However, getting close to sea mammals such as the gray whale, which can weigh up to 40 tons and grow to a length of 50 feet, obviously does have its risks. Speaking to The Guardian, Australian conservation scientist Dr. Wally Franklin explained, “There’s a high risk involved particularly when you are dealing with young whales, which are still learning to be whales.”
Dr. Franklin, who is an expert on humpback whales, goes on to say, “The other risk factor is that sharks do follow humpback whales, and look at the incidence of shark attacks that are occurring on the east coast of Australia. I wouldn’t get in the water with them under any circumstances.”
In fact recorded instances of problems on whale-watching boat trips tend to report incidents where a whale, probably unintentionally, crashes into the whale-watchers’ boat. One heartbreaking example of just such an incident was a terrible accident in 2015, in the waters of Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, Mexico.