A whale almost swallowed a seer after accidentally throwing it into the churned sea while on a feeding frenzy.
Marino Gherbavaz, 51, and his daughter Gillian, 22, were on a whale watching cruise in Algoa Bay, South Africa, on April 3 when the disaster was almost on.
Incredible footage shows a hungry Bryde whale breaking out of the water with his mouth wide open looking for a snack near the Raggy Charters boat.
The huge animal – which can weigh up to 40 tons – hit the side of the boat and rocked it violently.
Marino flew into the water.
Fortunately for the father on the water, another boat was nearby and quickly pulled him aboard.
Gillian from Gqeberha, South Africa said: “When I realized it was my father in the water, I panicked. I couldn’t understand why he was in the sea.
“He’s usually not the kind of fuss guy so I was very confused. When I knew he was fine and he could swim to the boat on his own, I relaxed.
“The whale and dolphins had moved on so I could see no imminent danger.
“When he was back in the boat, I went to him and said, ‘What did you do this for?’ And we both laughed so I knew he was fine.
“A huge pod of common dolphins rounded the fish into a bait ball, and the fish tried to use the boat as cover. Then the whale took a lunge feed and hit us.
“There was so much excitement around the event, because of all the excitement and tremendous variation in marine life that went with the feeding frenzy, that we were all busy watching the show and I honestly thought we had a rock until I saw the clasp.
“It felt like the boat had stopped like a car and there was a loud bang so I thought we were going to hit a rock.
“There was another rubber dinghy on site – they had informed us about the whales – and they came to help my father. It was very quick and he was back in the boat before I could really worry.”
The boat’s captain had driven home the day he received information about the sardines and whales, which resulted in a change of course.
“We’d been out since about 8 a.m. and got to where the whale was at around 11:30 a.m. and shortly after the whale hit the boat in the middle of a feeding frenzy,” said Gillian.
“My whole family was on the boat, as was my aunt and uncle. We took a similar trip in December and loved it so much that we decided to go back.
“We’ll probably go many more times in the future.”
Raggy Charters is the oldest Marine Eco Tour company that has been working with a nature conservation project in Africa since 1992.
Owner Lloyd Edwards said: “Luckily the whale didn’t hit us in the middle or the boat would have had real problems. It was a fleeting blow to the side.
“The whale really wanted to get to the sardines, which had been herded into a bait ball by the common dolphins that chased it along the coast.
“It still left a hole in the boat, but we’ve already fixed that and filed a report with the Coast Guard immediately.
“We have a 100 percent safety record.”