WATCH: North Vancouver paddleboarder records close encounter with whale near Stanley Park


WATCH:  Delighted Vancouver residents describe another close encounter with a whale off Stanley Park. Kristen Robinson reports.

It was an encounter of a lifetime for a North Vancouver woman who found herself on the water just meters away from a grey whale near Stanley Park this morning.

Renée Erdman was out stand-up paddleboarding near Third Beach around 6 a.m. this morning when her heart stopped.

“I saw a couple of people just standing there right on the Seawall and I knew there were looking at something,” says Erdman. “So I kept pedaling closer and then [the whale] started breaching and I started shaking.”
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Erdman says the whale, which appeared to be about four car-lengths in size, was calmly swimming around, occasionally spraying and flapping its fins.

“It was really cool because you could hear the sounds that it was making under water,” she says.

WATCH: Renée Erdman was just meters away from a grey whale when she went paddleboarding 

The whale was turning on its sides and circling around Erdman and other paddleboarders for about 40 minutes before swimming further out into the Burrard Inlet.

“It was one of those things that I always wanted to see,” says Erdman. “I always see seals when I am out there, but I have never seen a whale. My heart just started racing and I started tearing up because it was so surreal. It puts into perspective how minuscule you are.”

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It appears the whale that Erdman saw is the same grey whale that was spotted near Third Beach Wednesday morning.

Carla Crossman, a research biologist with the Marine Mammal Research Program at the Vancouver Aquarium, says grey whales will often spend several days in area when they are feeding.

The aquarium is reminding people to keep their distance and not interfere with the animal on the water.

It is not very common to see grey whales in the Burrard Inlet waters. The last time a grey whale was spotted in False Creek was in 2010. There were a few sightings in 2013, but they were not confirmed. However, grey whales can often be sighted near White Rock and South Surrey in spring time.

The aquarium is encouraging people to report any whale sightings. For more information, go here.

WATCH: Aerial footage of a grey whale spotted near Third Beach in Stanley Park on Wednesday 

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