Julie McSorley and Liz Cottriel were kayaking in San Luis Obispo Bay, California, when the unimaginable happened. The two were devoured by a massive humpback whale and spent a brief minute in its jaws. People nearby captured the entire event on camera, and it happened so quickly that the two women didn’t aware they were in the whale’s mouth until they viewed the tape after the fact.
The event happened in the fall of 2020, when humpback whales were busy in the bay near Avila Beach. Kayakers and paddlers flocked to the area to see them feed, including McSorley. So, when Cottriel returned to visit, McSorley persuaded her companion to attend again, despite her pal’s reservations.
“‘No, I don’t like the ocean,’ she said. Sharks frighten me. I’m afraid of anything in the water that I can’t see.’ And I foolishly told her, ‘Oh, they’ll never throw you over.’ The kayaks are really steady. “I’ve never had a problem,” McSorley said.
For the first hour in the water, everything was calm. The two ladies, who were in kayaks and carrying life jackets, would look for swarms of fish, known as “bait balls,” and wait for the whales to feast before moving to that location a few minutes later. McSorley and Cottriel were waiting for the next bait ball when they noticed little fish all around them.
“I knew it was going to be near, but I’d seen whales breaching very next to kayaks before.” “So my thoughts was like, this is going to be extremely awesome,” McSorley explained. “And suddenly the boat rose up, and we were dropped into the sea pretty swiftly.”
Cottriel stated that she could see the whale’s mouth closing in on them and was certain she was doomed. “The next thing I know, I’m submerged.” Fortunately, the women return unhurt, with an incredible story to share.
Below is a video of the incident. You’ve got to see it to believe it.
Julie McSorley and Liz Cottriel were kayaking in San Luis Obispo Bay, California, when they were briefly absorbed by a humpback whale. To believe it, you must see it.