San Diego Man Shares Close Encounter With Whale

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A San Diego man kayaking off the coast of Bird Rock enjoyed an encounter with a whale the size of a school bus. NBC 7's Steven Luke shares the whale tale, which includes video footage of the seaside surprise. (Published Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014)

    One San Diego man’s New Year’s resolution to “be more active” led him to an encounter he never expected.

    Reef Mowers  said he was alone in his kayak about four miles off the coast of Bird Rock Monday afternoon when “I heard the noise. I thought it was some dolphins or a sea lion, which I usually see and is fairly common. Turned out to be a nice surprise.”

    That “nice surprise” was the size of a school bus: a whale coming closer and closer.

    “I was a little worried. I thought if this whale came up underneath me, it might be a different story, especially with no one out there to look after me” Mowers said.

    Birch Aquarium at Scripps Offers Whale Watching

    [DGO] Birch Aquarium at Scripps Offers Whale Watching
    NBC 7's Weekend Morning Newscast team speaks with Audrey Evans of Birch Aquarium at Scripps about whale watching season in San Diego. Birch Aquarium has partnered with Flagship Cruises and Events to offer local whale watching tours now through Apr. 13. (Published Saturday, Dec 28, 2013)

    At one point, the whale emerged roughly 15 to 20 feet from his kayak.

    “I just sat there. I didn’t paddle,” Mowers said “I just let him make his choices where he wanted to go.”

    Mowers caught his whale encounter on camera. He's now encouraging others to join him in following their New Year's resolutions.

    According to the Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project, a record was set last month for the number of gray whales spotted along the California coast during the annual southern migration. The census report counted 368 gray whale sightings – blasting the December 2012 record of 182 out of the water.

    Researchers say most of the whales were swimming from the Bering Sea to Baja California in Mexico. Every year more than 20,000 gray whales swim to Baja to mate and give birth.

    Last January, the largest pod of gray whales in 30 years was spotted off the coast of Southern California, near Palos Verdes.

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