A video by adventure tourism operator Nick Templeman shows a humpback whale directly beneath his boat.

VIDEO: Humpback rubs against whale-watching boat

Tourism operator describes astonishing encounter

Whale watchers had a rare encounter with a particularly friendly humpback whale on the B.C. coast on Sunday. Cellphone video shows the massive creature rubbing its belly against the hull of an adventure tourism boat.

The footage was captured by Nick Templeman, who runs Campbell River Whale and Bear Excursions.

“It’s definitely not a common occurrence,” said Templeman. “It gave me a new appreciation for humpback whales.”

The events unfolded about two miles from Mitlenatch Island, southeast of Campbell River, where several tour companies were observing the humpback.

They retreated as the whale came closer. But realizing that the immense whale was in the immediate vicinity of his boat, Templeman shut down its motor for safety.

Moments later, it was directly underneath.

In the video, Templeman can be heard exclaiming: “He’s right under the boat! He’s rubbing the hull!”

The whale goes on to frolic in the nearby waters. The passengers were evidently astonished.

“This is insane,” someone says. “He’s so friendly.”

The immense sea creature appears to enjoy the attention, despite the barking of Templeman’s dog, a Siberian husky named Yukon.

At one point in the video, the humpback sprays Templeman with water from its blowhole, prompting him to say “the whole boat needs a shower.”

Templeman later saidthat the Sunday encounter was a rare experience known as a “mugging.” It’s a term applied to humpbacks when they “start checking the boat out, and sorta being friendly towards the boat.”

That includes “spyhopping,” when a whale sticks its head vertically from the water, likely to get a better view.

“They have quite an amazing large eye,” said Templeman. “They’re very aware of their surroundings, and they’ll spin around with that eye and have a look at you. It’s quite surreal.”

The whale also performed a series of rolls, showing off its large pectoral fins.

The whole encounter lasted about 90 minutes, said Templeman.

“Every time I thought about putting the engines back on, that whale was back under the boat,” he said.

Finally, the whale expelled a “nice big red pile of big krill poop,” he said, and then “made one complete turn of the boat, had one more spyhop,” rolled off the bow and flourished its tail, before disappearing into the deep.

Later, a friend of Templeman’s identified the whale.

It turns out this particular creature, which normally swims in waters further south, is known for frequent muggings.

“He is a notorious boat mugger,” said Templeman. “This particular whale has a reputation.”

He added that although the whale was touching the hull, it didn’t cause the boat to rock. The effect was barely discernible for the passengers, he said.

Asked if he felt unsafe, he said “not at all.”

The tourism operator, whose career spans more than 20 years, said that encounters with whales are becoming more common, possibly due to a resurgence in whale populations and ample food supplies in local waters.

“I think it’s something we should all start getting used to,” he said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Rio Tinto donates $50K for Shames Mountain chairlift upgrades

The money was used to purchase the chairlift’s bull wheel replacement last summer

Broken axle caused New Hazelton train derailment: TSB

It could happen again without a different way to inspect trains

Cullen remains uncertain about political future

Says he’ll make decision in early March

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

Terrace resident’s bill banning single-use plastics introduced in Ottawa

MP Nathan Cullen’s presented Ben Korving’s private member’s bill Wednesday

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Most Read