Humpback Whale Appears to Swallow 2 Kayakers in Wild Video Filmed Off the Coast of California
A peaceful day of whale watching took an unexpected turn for two California kayakers this week.
Julie McSorley and Liz Cottriel were kayaking off the coast of Avila Beach, California, on Monday when a humpback whale with its mouth agape surfaced underneath them, Fox 26 News reported.
In video footage of the scary incident obtained by PEOPLE, the two women were sitting in a yellow kayak, amid other kayakers and paddle boarders enjoying some whale watching on the water — when suddenly, their boat is lifted out of the water by a huge whale.
When the whale plops back into the water, the duo's kayak lands upside-down, and someone off-camera can be heard saying "oh s—!"
While in the video it looks as if the pair were almost swallowed, McSorley and Cottriel clarified to Fox 26 News that while it appears the whale had their kayak in its mouth in some video footage, it didn't — they were simply lifted out of the water.
The women, who were unharmed in the encounter, said that they were initially watching the whales from about 30 feet away.
"I still have an adrenaline rush!" McSorley said of the surprising experience. Cottriel said, "I was infatuated by them and in awe, but I never expected one to be right here, in my face!"
"I saw the big pool of fish, the big bait ball come up out of the water," McSorely said in an interview with the news station. "I saw the whale come up. I thought, 'Oh, no! It's too close.'"
"All of a sudden, I lifted up, and I was in the water," she added.
Cottriel added to the station that the whale was "literally" in her face.
"I'm thinking to myself, 'I'm gonna push.' Like, I'm gonna push a whale out of the way!" Cottriel said, adding that she feared for her life in that moment. "It was the weirdest thought. I'm thinking, 'I'm dead. I'm dead.' I thought it was gonna land on me. Next thing I know, I'm underwater."