This Whale & Boat Encounter: Was The Whale Playing Or Are We Seeing A Near Miss?

In this video, a finbackwhale comes jaw-droppingly close to a vessel full of whale-watching tourists.

I know nothing about whale behavior or eyesight, so I can’t tell if the whale was just having fun with the boat as play, or if he was trying to get a closer look at it, or if maybe he was about to knock it over and thought better of it at the last second.

Any marine experts have any clue what’s going on here?

It had its mouth open so was probably just chasing food that happened to be where the boat was. If it was going to knock the boat over it wouldn’t have done so with it’s open mouthed head; it would have used its tail. And I’ve been on similar boats with whales having a close look at you and they do exactly what you would do if you were looking at something; they stop, poke their head up, and look.

This. The whale was exhibiting normal feeding behavior and didn’t realize or more likely didn’t care that the boat was there. If it had intended to sink or overturn the boat it would have rammed it head on or hit it with its fluke as Princhester mentioned. I would bet there was a school of small fish near or under the boat at the time.

Definitely looks like feeding behavior - possibly including an element of “I’d better grab a tasty mouthful before this other creature decides to.”

Didn’t care, I’d say about 99% likely. Whales have very good spatial perception. Unless sleeping they are usually well aware of any boats in the immediate vicinity.

I was out just this Monday on Monterey Bay and Humpbacks ( who tend to be very tolerant and a lot more likely to approach boats than most) were lunge feeding within 10 ft or less of our boat a couple of times. Fin and Blue whales were also surface feeding in the area, which is a bit less common than with Humpbacks. But those two species also very generally tend to approach boats that closely a lot less commonly. Those folks just got very lucky.

Prior to the whale nearing the boat, you can see the school/s of pilchards/sardines in the water.

Hungry whale just had his appetiser!

I know baleen whales are not predators, but I have a phobia about seeing any really large living sea creature close to the surface like that. Always reminds me of this! :eek:

Tell that to the mouthful of little creatures the whale just swallowed.

Swim away! Swim Away!

Sharks don’t bother me, they’re more likely to run away than attack people. Having said that, though, pictures like this make me pee my pants:

There was a humpback whale spotted just off Newburgh! I go there quite often to watch the seals - it’s very relaxing.