Brad is filming seagulls when the water suddenly explodes and he starts screaming

Even if you know there are humpback whales around, you can still be taken aback when they suddenly surface. That was certainly the experience one man had while boating off the coast of Alaska.

Whales in general are truly awe-inspiring marine mammals, but among whales, humpbacks are especially impressive. They’re best known for putting on a spectacular performance when they surface to breathe. Instead of keeping it low key, they love to jump high out of the water — this has made them a favorite of whale watchers. It’s is all the more dramatic because humpbacks are quite large, anywhere from 40 to 50 feet long and weighing around 40 tons.

Once threatened with extinction, the world’s humpback population has rebounded in the last half-century. Still, there are only about 80,000 of them on the planet (and by today’s standards, that actually makes them a relatively abundant whale species). Despite all the progress, humpbacks do face ongoing threats from human activity, entanglement in fishing nets perhaps being the most serious.

Brad Rich was in his boat just off the coast of Seward, Alaska when he had an amazing whale encounter. As you’ll see in the video posted below, he was filming the nearby scenery and dramatic low clouds. He was also hoping to see some whales. He knew they were in the area and hoped the seagulls would give a clue a to their whereabouts. For a seagull, a humpback whale is a beautiful sight: small fish get out of the way, so if there’s a whale, a nice lunch is sure to be swimming nearby.

The gulls were some distance away, so Brad probably expected the humpbacks would be somewhere over in their direction. So it was all the more surprising when an entire pod of them surfaced right next to his boat! We don’t know if he was just kidding about his pants.

How did you like the way the pod of whales snuck up on this boater? Let us know in the comments at Facebook and don’t forget to like and share!