When I am not teaching, there are other things I love to do. Sea kayaking is one of them. I have had some great adventures and have seen some amazing things. One of them is shown below, and on this day, an enormous pod of orca swam through the group I was paddling in. They got very close to us, sometimes less than 10 feet away. The whole time, none of us were in danger, but it reminded us all of how majestic these animals are. Sometimes it is hard to hold a camera. I took so many pictures during this time that my camera quit. A friend took 300 digital pictures. I was able to take fewer than 30 film pictures during the same time.
During the swim through, a bull orca swam directly toward my kayak. The top of the fin was probably 4 feet out of the water. The picture above is not the orca I have described, but gives you an idea of how close they came to us. We definitely had the impression that we were being looked at, but not in a hostile way at all. Orcas of all sizes passed through our group which was still as statues, other than the pictures being taken. Other whale encounters have been similar to this one in that the whales seemed to say, "We see you, and you don't seem to bother us, so we won't bother you."
I forget what kind of whale this was, but she was a surprise to all of us. I paddled directly above her, not touching her of course. I happened to be in her path, and you can see it is not very wide where we were. She was not very big, but much bigger than my boat and I combined. I wish my pictures from a humpback whales encounter, on another trip, were good enough to share, but they are not. We watched two of them playing for quite a while, perhaps 30 minutes, and the whales seemed to acknowledge our presence and show off for us.
Not all days end this way on kayaking trips, but many of them do. This is in the San Juans Islands in Washington.