Divers Capture What It’s Like to Almost Get Eaten by a Massive Whale

If you’re afraid of swimming in the ocean due to a fear of the unknown below you, you might want to skip over the post. A group of divers off the coast of California got a scare recently when they had an extremely close call with large humpback whales. They almost found themselves in the mouths of the feeding whales, and multiple cameras were there to capture what happened (note: the video above contains some strong language).

The two divers were floating in the water near Avila Beach in southern California. They had cameras strapped to their heads, and were capturing underwater footage while whales fed on fish nearby. Other group members were standing on a nearby boat with cameras as well.

Footage captured by one of the diver’s head-cams shows that the water was dark, murky, and quiet when suddenly a huge school of fish rumbled to the surface and began swirling around the divers. What happened next was crazy: two humpback whales broke through the surface of the water in unison just feet away from the divers, chomping down on large mouthfuls of fish:

A still frame showing how close the whales came to getting a mouthful of diver

A still frame from the video showing how close the whales came to getting a mouthful of divers

An animated GIF of the incident created by USA Today

Adult humpback whales weigh roughly 79,000 pounds and measure up to 52 feet long. Here’s an illustration showing the size of one when placed next to a human diver:


The crazy encounter resulted in some amazing footage and still frames, but the divers probably weren’t in much real danger: humpback whales have a diet consisting of tiny krill and small fish — they don’t feed on humans.

Image credits: Footage and still frames by Jay Hebrard, Francis Antigua, Jeremy Bonnett, and Shawn Stamback

  • Michael Thompson

    They could of still taken the divers underwater for quite sometime before they realise.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    Category 1 Kaiju
    Codename: Humpback

  • lololalallll

    OH GOD, I’D POO.

  • angelgenius27

    Wow that is just jaw dropping!

  • Erin Laverty

    Clearly not keeping a safe distance and disregarding their safety and the whale’s habitat, terrible

  • Tom Bradley Jr.

    We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

  • Jaco

    here we go…the whale’s habitat…you mean they shouldn’t dive in the ocean?

  • Matthew Wagg

    That was truly awe inspiring

  • harumph

    They were most definitely in danger. Just because a whale only feeds on tiny fish doesn’t mean it can’t accidentally kill a human very easily. It’s best not to mislead people into thinking that this sort of diving is without its dangers. If either of them were just a few feet over, they could have easily been crushed or drown.

  • gareth

    A bit dum!

  • Charles Tribbey

    Whale’s said, “lets scare the hell out of the humans!”

  • Tuesday Wang

    I don’t eat ants either, but sometimes they just fall into my drink.. and get swallowed.. Even if these divers got stuck in the whale’s esophagus.. not fun. Lol.

  • Gman

    wanna chup? oh no bro, i only eat plankton.. (beached az)

  • Erin Laverty

    There are rules governing how close you are allowed to come toward whales and orcas for a reason, and also usually fines. They are trying to survive, teach their young, ect, and it is disturbing to them to have hoards of humans in their way just so you can say you got close to a whale. It actually affects their abilities to feed and so on. Stop being so selfish and give them the space they need to live without interference from us. We don’t have the right just because we can to always interfere with nature.

  • Nick

    Brings new meaning to the phrase “sleep with the fishes”

  • Brian Gray

    By all means ‘dive in the ocean’ but it’s a big ass ocean and they picked that exact spot to get in the face of the whales – so yes, they are/were in the wrong. These kind of incidents (when they go wrong) are why idiotic legislation has to be put in place to stop people from getting even remotely close to wildlife – which ultimately affects all of us.

  • Tim

    Please spare us this condescending rubbish. The divers probably knew the risks involved, just as any wildlife photographer does and they have as much right to be there filming as the whales do feeding. Conservation and education go hand-in-hand.

  • Tim

    “it is disturbing to them to have hoards of humans in their way”

    Oh please, It was TWO divers. It didn’t look like their feeding abilities were jeopardised to me. In fact i saw them catch lots of fish! I doubt they would even notice or care if they swallowed the divers up! Without footage like this our appreciation of these great creatures would be considerably less, it promotes awareness and understanding of complex ecosystems which helps to promote conservation. We have to get close to study them so we can understand how to conserve them. I’m sure the divers have the utmost respect for the whales and probably know a lot more about them than you. They are not doing any harm by being there observing.

  • bgrady413

    I am with you on this, none of you would even know what their habitats would be if it weren’t’ for guys like these risking themselves so we can learn more about them. I don’t see any malicious behavior on there part, its not like there is a clear marker of the whales habitat, even if there was, id be more worried about the birds pooping in the water those whales are drinking up.

  • Bladeistrue

    Whales are such show offs
    They were lucky they weren’t great great whites…

  • skhpcola

    “but the divers probably weren’t in much real danger”

    I would classify being swallowed–unintentionally, even–by a ginormous whale as “real danger.”

  • decisivemoment

    I’d say they were in danger. Get crushed underwater in their mouths and then released and spat out, by which point you’ve got more broken bones and lacerations than even the best emergency room can handle, if that is you haven’t already drowned in their mouth. And another sad part is the whale would probably have genuinely been upset about it as well, trying to nurse what by now is a mangled body back to health and with all the best intentions, getting in the way of rescuers.

  • spellcheck4U

    It’s dumb, not dum, you dummy!

  • Bill

    I really think you need to re-phrase the part in the article “but the divers probably weren’t in much real danger”.

    Maybe no real danger of being eaten, I’ll give you that. But you try to put your body in front of a moving object that weighs 79,000 pounds and see if you don’t get injured.

    The “real” danger here is being in the path of a whale gathering food to eat. If any one of the divers were right on top of the surfacing whales, I would almost guarantee they would have multiple broken bones at the least. Then there is the issue of the whale landing on you or being being hit by their flippers.

  • Larry Raio

    They were watching whales spouting 1 mile away. They had no idea these whales were even close to them until it happened (my neighbor was on the boat). The divers were not whale watching, they were sport diving. The whales came to them which cannot be helped and is not against the law. You cannot knowingly approach too close to the whales, but if they come close to you, that is just the way it is.

  • bingo

    cut your hair, have a wash & get a sense of humor you hippy. They weren’t doing any harm, lighten up!