(CBS 8) - Amazing video taken by a kayaker, of a giant blue whale in the waters off Redondo Beach, is going viral.
Rick Coleman tells CBS 8 he bought a head-mounted video camera just three weeks ago, and says the few hundred dollar investment has paid off a thousand fold, now that his incredible experience can be shared with all.
Coleman and his wife were kayaking in early October when a blue whale, approximately 50 feet long, began lunge feeding beside him.
Coleman said, "He was so close and that was all exciting and got you're heart really pumping."
Coleman, an experienced scuba diver, then made a spur of the moment decision to dive in for a mesmerizing underwater view.
His wife Susan anxiously waited for him to resurface, saying, "The fin came close to the water and my reaction was, 'Uh, Rick?'. I didn't scream out but that was my first thought, 'Oh my gosh. He's down there. He's been hit.'"
The whale, however, didn't appear spooked and did not hit Coleman, who said about his underwater experience, "It was peace and relaxation."
Coleman says he hopes his video will help educate the public about whales, but he is in no way encouraging people to go swimming with these powerful and unpredictable mammals.
He said, "I definitely wouldn't recommend that you try and jump in. Trying to get close because it's potentially dangerous."
There has been some debate on Coleman's YouTube page about whale watching guidelines.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 states to "interrupt a whale's normal activity is harassment", but Coleman told CBS 8 his actions did not disturb the mammal.
He said the whales that feed in that area seem to accept paddle boarders and kayakers as part of their environment.