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MUST SEE: Kayaker greeted by humpback whale in B.C.

Andrea Bagley
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 9:00 AM - While not completely unusual for this time of year, a close-up encounter with a humpback whale is certainly nothing short of incredible.

A humpback whale has been seen swimming in Vancouver waters since late March, prompting a couple of kayakers to set out for an encounter of their own.

Earlier this week, Johnny O posted this incredible video to his Instagram account while out kayaking with a friend near Jericho Beach.

"We set out to see if we could find the whale that has been feeding in the area for the last few days," he wrote. "This was between Jericho and Kits beach. My heart started racing when I saw small fish swimming to the surface in a frenzy, I knew it was close."

The whale swims right between the two men and is shown flipping its tail just a few feet away.

"I almost dropped my phone," the man said in a nervous, giddy laugh. 

Although not completely positive, officials say this humpback was likely the one that has been spotted around English Bay over the past couple of weeks.

According to Tessa Danelesko, a coordinator with the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network, English Bay is considered part of the "normal range" for humpbacks, despite human activity and boats. A small number stay in the area year-round, she said, while the rest are in the midst of travel.

"This time of year, as the weather starts to warm up, they'll be travelling from their winter destinations like Hawaii, or down in tropical waters, so we will see humpbacks in B.C," Danelesko told the CBC.

People are urged to respect the whale's space by remaining at least 100 metres away. Danelesko says it's best to be parallel with them and travel alongside in their natural activity.

On April 3, another group captured this video of a humpback around sunset in the waters near Kitsilano.

"We were out for a sail just offshore from Kits Beach when we had an unexpected visitor," the YouTube post reads. "...he put on a pretty great show for us during the most beautiful part of the day."

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