A Hawaii island man is thankful to be alive following a terrifying encounter with a whale off the coast of Kona. The man was brought back to shore by a passing tour boat. The paddler tells KHON2 he was thrown from his canoe but he’s okay. He says he’s in shock and still can’t believe what happened. Eddie Hayward had errands to run Friday afternoon, but he decided to hit the water with friends instead.
That decision nearly changed his life. Hayward and three friends paddled out on the water and saw a whale breaching in the distance at one point. Minutes later, that excitement turned to fear.
The impact threw Hayward into the water. The ama and the iako from his canoe were gone, and his canoe was floating away. One of his friends eventually noticed Hayward wasn’t in his canoe and paddled over. Clinging onto his friend’s canoe and what was left of his, the two tried paddling back inland when a tour boat from Jack’s Diving Locker came to their rescue.
Hayward says he’s seen whales while on the water before, but never anything this heart-stopping.
His canoe is ruined, but Hayward says the encounter won’t keep him out of the water. We’re in the middle of whale season, so Hayward is using his experience to remind anyone who decides to go out on the water to take a friend with you and always let someone know your plan.