Fishing is usually a peaceful experience—a chance to appreciate the serenity of nature. But sometimes nature doesn’t feel like being serene.
This was the case when father and son David and Trevor Ryan set off for a day of fishing off the coast of Langara Island at the north tip of Haida Gwaii. The two were trawling around, looking for salmon, when something very different popped up near their boat.
With no warning whatsoever, a humpback whale surfaced just feet from their boat, startling both men. Luckily, their camera was already rolling, and they captured the whale’s breach on video. The whale breaks the surface of the water, then comes even closer, flipping its tail as it descends once more, as the men shout in surprise.
“It was surreal,” David told the CBC.
He guessed that the whale was lured near by a “bait ball”—a compact group of tiny fish swimming together in a ball—which the men had seen nearby.
They were lucky that the whale surfaced far enough away not to tip their boat. Earlier this summer, a couple who were fishing near Newfoundland had their boat tipped over by a whale, and spent hours swimming back to shore, buoyed only by an empty gas can.
Thankfully, the Ryans’ accidental whale-whatching experience was much more positive—if a bit startling. After this experience, they may just begin to think of fishing as an adrenaline rush.