Close encounters: A pod of orcas approaches two kayakers in Washington's San Juan Islands last month.

Close encounters: A pod of orcas approaches two kayakers off Washington’s San Juan Islands last month / Screen grab.

Last year, a viral video of a two paddlers approaching a pod of southern right whales set off a stream of controversy on our site as readers debated safe viewing limits for marine life. Now, another video has surfaced, showing a pair of sea kayakers being surrounded by a pod of orcas. But this time the whales approached the kayakers, not the other way around.

GrindTV reported on the video:

An Atlanta tourist kayaking off the San Juan Islands in Washington state got the experience of a lifetime when a pod of orca whales surrounded her kayak late last month. She captured the entire experience on film and uploaded the amazing footage to YouTube a week ago.

Michelle Feis was kayaking with a guide on Roche Sound when she said she noticed a pod of roughly 30 orcas approaching their kayaks. Not long thereafter, the pod had surrounded Feis and her guide, breaching right in front of the nose of Feis' kayak and swimming below her boat.

“It was a dream come true…It gave us the most exciting day of my life, I think,” Feis told a Canadian Broadcasting Company after her encounter.

Continue reading on

More from C&K

Op-Ed: Curious marine life and the paddler’s bind

Whale Encounters: How Close is too Close?