— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) September 16, 2015
Be careful what you wish for. Last weekend, a British couple was paddling off the Monterey, Calif., coast, trying to catch a glimpse of some migrating whales when they were nearly crushed by breaching 40-ton humpback. They emerged unscathed from the incident, though their kayak was flipped by the splash.
Now, the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper has released an interview with the couple, Tom Mustill and Charlotte Kinloch, getting their take on the terrifying encounter.
Mustill, who makes his living as a wildlife film-maker, told the Telegraph, “We had an amazing couple of hours and we were heading home. There were whales on the surface that we were watching, but we didn't see this one; when a whale breaches you don't see it on the surface because it has to get momentum from quite deep down.
"Then we saw it. It was above us and all I could see was this whale crashing towards us, blocking out the light. I thought, 'Oh, I'm going to die now.'"
"It felt like being in an avalanche, like a bus landing on us," Kinloch said of the impact.
The entire scene was captured by a videographer on a nearby whale-watching boat, and the video had racked up half a million views as of Thursday.
An experienced whale watching guide on the scene said the couple did nothing to aggravate the humpback. Guidelines for ethical whale watching require boaters to stay at least 100 yards from whales. Whales are much faster than kayaks though, and they cannot always be avoided.
"My mum just told me I'm never allowed to go on holiday again,” Kinloch said.
–See the original video here.