Video Of The Day: Humpback Whale Gets Dangerously Close To Kayakers

A mother and daughter kayaking in Avila Beach along the coast of California get a surprise from a 30-ton humpback whale when it surfaces within just a few feet of their boats. You can tell the women are surprised from their screams (be sure to keep the volume low on this one).

“I quit filming it because the whale was still moving forward and it ran into me,” the daughter writes, adding she was forced to stop filming and paddle backwards before her kayak tipped over.

Luckily, besides the threat of the boat being overturned by the breaching whale, these giant marine mammals only eat krill and small fish and aren’t known to attack humans.

Whale cut from net in Sea of Cortez

While rescuers search for the seven missing people who were aboard a boat that capsized in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez over the weekend, these waters are filled with more than tragedy. I stumbled upon this video of a whale being cut from a hunting net and set free and I couldn’t help but share. Members of the Great Whale Conservatory happened upon this trapped humpback whale in the Sea of Cortez. The whale-lovers cut the net off of the whale on the spot. Although it took some time, they came out of the experience with a happy and healthy whale as well as some excellent footage.

I visited the Sea of Cortez myself in March of 2009. I spent the day lounging with Sea Lions and watching dolphins follow our boat. I thought the sea was beautiful, serene and unmistakable. Watching this video of this whale rescue has completely made my day.

Cruise ship hits whale off Alaska

For the third time in the past decade a Princess Cruises luxury ship has struck and killed a whale in the waters off the coast of Alaska. That latest incident occurred last Tuesday evening just south of Juneau, where the ship the Sapphire Princess apparently hit the creature, whose corpse was discovered attached to the hull on Wednesday morning. Last year, the same ship arrived in Vancouver following a routine voyage, with a fin whale stuck to its hull.

This current whale was an adult female humpback that measured more than 43 feet in length. Humpbacks are found in waters all over the world, but in the summer months they tend to feed in colder, polar waters. The species is an endangered one and the giant mammals are protected under U.S. law, with stiff fines levied against those who do them harm. It is unclear at this time whether or not Carnival Corp., the parent company of Princess Cruises, will face any fines for this latest incident. They paid out a settlement of $750,000 for a similar incident that occurred in 2001.

On Friday, investigators were still studying the whale’s carcass to determine the exact cause of death. They have not ruled out the possibility that the beast was already dead when the ship struck it, and that the Sapphire Princess played no role in killing it.

[Photo credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson via WikiMedia Commons]

Photo of the Day 10.12.09

I’m always impressed with a good black-and-white photo, but this one by the ubiquitous fiznatty positively took my breath away. What you’re looking at here is the exhalation of a humpback whale, photographed in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada. Beautiful, isn’t she?

If you’ve got some great travel shots you’d love to share, be sure to upload them to the Gadling pool on Flickr. We might just pick one as our Photo of the Day.