A humpback whale breaches near a tandem kayak Sept. 12. Screenshot from video by Michael Sack of sanctuarycruises.com.

A humpback whale breaches near a tandem kayak Sept. 12. Screenshot from video by Michael Sack of sanctuarycruises.com.

A couple whale watching in a tandem kayak got a little more than they bargained for Saturday. A humpback whale burst out of the water and nearly crushed them. The paddlers were knocked out of their kayak, which disappeared briefly as a woman on a nearby whale-watching vessel asked “The kayak! Where’s the kayak!”

It was all caught on video by Capt. Michael Sack of Sanctuary Cruises, who was guiding a whale watching tour from a boat just outside Moss Landing harbor in California’s Monterey Bay.

“Two kayakers were almost crushed to death by a massive, near full-size humpback whale,” Sack told KSBW Action News.

“A large aggregation of humpbacks (were) feeding. There were also a lot of kayakers right in the middle of it all. The next thing we knew, this thing launched right on top of these two kayakers. It was very scary to watch,” Sack said.

The kayakers, a man and a woman, were knocked out of the kayak. Other paddlers assisted them to shore.

Close encounters between whales and kayakers are not uncommon. Last year, a right whale surfaced under a tandem kayak in Argentina, giving a father and daughter a ride they won’t forget. Guidelines for ethical whale watching require boaters to stay at least 100 yards from whales. Whales are faster than kayaks though, and they go where they please.

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