The third in our triage of close encounters of the Marine kind off sunny California. And while we’ve seen some pretty funky sh*t on this blog, especially off the coast of California, I gotta say this one will make you soil yourself more than any other. The scene, a surfer lazily taking in a nice day off Santa Cruz, California. And then…watch. The third tag I’ve added to this post sums it up pretty nicely.
There’s something about the waters of California that makes for some of the sickest, most incredible human/marine life interactions you could think of. As in, the kind that no one would believe, unless you had the video to prove it. In this case, the human is kayaker/diver Rick Coleman. And the creature? None other than the largest animal on the planet.
Coleman encountered several blue whales off Redondo Beach California, near San Diego. As fate had it, he had his handy underwater camera with him. When he saw a fifty foot blue whale he knew he was (almost literally) onto something really, really big. And he’s got some amazing video to prove it. At one point, you can see that the whale – the blue whale being the largest creature in the history of the Earth – come up underneath him and almost over turn his puny little kayak.
To quote Keanu Reeves from The Matrix…”WHOA”.
The encounter is not without controversy. At one point, Coleman left his kayak and took a dip with baby blue, leaving his wife anxious for him to resurface. And some feel that his actions, of paddling next to the blues as they fed, borders on harassment and violates several marine interaction regulations.
You could make that argument, though considering that his kayak had no motor, unlike some really pesky whale watchers here in the Pacific Northwest, and his actions had minimal impact on the whales’ behaviour, if at all. My thoughts? I’d probably crap my pants if I saw a blue whale surface by my kayak, and then admittedly to the same thing as Coleman! Not condoning getting so close to whales, but, OMG, enough said. Just watch this amazing video!!!
Think of surfing and the obvious names pop up: Hawaii, Jeffery’s Bay and California. And there are plenty of other popular surfing destinations, but sometimes there’s ridiculous surf in other places that don’t register in the collective surfing conscious. As with any form of adventure travel, in the surfing world it pays to get off the beaten track. Check out six surf destinations you’d never think of at gadling.com
Ask any shark freak (like myself) and they’ll tell you there’s a specific pecking order among shark tourism destinations around the world. I mean, you can see reef sharks pretty much anywhere near the equator, but where do you go for the big boys? Cause we all wanna see a great white shark, correct?
That’s a good question. And you’ll get different opinions on the best shark tourism spots around the globe. South Africa’s good. Australia’s interesting. There’s California. And right in the middle of the Pacific, there’s Hawaii.
The fiftieth state has a little of everything when it comes to all things sharky. I was there in January of 2010 and had a short but very enjoyable dive off the North Shore with Hawaii Shark Encounters. At that time of year it’s usually galapagos and sandbar sharks, although tiger sharks appear in the fall.
But the reason for this post, is that something very special happened, on December 18th, 2005. On that day, a great white shark made a very rare appearance, to Jimmy Hall and the crew at Hawaii Shark Encounters. A beautiful, 20 foot female great white dazzled Hall and the gang for 45 minutes. And Hall left the cage and swam with this marvelous creature. Read about the encounter here.
Sadly, the encounter was a swan song for Hall, as he passed away while BASE jumping just two years later. But the legacy of this remarkable interaction lives on. Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean.
Are there great white sharks off Hawaii? On a very, very few special occasions, the answer is yes. But they’re so rare that it’s pretty much assured that you won’t see the great white in Hawaiian waters any time soon.
And by the way, enjoy this video, because to date it’s the only time a great white shark has ever been filmed off Hawaii.
I have no idea where this is, I’m thinking California maybe, but I am just so digging this video, of these bad-ass mountain bikers who do the 35 foot leap into the air and the subsequently landing into this gentle pond. Love the music, love the picture, love some of these ridiculous moves these guys pull before the pond landing. And with close to two million hits on YouTube, it looks like a lot of folks are digging it also.
Want proof that surfers aren’t on your typical great white’s diet? California paddler Chuck Patterson was paddle surfing recently off San Onofre State Park in California when he happened upon two great white sharks circling his board. He went out the next day, same time, same place, with an underwater camera, hoping his fishy friends would show. Sure enough, within five minutes, two juvenile great whites returned, and put on a little show for 15 minutes. The best action starts a minute into the video. Very cool!