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Two Boats Collide With Whales On Monterey Bay

MONTEREY (KPIX 5) -- Over this past weekend, passengers on two boats in Monterey Bay had a scare when the vessels had separate collisions with whales just minutes apart.

The collisions were quite dramatic for people on the boats, causing injuries and throwing people overboard.

The incidents happened Sunday at Breakwater Cove and Hopkins Point.

Whale watching boats regularly get up close to the gentle giants of the sea, but for two boats off the Monterey Peninsula, it was more than a close call.

Marge Brigadier of Pacific Grove took a photo of the bloody aftermath when the small power boat struck a whale Sunday afternoon.

She said she later spoke to the driver.

"The first one was extremely scary," said Brigadier. "He said they were going along pretty fast, a woman was sitting next to the windshield.  He said they hit something that could only have been a whale. They were more or less airborne and her head snapped back and that's what broke the windshield."

She was taken to a Salinas trauma center to have her injuries treated.

Then just a short time later, a second call came in to the Coast Guard that a breaching whale caused a small fishing boat to capsize, sending seven people into the water.

Petty Officer Eric Seastrand was on the rescue boat. He said everyone was saved.

"When we were talking to the people who were taken off that vessel, they said that they were hit by a whale," said Seastrand.

A boat colliding with a whale on Monterey Bay is rare. Two boats colliding with two whales on the same day is unheard of.

It might have to do with the ongoing feeding frenzy in Monterey Bay.

Swarms of anchovies have reportedly made their way in the waters just off the coast.

"We've been seeing a lot more whales and people trying to get closer to those whales," said Seastrand. "Our recommendation is to travel at a safe speed, always have a lookout for other vessels and marine life."

Fortunately neither incident resulted in the loss of human life. But Brigadier -- who is a volunteer for the Marine Sanctuary -- says she Worries about the whales.

"Those two whales could have been injured and we're never know about it," said Brigadier. "There's this sense that we can get as close as we want, whenever we want and it's ok. But it's not."

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