01/16/2014 08:47 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Silly Whale, Piggyback Rides Are For Humans!

Kayaker Berthold Hinrichs got several tons more than he bargained for after a humpback whale nearly collided with him during a trip to Gyllefjord in Senja, Norway, reports the BBC.

The close encounter happened on Jan. 10 as Hinirchs was navigating among a group of orca and humpback whales in northern Norway.

“They were hunting herring and they are very careful not to harm you," Berthold recounted, according to Storyful. "One humpback came up just beside me [then] I was completely on the back of him."

An endangered species, humpback whales are gentle giants. They can grow to between 48 and 62.5 feet long and weigh up to 40 tons, per National Geographic.

Powerful swimmers capable of covering long distances, humpback whales regularly leap from the water, much to the shock of any nearby humans like this kayaker, shocked by a humpback in California in 2012.

But Discovery notes that these types of encounters are not without potential hazards. While Hinrichs was ultimately okay, it's generally a good idea to give the beautiful mammals their space.



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