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Humpback Whale Encounter

During the months of March and April, whales begin their migration North to Alaska along the California coast. This is an optimal time to be able to see a Blue, Humpback or Gray whale right off the coast in Malibu while paddling with us! Although conditions vary during these months due to wind and swell, we often get calm days that allow us this rare opportunity to witness these whales in their natural habitat and migration.

I’ve seen several whales migrating along the coast (a few hundred yards offshore) and I’ve tried to get up close. Whales are surprisingly fast moving in the water and even though I’ve paddled as fast as I could to see them, they always seemed illusive.

One day a few years ago, I had group of 5 paddlers just off shore in the Latigo Beach area of Malibu (Los Angeles County) and I spotted a whale breaching about 500 yards away. I quickly pointed it out to my group as it appeared to be heading in our direction…

As it got closer we saw a second one and then a third Humpback breaching the surface and blowing air out as the whales stayed on their path in our direction. I told my group to remain calm and stop paddling. I turned on my camera to capture this incredible sight as two of the three whales dove down under me simultaneously and swam right under my paddle board… admittedly I was a bit nervous, because these are large mammals and they move so smoothly and quickly through the water. My group was completely excited to have witnessed this and everyone received a copy of my video after the lesson.