Boaters get up close and personal with breaching whale off Maui

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A family experienced an amazing encounter while fishing off Maui this weekend.

Kela Fisher says they left Lahaina on her husband’s fishing boat when a whale approached and swam with them for about 20 minutes.

Fisher says they were scared at first.

“We weren’t sure what she was doing, if she was playing or if she was curious or if she was aggressive,” Fisher said. “She circled us for about 10 minutes, and then she went under the boat upside down, so she was showing us her belly.”

Fisher estimates the whale was about the size of their boat, about 27 feet. They reeled in their fishing lines, left the boat’s motor off, and let the experience sink in.

“She approached real slowly and you can hear her singing,” Fisher said. “Then she swam off and did two really great jumps for us as she left. Yeah, it was unbelievable. It’s still a moment I keep replaying in my head for sure.”

Fisher says her husband and brother-in-law have been fishing for decades and had never before experienced an encounter like this.

“It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” she said. “It’s a reminder to respect them and their space, and just kind of take in the moments like this and gosh, you know, appreciate it.”

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