Humpback whale surfaces just a few feet from Vancouver kayakers

Humpback whale surfacing next to kayaker

Early spring is peak whale-watching time on the West Coast, and a kayaker recently captured the perfect video to prove it.

Recent reports of a humpback whale swimming in English Bay, between Vancouver’s Jericho and Kitsilano beaches, prompted a pair of kayakers to head out onto the water to see if they could get a closer look. They only had to paddle a few hundred metres from shore before they got just that.

“My heart started racing when I saw small fish swimming to the surface in a frenzy,” one of the kayaker’s wrote in the video description. “I knew it was close.”

In the video, which was taken earlier this week, you can see the whale pop up and then slap its tail only a few feet away from one of the kayakers. He’s noticeably startled, shouting as soon as the whale surfaces, and then breaking into excited laughter.

“I almost dropped my phone!” he says as the whale swims directly underneath their kayaks.

The full 50sec video can be viewed on UTube link in my bio. We set out to see if we could find the whale that has been feeding in the area for the last few days. 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. ? #whale #whalewatching #kayaking #kayakingadventures #adventure #vancouver #explorebc #explorecanada #explore #playhard #wildlife #modernoutdoors #oceanencounters #awesome #vancitybuzz #cbcvancouver

A video posted by Johnny O (@johnnyvanuck) on Apr 10, 2016 at 7:49pm PDT

It’s only natural to get excited when you spot a creature as incredible as a humpback whale—especially if you manage to get as close as these guys did. But Tessa Danelsko, a coordinator with the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network, told Metro News that people need to respect these whales’ space. She recommends keeping a distance of at least 100 metres and staying out of their path.

“Humans can have a major impact on whales, especially when we get too close,” she said.

Danelsko told reporters that it’s normal to see migrating humpbacks in the Straight of Georgia and Howe Sound this time of year, but it’s less common to see them in English Bay, due to the amount of human activity and boats that pass through the area.

But the bay’s heavy traffic doesn’t seem to be stopping whales from entering this year, and people are noticing. Just a couple of weeks ago, another group captured a video of a humpback swimming near the shores of Kitsilano.