Whales surfacing under a boat turned a family’s whale-watching trip into a once-in-a-lifetime experience, inspiring a range of emotions — from wonder to outright terror.
One woman in the boat called 911 on the three humpback whales in Washington’s Puget Sound, as a three-minute video of the incident that was posted on Facebook by Darren Lucianna shows. A man in the vessel was much less worried about the whales beneath and around them, and tried to calm his shaken family members.
“The worst thing that could happen is we go for a swim, dude,” a man in the boat says in the video posted Sept. 29. “We’re not going to die, we all know how to swim.”
The video was recorded near Lynnwood, Washington, MYNorthwest reports. The Facebook video now appears to have been taken down.
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The video begins with a family member warning not to start the boat’s motor as a whale breaks the surface of the water right beneath their vessel, video shows.
That’s when some in the boat sound like they’re hyperventilating and whimpering. Another person in the boat tells them to relax and calm down.
“He’s checking us out,” a man says. “They’re not going to hurt you. He’s going to check us out and then go away.”
The whale starts to roll beneath the boat.
Meanwhile, a woman calls police.
“I’m afraid that we might get flipped over,” the woman says in the 911 call. “I’m really scared.”
The woman calling 911 says the family had been watching the humpback whales for about an hour before they started to surface right underneath. She also says she wants authorities to know where they are in case the boat capsizes.
At that point, the family appears to reach a consensus that it’s time to go.
“Drive away,” one of them tells the person navigating the boat, his voice sounding more and more urgent. “Drive away, faster.”
But even as the boat sails off, the whales appear to pursue the boat.
“They’re coming towards us,” one person in the boat says, fear in his voice.
Another is still excited by the experience.
“Oh my god, it’s following us,” the man says.
“Stupid whales,” another offers. “They’re going to kill us!”
But Center for Whale Research Executive Director Ken Balcomb said that’s not likely, describing the giant mammals as harmless, KING reports.
“Some individual humpbacks have a lot of curiosity and aren’t afraid of people,” Balcomb said, adding that the situation the family experienced is very uncommon, according to the TV station.
Still, it’s entirely possible for a whale to flip a boat over — at least according to New Jersey State Police, who wrote in an August Facebook post that a whale surfaced under a 20-foot fishing boat off of Monmouth County, forcing it to capsize.
The two boaters went overboard, but weren’t injured, police said.
“Charges against the whale are pending its apprehension,” New Jersey police wrote.