November 04, 2011
The term "surf's up" will take on a new definition for a Santa Cruz surfer who was doubling as a whale watcher earlier this week when two massive humpback whales shot out of the water in a sardine feeding frenzy and very nearly gobbled the surfer up with their Jonah-sized gulps.
Barb Roettger's amazing video shows a surfer and kayaker calmly chatting in the scenic waters of the Santa Cruz coastline when all of a sudden the whales invade the California air.
According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary staff, Santa Cruz Harbor Patrol, California Fish and Game and the Coast Guard have been patrolling the coast of Santa Cruz keeping whale watchers at bay while the massive mammals feed on sardines and other bait fish, fattening up for the winter.
Humpbacks are a protected species and any action "that forces a whale to change its behavior constitutes 'harassment' under federal law" with fines ranging from $2,500 to $32,500.