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Enormous whale circles small boat in rare event captured on video

BNQT logo BNQT 5/14/2018 Pete Thomas
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Sharks are known to circle boats at times, but on Saturday a 60-foot fin whale arched its massive body and circled the bow of a 26-foot inflatable vessel, leaving passengers and crew in awe.

"The encounter of a lifetime today, as a fin whale more than twice the size of our boat swims a complete circle around us," Capt. Ryan Lawler, of Newport Coastal Adventure in Newport Beach, Ca., wrote on his Facebook video description (Facebook video is shorter and contains sound.)

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Rare aerial footage of this "mugging" behavior, more common among smaller humpback whales, was captured by Mark Girardeau of Orange County Outdoors.

a boat in the water: File Photo © File Photo File Photo

Fin whales are second in size only to blue whales. They can measure nearly 80 feet and weigh about 70 tons. The mammals are sleek and swift, and often elusive, but sometimes curious.

a body of water: File Photo © File Photo File Photo

Fin whales prey on shrimp-like krill and small schooling fish, and several fin whales have been spotted off Southern California in recent weeks.

Blue whales, which can measure 90-plus feet and weigh 150 tons, are starting to show in the region as well.

-Video and photos are courtesy of ©Mark Girardeau for Newport Coastal Adventure

Related: The Right and Wrong Ways to Interact With Wild Animals While Traveling [Provided by Travel + Leisure]

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