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While kayaking in Monterey Bay and watching a huge raft of sea lions that had come up right in front of us, a bus-sized humpback whale suddenly rose up out of the water only 10 feet from my boat. He was making a b-line toward me. Humpbacks are graceful and fully aware of their size and of their surroundings, so I wasn't scared (at first) but I was certainly shocked that he chose to swim right up to me. He dove under my kayak, which was amazing and exhilarating! But then his back arched and came to the surface about 3 inches from my boat, which freaked me out a bit. I wondered: hmmm, maybe this one needs contact lenses? Then his enormous barnacle-encrusted tail came out of the water and was about 12 inches from my face, which pretty much made my eyes pop out of my head. So pardon my swearing in the video - I was rather stunned!
About a minute later, another whale came up and dove down right next to my friends' kayaks. It was truly unbelievable!
(Note: we were NOT kayaking toward the whales and it is not advisable - nor is it legal - to do so. It's important to respect whales and just let them be. I think we must have been kayaking atop a huge ball of anchovies since the whales came toward us. Either that or we have serious whale magnetism! :-)