Humpback Whale Nearly Swallows Kayakers Off Coast of California

Two friends were kayaking off the coast of Avila Beach in California hoping to catch a glimpse of humpback whales spotted in the area – but it turned into a near death experience.

Julie McSorley and Liz Cottriel were among a group of people gathered in the water to get a closer look at the magnificent creatures. They thought they were at a safe distance away but it turns out they were almost the whale’s next meal.


McSorley was recording the amazing view on her phone when she suddenly realized one of the whales was right next to her. “I saw the big pool of fish, the big bait ball come up out of the water. I saw the whale come up,” McSorley told Fox26 News. “I thought, ‘Oh no! It’s too close.”

“The whale was right here in my face, literally,” Cottriel said.

Screenshot: YouTube/KSBY News

The whale swam right underneath their tandem kayak and breached the water. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘I’m gonna push. Like, I’m gonna push a whale out of the way! It was the weirdest thought. I’m thinking, ‘I’m dead. I’m dead.’ I thought it was gonna land on me,” Cottriel said. “Next thing I know, I’m under water.”

Photo: Mandy Lawless Boyle

McSorley also thought it was the end and said it all happened so fast. “All of a sudden, I lifted up, and I was in the water.”

The whale opened its mouth excepting to swallow a bunch of fish and ended up capsizing the kayak.

Onlookers rushed over to make sure they were all right and were amazed to find the kayak, which they thought the whale had swallowed.

Screenshot: YouTube/KSBY News

Both women resurfaced unharmed and quickly hopped back on their kayak and paddled to shore. Harbor officials said the women are lucky to be alive and warn others to keep at least 100 yards away from the massive mammals.

The unbelievable story has gone viral and is one you have to see to believe. Check out the close encounter in the video below and don’t forget to share!

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Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast who resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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