A solo British rower embarking on a journey across the Atlantic Ocean received an unexpected visit from a large pod of whales, creating a breathtaking spectacle captured on video. Tom Waddington, a ski coach from the UK documenting his 2,000-nautical-mile voyage to raise funds for the mental health charity Mind, shared the encounter on his Instagram account. The remarkable scene unfolded about 100 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland as the whales swam around his boat, blowing bubbles and playfully rocking it.

Waddington described the experience as a special treat, marveling at the sight of over 1,000 long-finned pilot whales surrounding him. Despite his love for the encounter, he expressed concern about the whales potentially hitting the rudder of his boat. His fears were realized when one of the whales collided with the side of the boat, leaving him visibly shaken.

Recent years have seen numerous reports of dangerous boat-ramming incidents involving orca whales, leading to speculations about their motivations. While experts remain unsure about the reasons behind these incidents, a prevailing theory suggests that the playful behavior of teenage killer whales off the coasts of Europe’s Iberian Peninsula may be a factor. Another theory posits that the whales may seek retaliation for the threat of entanglement with fishing lines.

Fortunately, Waddington managed to escape unscathed as the pilot whales eventually moved on after he attempted to row away from the pod for two hours. Reflecting on the encounter, he described it as both amazing and frightening, highlighting the awe-inspiring yet perilous nature of the close encounter with the majestic creatures.