Two paddlers enjoyed the thrill of lifetime recently off Argentina, when their kayak was lifted out of the water by a southern right whale.
The man and woman might also be lucky that they weren’t injured, because this does not appear to be a case where the whales actively approached the kayak.
Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a California-based whale researcher, said after watching the footage that the paddlers appear to have stopped paddling, and their momentum carried them toward the whales as the cetaceans milled at the surface.
(One paddle can be seen out of the water, and stationary, in the moments before the subtle impact.)
“They basically floated onto the whale,” Schulman-Janiger said. “And that impact, although it was very gentle, could have startled the whale, and it could have had a different reaction.”
The encounter occurred at Puerto Madryn, Patagonia, and it’s worth noting that southern right whales in the region are famously boat friendly and curious toward humans. They also help support a thriving commercial whale-watching industry.
The YouTube video description, translated by Bing, contains little information besides this brief statement:
“An incredible evening, lots of sun, kayaking and whale watching. As we watched from the top of the kayak… one of the whales turned and came towards our direction and lifted the boat twice!”
An unforgettable experience, to be sure.
–Pete Thomas, via GrindTv Outdoor