A surfer in Santa Cruz, California found out why it’s a bad idea to get too close to humpback whales while they’re feeding when she almost got swallowed whole. Barb Roettger was recording some footage of another surfer and a kayak when the water directly in front of her appeared to come alive. Seconds later, two humpback whales shot out of the water and grabbed mouthfuls of the anchovies they had herded for their lunch.

Just a few feet closer and Roettger could’ve found herself in an interesting new residence.

Humpback whales can feed in an area that is up to a square quarter mile and it’s recommended that people stay at least 100 yards back so they can be safe while whale watching.

This was an experience Roettger will never forget and one she says gave her a greater respect for whales.

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