Derek Bond wondered what he had done to deserve the best front row seat of his life.
Three humpback whales surrounded the sport fisherman’s boat, breaching and fin slapping so close he could smell the air pushed out of their blowholes.
“It came up for a breath (next to the boat) and it exhaled,” he said laughing. “Its breath smelled like rotten garbage.”
Jigging for salmon near Kitty Coleman beach south of Campbell River, Bond said the whales came so close he could have reached over and touched one. The retired Victoria resident said one humpback actually rubbed the bottom of his boat.
Bond turned off his motor as they began to approach and enjoyed the show for approximately 40 minutes as the three whales slowly submerged and reemerged.
Despite the proximity, he said he was never worried they would capsize his boat and that he was simply in awe the entire time.
“I was truly blessed, it was just an amazing experience, once in a lifetime,” Bond continued. “I was the only boat out there… not that I am complaining, it was pretty incredible.”