There are close whale encounters, and there are really close whale encounters. But rarely, if ever, does anything like this happen.
The accompanying footage shows cameraman Chris Coates being approached by a mother humpback whale and her calf, and slapped in the head–either accidentally or on purpose–by the larger whale's pectoral fin .Viewers can hear Coates mumbling his concern as the whale approached and after it connected.
The incident occurred during a freediving expedition off the east coast of Africa. Coates, 38, and his group had been seeing whales throughout most of the day, but did not anticipate anything like this.
"The whale hit me on the head and hand," he said. "I could feel its barnacles scraping over my forehead. The slap with the fin was quite hard, but I don’t think it was trying to hurt me or it would have been way harder. It also must have hit the camera because it hit my hand that was holding the camera."
–Hat tip to GrindTv Outdoor