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A little close for comfort! Kayakers stunned when 40ft whale rises from water just a few feet away from them

Casually minding their own business, the kayakers were paddling along trying to spot whales in the distance at Monterey Bay in California, USA

These kayakers were joined by an unexpected guest during a gentle paddle - when a 40ft whale rose from the water just a few feet away.

Casually minding their own business the kayakers were paddling along trying to spot whales in the distance at Monterey Bay in California, USA.

But suddenly the 80,000lb beast rose from the water almost within touching distance of the shocked pair, who couldn't believe their eyes as the once-in-a-lifetime scene unfolded.

Laws state that nobody can approach a whale within 100 yards of them, but the mammoth mammal decided to take them by surprise instead.

The incredible moment was captured by Giancarlo Thomae, a marine biologist from Moss Landing in California, while on a day trip whale watching last weekend.

A kayaker looks on as the once-in-a-lifetime moment unfolds. (GIANCARLO THOMAE/CATERS NEWS)
He said: 'We were kayak whale watching and the whales just came right up to us. For being some of the largest animals on the planet they were very graceful.

'The whole encounter that happened between Karen and I lasted about three-quarters of a second. The whale dove three-feet from her kayak and didn't get one drop of water in it.

'Humpback whales are very curious and playful animals and get very friendly with kayakers and boaters - although maybe sometimes a bit too friendly.'