Close encounter of the fin kind

French tourists get an amazing video of the giant finback whale feeding, then diving right under their feet
Finback whale The finback, or fin, whale is the second largest mammal on Earth. (© Jg1153 |

The oceans are vast. They cover about 70% of the planet. When you think about its size like that, you can begin to understand how some of the planet's largest animals — such as colossal squids and blue whales — can still be so difficult to find. Sure, they're huge animals. But in an area as large and deep as the ocean, they might as well be as tiny as an ant. There's a lot of water to hide in out there.

That said, if you know the right places, you can beat the odds. Large baleen whales, for example, return to the same feeding areas year after year. These are places with high concentrations of the whales' favourite food: krill. It's not a guarantee that you'll see whales, but you're more likely to get lucky here than elsewhere. Or as in the case of Eric Mouellic, you could get very very lucky.

A whale of a meeting

Tadoussac Quebec
Tadoussac, Quebec is right next to an area of water that is a prime spot to watch whales and marine life of many kinds. (Google Earth)

Mouellic, who is from France, is on holiday right now in Quebec with his family. This past Sunday, he went whale watching at Tadoussac, Quebec. This is near where the St. Lawrence and Saguenay rivers meet. It's a prime spot to see marine life in its natural habitat. But even then, Mouellic experienced something that even veteran whale-watching tour guides haven't seen in their whole career.

A giant finback whale feeding right next to a boat before passing right under their feet!

Below, you can see the video for yourself. As Mouellic told the CBC, "[The whale-watching trip] was already marvelous. Then there were these two finbacks, one of which passed under the Zodiac [inflatable boat] without touching the boat."

This moment, caught on the video, shows the massive whale nearly swimming right into the boat. Then at the last moment it drifts underneath, disappearing into the water. Mouellic said that he was pretty nervous for a sec. After all, this is the second largest animal on the planet. "But it was, in fact, magic," he said.

We couldn't agree more!

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