Alaskan Whale Watchers Have Close Encounter With Humpback [Video]

Tourists on a whale watching trip with TAZ Whale Watching tours just off the coast Pleasant Island in southeast Alaska were treated to a larger-than-life experience with a whale on Monday reported Newsweek. The company offers up close and personal whale watching experiences to their clients, but even so, they likely weren't expecting a whale to get quite this close.

The group on board the vessel on August 20 will never forget the moment an enormous Humpback Whale launched itself out of the water with no warning, landing so close to the boat the captain might have asked to see his tour ticket and soaking all the shocked passengers on board.

Tristan Krause, a passenger on the vessel, filmed video footage of the encounter. At the start of the footage, they appeared to be surrounded by calm seas, with a whale blowing not too far off. The entire setting is completely peaceful with a puff of cloud settled on top of the blue mountains in the distance.

Suddenly Krause pans to something just feet from the boat, and a whale suddenly takes a flying leap at the boat as it breaches. Passengers on board can be heard screaming and laughing throughout the encounter, with the whale missing landing on its back on the vessel by mere inches. The vessel is left rocking on the water in the wake of the massive animal.

Krause called the entire experience an "amazing day" on Facebook, and thanked his tour guides for an unforgettable encounter.

Humpback Whales can weigh up to 40 tons and are approximately the size of a school bus. They are also powerful swimmers and are easily able to launch their bodies out of the water with the use of their tail fins for a majestic display that whale watchers the world over are awed by. They are even able to propel themselves out of the water completely if they choose to.

National Geographic has noted that the reason for the display is as yet unknown.

"These whales, like others, regularly leap from the water, landing with a tremendous splash. Scientists aren't sure if this breaching behavior serves some purpose, such as cleaning pests from the whale's skin, or whether whales simply do it for fun."
Humpbacks are also famed for their haunting song, which can last an incredible 20 minutes before being repeated over and over for hours at a time. Over the years their songs can also gradually change. Their song is believed to be for their mates.