One kayaker was lucky enough to enjoy a very up close encounter with an enormous 40ft, 80,000lb humpback whale in Monterey Bay, California, this week.
Karen Hatch, of Kayak Connection in Moss Landing, was out whale watching when she experienced the amazing moment.
Marine biologist and photographer Giancarlo Thomae, who managed to capture the moment on camera, said he had seen a humpback whale come to the surface 50 times the week before, so told Karen about it and they headed out on their kayaks.
Thomae, who works as a naturalist on whale-watching trips with Sanctuary Cruises, told Fox News: "The whale came to the surface next to Karen for only about two seconds."
He told SFGate.com that whales had been known to cavort around the Sanctuary Cruises boats for more than an hour at a time recently.
Under federal rules, humans are prohibited from approaching whales within 100 years, but some whale watchers head out and wait silently in the hope that the animals will swim right up to them.
And Karen got an extreme close-up - saying her heart was doing "flip flops" - in the moment of a lifetime.
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