An adventurer paddle boarding off the coast of California recorded an astonishing close encounter, as he was able to get within feet of a majestic blue whale.
Capturing the experience with a GoPro, Rich German managed to follow the blue whale for at over a minute, after it surfaced just feet away from him off the coast of Laguna Beach, California. Another paddleboarder and several kayakers can also be observed in the video, though none appear to have gotten as close to the whale as German.
An experienced paddleboarder, German told the Daily Mail that he was frightened at first, before realizing that blue whales are largely harmless to humans. The close encounter with the whale left him exhilarated, he said.
“Blue whales eat krill and have no interest in eating me.
“I waited to see if he would approach me, which he did. Blue whales have the ability to swim very fast – up to 30 MPH – so clearly this whale was comfortable with me being in its presence.”
As National Geographic notes, blue whales are the largest animals on Earth. Growing up to 100 feet in length with a weight upwards of 200 tons, an adult blue whale possesses a heart that can be as large as an automobile.
The whale that German recorded was roughly 90 feet in length. He encountered it just two miles away from the California coastline, yet when he posted video of the incident online, some accused him of violating local marine laws aimed at protecting wildlife.
“When people first hear about my close encounter some incorrectly questioned the legality of it,” he observed.
“I personally met with a Federal Special Agent from the Marine National Fisheries who confirmed that there was no violation.
“Obviously they want to make sure no one is harassing marine life which clearly I was not doing.”
Despite the ravages of whaling in previous centuries, researchers have recently asserted that California blue whale populations are approaching historic record highs. As the Inquisitr previously noted, scientists say that this is the only population of blue whales to experience a significant rebound. Though the species’ comeback is a welcome development, scientists also warn that blue whales are still being struck by ships at twice the U.S. limit for population growth sustainability.
German further observed that humans have all but decimated the population of blue whales.
“There used to be over 300,000 blue whales and now tragically only about 8,000 remain,” he noted.
“To me these whales are our most sacred animals.”
[Images: Rich German via the Daily Mail]