Too close for comfort

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Don McLeish took this photo as he motored away from the whales. Photo: Don McLeish

Don McLeish took this photo as he motored away from the whales. Photo: Don McLeish

Everyone gets excited when they see breaching whales, but federal law states that vessels must maintain a minimum of 100 yards from them to ensure their safety and that of the people on board.

Don McLeish kept his distance when he spotted three humpback whales, including a calf, off Kaanapali Beach, Maui, as he motored in his Zodiac. But when he saw a small sailboat heading toward the whales, he began taking photos. In one image, a breaching whale appears to be very close to landing on the boat.

McLeish believes the whale was sending a message to stay away from the mother and calf, according to a report in the Daily Mail. No whales or humans were injured in the incident, but it was a very close call.

“We had been watching them and felt the boat was headed on a course that might intersect the spot where the pair had dived down,” McLeish told the Daily Mail. “I have seen hundreds and possibly even thousands of breaches but never one with the proximity to the catamaran and the nice splash at the end.”

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