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While observing a mother Humpback nursing her calf from a safe distance away, the whales finished up and dove down. What happened next took everyone by surprise.

B.C. kayakers capture spectacular humpback whale breach

Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Thursday, August 18, 2016, 11:01 AM - This extreme close-up encounter with a humpback whale is nothing short of incredible.

During a guided tour in British Columbia's Discovery Islands, a group of kayakers spotted a female humpback nursing her calf. One paddler Heather Lawrence told CBC that after about 30 minutes of watching, the whales disappeared under water.

"We thought they were gone," she said. "And that's when they really set off a show."

"The baby jumped, and that was like, 'Wow, that's amazing.' But then the mom came up right away and she's humongous compared to the baby."

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Lawrence managed to capture the spectacular show on video (above) through a telephoto lens. At the time, Lawrence was about 10 metres away from the pod.

Image courtesy: Heather Lawrence -- YouTube

"When she landed I was really hoping she was going to land far away from me," the kayaker told CBC. "It was really exhilarating. She's huge and that's all that you're seeing. She takes up the whole view. There's not a lot going on in your mind. You're just thinking, 'Holy cow, I can't believe I'm seeing this,' and then you think, 'Oh, I hope I can get out of here safely.'"

As soon as the female humpback breached, Lawrence dropped the camera and followed instructions to quickly paddle backwards.

"John doesn't need a bathroom break anymore, he's good," one kayaker is heard saying in the video. 

The video was uploaded to YouTube on Monday and has since gone viral with over 147,000 views.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says all vessels including kayaks, must be 100 metres away from whales. If your vessel is not in compliance with the distance rule, you must reduce your speed and cautiously move away from the mammals.

Humpback whales have made a remarkable comeback as they were once thought to be near-extinct along the B.C. coast. However, there are now estimated to be up to 21,000 in the northeast Pacific Ocean.


Watch more: Sleeping humpback whale caught on GoPro off Newfoundland coast

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