News / Vancouver

Video: Vancouver kayaker has close encounter with whale

Instagram video of whale breach within feet of kayaker near Kitsilano Beach is making a splash online.

A Vancouver kayaker has a close encounter with a whale at Kitsilano Beach on Monday, April 11, 2016.

Instagram/johnnyvanuck

A Vancouver kayaker has a close encounter with a whale at Kitsilano Beach on Monday, April 11, 2016.

An Instagram video of a Vancouver kayaker’s close encounter with a whale is making a splash online.

A user by the name of johnnyvanuck posted the video Monday, showing two kayakers floating in the waters between Kitsilano and Jericho beaches when a whale is seen breaching the surface to their right.

“Oh my god,” says the person shooting the video, clearly startled by the sound of the whale’s blowhole exhaling.

It swims right at the men before diving down just before hitting the first kayak, its tail sticking straight out of the water only a few feet from the stunned onlooker.

“I almost dropped my phone,” says the man right after, as they both share a nervous, giddy laugh.

According to the Instagram post, the men got a little bit more than they bargained for.

“We set out to see if we could find the whale that has been feeding in the area for the last few days,” johnnyvanuck writes. “My heart started racing when I saw small fish swimming to the surface in a frenzy, I knew it was close.”

The video had more than 1,000 likes as of late Tuesday afternoon.

Tessa Danelesko, co-ordinator of the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network, identified the whale as a humpback that has been spotted around English Bay over the past two weeks as it migrates north for the summer.

Humpbacks are fairly commonly seen this time of year in the Strait of Georgia and in Howe Sound, she said, but are rare in English Bay – where there is much more human activity to ward them off.

Danelsko said people hoping to catch a glimpse of whales in the wild should respect their space and not do anything to disturb their natural activity.

“This is the really important information. Humans can have a major impact on whales, especially when we get too close,” she told Metro. “We tell people to stay at least 100 metres away, reduce speed and it’s also important to stay out of the path of whales, it’s best to be parallel with them and travel alongside it.”

Whale, dolphin and sea turtle sightings can be reported at wildwhales.org, which Danelsko said helps researchers track animals and improve conservation methods.

The B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network has also recently launched Apple and Android apps for instant reporting.

More on Metronews.ca