A pair of whale watchers on a cruise off the coast of San Diego had to be fished out of the Pacific last week after a surfacing blue whale capsized their boat.
According to KFMB-TV, the two boaters—an experienced whale-watching guide and a photographer—were watching the whales feed on krill about 12 miles off shore last Wednesday when they were surprised by the surfacing behemoth, it's massive mouth aimed right at their boat.
"I said to myself, 'Dale, just do what you can, keep yourself safe, but if you can save that camera, save the camera!'" photographer Dale Frink told KFMB.
The whale tipped their 23-foot boat over, sending them into the sea. They were rescued by another vessel, which reported the incident to the U.S. Coast Guard.
On his blog, Frink says that his guide—boat captain Cici Sayer—was trying to keep a safe distance from the whales:
I cannot stress enough that the Captain was doing her best NOT to get too close to these animals, and that she did her best to follow proper procedure. It was a freak accident that is very rare for whale watching boats. I have heard of similar incidents in other parts of the world, but not with Blue Whales.
There is no word on the size of the whale in Wednesday's incident, but blue whales are considered the largest existing animal on the planet, reaching up to 98 feet in length and weighing up to 190 tons.
Interestingly (although perhaps only to me), blue whales are also the loudest animal on the planet—their low-frequency pulses are louder than a jet engine and can be heard 500 miles away. So now you know in case it ever comes up again...
Frink and Sayer suffered only a few scrapes and bruises. The whale was apparently not injured and was seen feeding in the area for several hours afterward.