Whip-Slapped by a Whale

Tourist takes one in face

Feb 27, 2014
Outside Magazine
Whale Tail I'm on the Whale Tra

Evening tail splash    StevenBenjamin/Getty Images

Whale watching is usually a subdued, hands-off experience. Not so for Nova Scotia native Chelsea Crawford, who was slapped in the head by the tail of a humpback whale off the Southern California coast last weekend.

As part of her 20th birthday celebration, Crawford was enjoying a close encounter from the dinghy when the ornery whale's tail came down directly on top of her head. “We were about to leave and I said, 'Aw, man, I didn't get to pet one,'" Crawford told reporters. It looks like she spoke too soon.

The video, recorded by a friend, has enjoyed more than a million views in its first four days on YouTube. Crawford is a little bruised but otherwise in good spirits.

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