Karen Hatch, 43, of Santa Cruz said she was kayaking on Monterey Bay with marine biologist Giancarlo Thomae April 12 when the massive marine mammals came within feet of her kayak before diving under the surface, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported Tuesday.
"It was incredible. It was a very humbling experience," Hatch said. "I was struck by how obviously sensitive and aware they are of their surroundings."
Hatch, who estimated one of the whales came within 15 feet of her kayak, said Thomae was able to snap a picture of her with one whale close in the background.
"It turned out to be a fantastic day. Better than we ever could dream of," Hatch said. "It was just a stroke of luck that he got the photo the way that he did."