New Brunswick

Woman paddles with humpback whale in Bay of Fundy

A 21-year-old New Brunswick woman got up close to a humpback whale on Saturday on a paddle board.

Kaitlyn Ann Pendleton gets up close and personal with 1-year-old humpback calf

Kaitlyn Ann Pendleton says she got so close to a humpback whale calf on Saturday that she could touch it. (Submitted by Stephanie Conley Borthwick)

When Kaitlyn Ann Pendleton bought a paddleboard at the beginning of the summer, she joked about paddling with the whales.

On Saturday, that joke became a reality for Pendleton, 21, who got up close and personal to a one-year-old humpback whale calf in the Bay of Fundy between White Horse and Bliss islands. 

"I could have touched it," she said on CBC Radio's Shift.

"I was really nervous at first. But, I just really hate the thought of any fear holding me back from an experience like that. So, I pushed all that aside and went for it," she said.

Pendleton was on a boat with her parents when they noticed some whale watching boats in a circle.

That's when Pendleton jumped on her paddleboard and headed toward the humpback whale floating, rolling around and diving in the water.

'That meant the world to me' 

Pendleton's mother took photos of the encounter, which were shared online. One photo in particular caught people's attention.

Pendleton wasn't sure how people would react, but one person commented that the photo was inspirational. 

"That meant the world to me," she said.

Deer Island's Kaitlyn Pendleton talks about meeting a hump back whale while on her stand up paddle board.

Pendleton, who grew up on Deer Island, said she felt safe with so many boats in the vicinity.

It was the first time she's seen a humpback whale in person.

She was so excited and shaken by the experience that she could barely stand afterwards.

"I hope it happens again," Pendleton said.

With files from Shift