A woman paddling on a surfboard off the coast of Santa Cruz, California escapes being swallowed up by a humpback whale feeding on fish at the surface. The person filming notes that she (or they) had never paddled out that far from shore before. Well, maybe they won't again after seeing how close a humpback whale is willing to get to swallowing something a bit bigger than the usual menu item.
Humpbacks feed on small fish and crustaceans, and this one probably knew exactly what it was, and wasn't, going to eat. But that doesn't make it any less startling to be that close to the dinner table.
The Telegraph reports, "Residents in Santa Cruz have reported several close encounters between whales and humans and boats in recent months. Adult humpback whales can grow over 50 feet long. Whale watchers are warned to stay at least 100 yards away from feeding areas."
I'm curious to know if these folks had any idea they were even near a humpback feeding area. As humpback whale numbers continue to rise after the species recovers from over-hunting from whaling, we might need get more familiar with where they like to dine... especially if that includes surf spots.