Whale-ly scary adventure

Two kayakers found themselves in an unbelievable situation . . . they were briefly swallowed by a humpback whale! 

Julie McSorley and Liz Cottriel from California were enjoying a kayaking expedition in San Luis Obispo Bay in California when they were unexpectedly toppled into the water by a surfacing humpback whale.

Videos and photos taken by fellow kayakers captured the heart-stopping moment when the women and their kayak were seemingly swallowed by the massive mammal. 

While the incident happened too quickly for the friends to confirm, the evidence suggests that they were indeed caught inside the whale’s oral cavity, although only for a brief moment.

Reflecting on the experience, McSorley shared a valuable lesson learned: “Whales need their space.” 

She admitted that they had ventured too close to the feeding zone of the whales and acknowledged that kayakers should keep a safe distance from these majestic creatures.

McSorley, having already observed whales once before, convinced her friend to join her for a new adventure. Little did they know that it would turn into an unforgettable encounter with a curious humpback.


The friends had been tracking a pair of humpbacks for about an hour, observing the feeding patterns and anticipating the appearance of swarms of fish known as bait balls that signal a feeding frenzy. As they sat peacefully in their kayak, waiting for the next bait ball to emerge, they suddenly found themselves surrounded by the tiny fish.

In the blink of an eye, their kayak was upended, and they were plunged into the water. 

Cottriel, in a moment of panic, saw what she believed to be the inside of the whale’s mouth descending upon them and instinctively raised her hand in a desperate attempt to ward off a massive creature with her bare hand!

Both women were disoriented as they resurfaced, unsure of their whereabouts in relation to the whale. It was only when other kayakers rushed to their aid that they discovered the unbelievable truth. They had briefly been inside the whale’s mouth.

McSorley and Cottriel only fully comprehended the gravity of their encounter after watching the video footage later. They were amazed at the extraordinary chain of events that led them to briefly share space with one of the ocean’s gentle, but still very dangerous, giants.

Compiled by staff writer

Pictured above: The moment Julie McSorley and Liz Cottriel were swallowed by the hungry whale

Image source: Twitter

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