Daily Buzz

Humpback whale feeds close to boaters, paddlers in California

Bill Bouton captured the images from the shore which shows just how close the whales were to people on the water

Some people in small boats and on paddle boards along the California coast got up close with a pod of humpback whales, who seemed to be enjoying a meal.

Retired biology instructor Bill Bouton captured these images while he was photographing birds near San Luis Obispo, in the central part of the state. He took the images on Saturday and uploaded them to his Flickr account.

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The pod of whales are feeding at a "bait ball", which is what happens when small fish swarm in a tightly packed group because they are threatened by a predatory animal.

According to a comment by Bouton on his Flickr page, he was sitting in his car on the shoulder of the road and just happened to stumble across the whales.

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It must have been an even more spectacular and scary sight for the people in kayaks and paddle boards just metres away from the whales.

Whales have been quite active in the past month with two other close encounters in B.C.

A couple fishing in the Broken Group Islands on the west side of Vancouver Island had a grey whale surface right next to their boat and slightly lift the boat out of the water. And just last week a humpback whale breached just metres from a fishing charter off the coast of Tofino. The whale is this case was caught on camera jumping entirely out of the water.

Humpbacks mostly feed off of krill and other small fish and can grow to more than 15 metres in length and weigh more than 36,000 kg.

(Photos by Bill Bouton)