Skip to content
Divers Nearly Swallowed by Humpback Whales

Divers Have Close Encounter With Humpback Whales

(DiverWire) Shawn Stamback and a fellow diver almost got caught between two humpback whales and a tasty school of fish.  The frightening near-miss was captured on video.

Stamback, 39, is the owner of Slodivers, a charter scuba diving company that specializes in diving, spearfishing, and snorkeling in the Morro Bay area on California’s central coast. Fellow diver Jay Hebrard happened to be recording when the incident occurred just off Souza Rock. As the video shows, the water began to churn around the two divers as a large school of sardines raced into the area. Less than a second after, two massive humpback whales breached the water with mouthfuls of fish, just feet away from Stamback and the other diver.

Diver Close Encounter with Humpback WhaleThe divers fled as the humpback whales rolled over, both men swimming hard for the boat. No one was injured, but one of the men in the video makes a remark about “cleaning his wetsuit.”

Humpback whales stay mainly to frigid waters, but do sometimes travel to tropical regions to feed. Humpbacks only feed in summer, gorging themselves on krill and small fish, and they live through the winter on the stored fat. The encounter between whale and man was as unexpected as they come – no whales had been sighted in the area that day. Luckily for the divers, humpback whales don’t eat people, and were probably unaware the divers were even present. In fact, despite their great size, a humpback whale would have trouble eating something so large – their throats and mouths just are designed for very small fish.

“I still don’t know how they got that close to us without us knowing,” said Stamback, in an interview with, “I was probably like six to eight feet away.”

The original YouTube video chronicling the encounter between Stamback and the whales has been seen by over 7 million viewers and counting.

Divers Have Close Encounter with Humpback Whale
Taken from the diver’s camera as the sardines swam swept past