessed the entire event from shore, and assures us this was a very real situation: 

The U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act forbids approaching wild whales, and officials suggest that anyone interacting with them should stay at least 100 metres (300ft) away. "One should realise that humpback whales are wild animals and are totally unpredictable," warns Sack. "They are so massive they would very unlikely feel anything at all coming into contact with a human on a kayak. They weigh 40 tons for crying out loud. All they want to do is feed."

whale kayak1-2015-9-14
Image: Michael Sack/Sanctuary Cruises
whale kayak2-2015-9-14
Image: Michael Sack/Sanctuary Cruises
whale kayak3-2015-9-14
Image: Michael Sack/Sanctuary Cruises
whale kayak4-2015-9-14
Image: Michael Sack/Sanctuary Cruises

To follow along with the action in the bay, head over to SCWW Captain's Log.

Migaloo realted-2015-8-6