This week is looking to be great for downwind runs. East winds are 10-20 mph+ all week and there’s an east swell. I got a chance to do a downwind run this morning in great conditions. I was trucking along and focused on catching bumps when about 20 minutes into the run I heard a super loud blowing sound just to my right. Let me preface that when I get into ‘the zone’ I tune out everything except trying to catch bumps. There can be a boat on my side and I may not even notice it. The sound I heard was loud, close and scared the daylights out of me although it paled in comparison to what made the sound.
I looked over to my right and roughly 15 to 20 feet away was a massive humpback whale. If I took 2 paddle strokes and reached out, I could have touched its back. There were 2 sections of the whale sticking out of the water. This confused me a bit because I couldn’t tell if it was 2 separate whales, or two sections of the same whale. In any case, each section was the size of my Honda Odyssey van and I wasn’t going to stick around to find out. One slap of the tail or a nice jump from the whale and I would be toast.
I was wondering why there were so many diving, tour and fishing boats out in the water today. I kept passing them and thought nothing of it other than I was glad that their businesses had customers in a bad economy. I was thinking later about if the whale jumped out of the water and landed on me and one of the ‘whale watching’ tourists got it on video…what would that look like?
Once I saw the whale I said a number of expletives, got on my knees and paddled as fast as I possibly could to get out of the area while saying a few prayers at the same time. I wish I had my video camera but almost never take it with me when I go by myself. Also, I’m not sure I would have stuck around long enough to get a video because I was just too close to give me any feeling of safety.
We did a downwinder yesterday and Harris Chang got frazzled when he saw an 8 foot shark following him. I saw him fall and then as I paddled next to him he told me about it. I fell about a minute later and got back on the board so fast that I barely got wet. lol. With that fresh in my mind, today’s experience scared the xxxx out of me but at least it gives a good story to tell.