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Belly of a whale: Diver nearly 'krilled' off California coast

Screenshot via YouTube

Humpback whales have been hugely overlooked for their comedic timing.

In a world where clownfish and crustaceans get all the funny parts, whales are taking back what's theirs, beginning with an I'm-going-to-eat-you gag aimed at some divers off the California coast.

According to a YouTube video posted over the weekend, the divers, out with a Morro Bay-based SCUBA charter, quickly found themselves in the speedy path of two lunge-feeding, multi-ton mammals.

Of course the perfectly synchronized giants were never really going to swallow or eat the divers — that's not physically possible for baleen whales. Regardless, the near miss could have had serious consequences (Kelly Rowland, looking in your direction).

Gawker reports that one of the divers believed they were a quarter mile away from the whales when they entered the water.

A NOAA marine mammal biologist told Grind TV/Yahoo Sports that it was unclear from the video if divers were in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) — a law that protects all marine mammals from harassment and other dangers.

VIDEO WARNING: As one might expect from a man who is nearly slurped up by a whale, this video contains profanity. 



The Marine Mammal Protection Act and NOAA Fisheries have various resources on ocean etiquette and the rules of responsible marine wildlife viewing.

The short, broad version — "Admire from a distance for your safety and their protection. Never touch, swim with, feed, or harm in the wild."

NOAA's whale-watching rules for California include:

  • ALWAYS be alert & avoid disturbing whales or changing their normal behavior
  • ALWAYS attempt to stay 100 yards away from a whale
  • DO NOT get between two whales
  • DO NOT chase any whales
  • DO NOT feed any whales

If a situation arises where you cannot avoid a whale or whales by 100 yards:

  • Operate at a no-wake speed
  • Do not move into the path of a whale
  • Do not move faster than a whale 
  • Do not make erratic speed or directional changes, unless to avoid collision with a whale