15. Close Encounter of the Marine Life Kind
Imagine you’re sitting in a boat and come face-to-face with a very large whale and her calf. What would you do? For one group of tourists, they were put in a very up close and personal situation they never expected to be in and let’s just say things didn’t really go according to plan.
14. Pushing the Boundaries
It seems like tourists and tour operators are continuing to push the boundaries of what’s safe and acceptable in order to provide new experiences nowadays. Close encounters with wild animals in their natural habitat continue to be a popular trend for the thrill-seeking crowd, whether it’s out in the ocean or in the dangerous jungles of the Amazon.
13. A Whale of a Tale
One of the more popular close encounter experiences is getting up close to whales in their natural habitat. While some people are simply satisfied whale-watching from the coastline, many are looking to have a more intimate experience with these great creatures. In fact, some want to be able to reach out and touch them!
Unfortunately, these experiences do come with high risks.
12. The Risk of Getting Too Close
According to Australian scientist Dr. Wally Franklin, getting too close to whales, which can grow up to 50 feet in length and weigh over 40 tons does come with its own set of risks people should be aware of. The problem mostly comes from younger whales, who are still learning to be whales.
However, there’s also a more deadly problem.
11. What Lies Beneath…
Besides the sheer size of the whales, humpback whales, in particular, are known to be followed by sharks. Franklin goes on to say, he wouldn’t recommend getting in the water with any whales due to the risk of a shark attack, especially along with the east coast of Australia.
10. The Unintentional Crash
There have also been instances where whale watching tours get too close to the whales they are observing. This can lead to the whales accidentally crashing into the boat, which can have disastrous results.
This sadly happened in 2015 off the coast of Baja California, Mexico.
9. A Sad Day for Whale Watching
The disaster would strike a Canadian woman named Jen Karren from Calgary. While out on a tour boat observing gray whales, one of the whales lunged out of the water and landed on top of the small craft. The injuries Jen sustained would end her life prematurely.
However, despite the risk and recorded incidents, people still want the thrill of seeing a whale up close.
8. The 2013 Incident
Another dangerous encounter occurred in 2013 in British Columbia when a humpback whale collided with a boat in Kelsey Bay. The whale breached and the impact threw the boat captain through the windshield causing major facial injuries.
Thankfully, plastic surgery allowed the man to make a full recovery.
7. Blue Whales vs Boat
Of course, these incidents don’t stop. In 2014, wildlife photographer Dale Frink was thrown into the water off the coast of San Diego, California by a blue whale that overturned his boat. However, he only escaped with a few bruises, but it could of been much worse.
You won’t believe what happens to this next tour group.
6. The Beautiful San Ignacio Lagoon
The San Ignacio Lagoon is known for its whale-watching trips and beautiful scenery. In 2012, one close encounter with gray whales was captured on video. At first all seemed like it was going according to plan, but things took a very perilous turn.
5. Trying to Touch the Majestic Creature
On this particular trip, one woman decided she had the guts to reach out over the edge of the boat and touch one of the gray whales. As you can see, she’s really trying to keep her balance, and the entire situation seems quite dangerous.
You won’t believe what happens next.
4. An Incredible Moment
In a rare moment captured on film, a gray whale swims over to meet the woman’s outstretched hand. Even better, the tourists soon realize it’s a mother whale and her calf. The mother, calm and collected, swims underneath the calf so she can push the baby up to meet the woman.
Of course, the other passengers soon become interested as well.
3. Dangerously Close to Capsizing
As the other tourists see the woman petting the whale, they too begin to lean over the left side of the boat. Of course, this shifts the balance of weight and makes the craft tilt dangerously to the left.
Is it possible the entire boat could capsize?
2. A Little Too Close for Comfort
Thankfully, the worst seems to be avoided. The lucky whale watchers avoid what could have been a dangerous encounter. Instead, they have a happy moment with the young gray whales, something they will remember for the rest of their lives.
1. The Beauty of the Whale
Whales are majestic creatures of the deep, so we can understand their appeal. While this encounter went well, there have been others that have not been so lucky. If you are looking to enjoy some up close and personal time with these stunning animals, we suggest taking all precautions and not putting yourself in risky situations.
You never know when a flip of a tail could have disastrous consequences.