A pair of dive instructors killing time in the water before their next class had a close encounter with a much bigger pair: two humpback whales breaching the surface to feed within arm’s reach of the men.
A school of tasty sardines swam to where the men were in the water, followed in hot pursuit by the whales.
Shawn Stamback, one of two men in the water, told Pete Thomas Outdoors that he has seen the humpback whales feeding about a quarter-mile away when he and Francis Antigua got into the water with snorkeling gear and cameras to pass time before their next scuba dive.
“We were just floating around in the water, hoping to get some shots of the whales in the distance, when all of a sudden the sardines started going crazy,” Stamback said.
In the video, which has been edited to show footage from the surface and underwater, countless sardines appear out of nowhere, skipping violently across the water and swarming a camera under the surface. The footage cuts to above water in time to see the two humpback whales breaching the surface like a pair of synchronized swimmers, each narrowly missing a mouthful of diver as they devour the fish.
The whales can be seen briefly in the background as the video begins, but they quickly disappear from view. After the ordeal, one of the divers admitted that he knew it was going to happen, but seemed to be unfazed by the close encounter. The man filming the episode jokes, “You’re going to have to do more to clean that wetsuit.”
Humpback whales can weigh up to 40 tons and are common in the waters along the Central California coast. The mammals feed on krill and small schooling fish.
Harassing whales or interfering with their behavior is illegal and boaters are advised to stay at least 100 feet away from the creatures if seen in the water.
Monica DeAngelis, a mammal expert with the National Marine Fisheries Service, told Pete Thomas Outdoors that it was unclear based on the video whether the divers were violating any laws.
“[But] they certainly are lucky no one got hurt,” she said. “In addition, they were clearly closer than the [100-foot] recommended guidelines.”
The men were unharmed in the incident, though the close encounter is sure to be a story they will not soon forget.
Whales almost eat Divers (Original Version)
Published on 20 Jul 2013
While Diving Souza Rock on the Central california Coast Divers have a close call with HumpBack Whales.