Dale Frink whale watching GoPro
A shot from Dale Frink's GoPro video camera just as the blue whale hits the bottom of the boat (CREDIT: Dale Frink/YouTube).

Written by Matthew Hogan:

Dave Frink is a relative newcomer to the world of photography by his own admission, but he’s not a newcomer to the world of wildlife.

Frink has held both paid and unpaid roles at various zoos and aquariums in the past and currently works at Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari in Dana Point, Calif.

According to his blog, Frink is also a certified naturalist with the Orange County chapter of the American Cetacean Society and an NAI-Certified Interpretive Guide.

Given is extensive background with ocean-dwelling mammals like whales, it came as quite a shock to Frink when his whale watching boat was capsized on July 2 when it got too close to a pack of blue whales.

Frink and Captain Cici Sayer were the only two people aboard a 21-foot boat observing a group of whales off the coast of San Diego when an 80-foot blue whale took a quick right turn and the duo lost track of it.

“I cannot stress enough that the captain was doing her best not to get too close to these animals, and that she did her best to follow proper procedure,” Frink said in his blog. “It was a freak accident that is very rare for whale watching boats. I have heard of similar incidents in other parts of the world, but not with blue whales.”

On the surface, Frink said Sayer stopped the boat and waited for the whale to resurface, as “per proper whale-watching etiquette.”

When the whale finally did resurface, it decided to do so right under the boat, turning the small boat over and launching Frink and Sayer into the water.

“It was an accident – the one in a million risk that you take when going into the deep ocean on a small boat,” Frink said.

Luckily, another whale watching vessel was nearby and witnessed the entire incident. The boat quickly came over to rescue both Frink and Sayer.

“I am eternally grateful to the captain and passengers of that vessel, who responded quickly to our plight,” Frink said.

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