A group of volunteers with the Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP) had a poignant encounter with a young orca whale as they were out in their small boat surveying in August 2017. They captured the experience in this stunning video.
It was a rare sighting in part because orcas are much desired by aquariums -- while not endangered, they've been driven further out by those who want to capture them.
This footage shows a gorgeous killer whale ascending to the surface in the waters outside Avacha Bay, Kamchatka, and almost hitting the volunteers' inflatable boat. The curious whale then circles the boat, playfully twisting and swimming as the gleeful volunteers react to the show.
One of the volunteers noted that this was an "emotional experience" for all of them. Watch the video to vicariously experience the beauty of this wild whale in its natural habitat.