"Thrilling" is an understatement to describe the humpback whales that have been visiting Mill Bay in B.C. the past few months.
One stunning photo, captured by John Lichtenwald last weekend, shows just how close the massive animals have been getting as they pursue herring to feed on.
"It was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life," Lichtenwald told The Huffington Post B.C. in an email Friday. He and his wife live in the town and he ran for his camera when they spotted whales in the bay.
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"The water and light were on our side and the memory is well embedded," he said.
It's common for orcas to visit the Vancouver Island waters, but the sight of humpbacks has been thrilling area visitors and boaters alike since late July, said Owen Pipe.
Pipe, who works at the Mill Bay Marina about 30 kilometres north of Victoria, said he's been hearing about humpback sightings every two days.
One even came within touching distance of people standing on the dock.
Check out more of Lichtenwald's whale photos:
Close whale encounters have been delighting people in B.C. recently.
An even closer encounter happened to a kayaker near the San Juan Islands in Washington, just south of B.C., when an entire pod of orcas headed her way.
Michelle Feis called the encounter, "pure luck."