We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
My wife and I have been scuba diving for 20+ years, and we've seen all kinds of fantastic sights. I was lucky enough to meet a Sea Turtle on my first open water experience, at 120 feet. Barracuda have eyed my wife and I hungrily, while we off-gassed on the hang line. An octopus shot some ink while we watched him in his lair. Probably the most amazing thing we experienced was being buzzed by a pod of Atlantic Bottle-Nosed Dolphin while we ascending from a WWII wreck.
It was a disconcerting experience, at first. As the video below only hints, baitfish will suddenly move in a unified direction as a predator approaches. We were surrounded by baitfish and they disappeared suddenly, as if being washed down a funnel and into the darkness of the ocean. You don't need much experience to know what that mean. Our eyes as big as plates, we anticipated the arrival of a shark. When the Dolphin suddenly appeared, it was as if playtime was declared. They whipped around us two or three times, encouraging us to let go and join them.
But I've never, ever, come this close to being lunch.
I know what you mean. Used to sail a Hobie-Cat off the beaches of South Carolina; you might see a pod of dolphins breaking the surface way off & suddenly they'd veer over and go nuts jumping everywhere, turning so they could eyeball you; zooming up under the trampoline etc.
One time one of 'em did that and I think tried to jump over the leeward pontoon. Instead he hit the wire stay attached to the tip of that pontoon; which I guess he couldn't see well. He (she?) landed cross-wise on the pontoon, slid back towards the trampoline, flopped to get off and instead landed with about the front 1/3 of his body on the forward right corner of the trampoline, pointed straight back with his tail resting more or less on the top of the pontoon in front of that corner. This checked our progress, as his body-weight had forced the leeward pontoon under water for a second - they must be pretty heavy! - and there was this delicious awkward half-heartbeat where we lose speed, his buddies race out ahead, and he's just sitting there eyeballing everything because his world got very strange for a second. I guess his tail found the water, because he didn't so much flop off as slide off & roll back into the water and swim away like crazy. I was glad of that. I was a little worried that he would go crazy flopping.
However, as a diver, I can say the appearance of whales (or dolphin, or sharks, or barracuda) would not necessarily cause me to leave the water.
The bait fish is the key point. I have spent time diving in schools of bait fish, and it's not an issue. However, if a shark showed up, I'd likely leave the water since the chance of an inadvertant bite was likely. Shark don't 'eat' diver (nor do whales). Usually the first bite is a taste to see if you're food. Studies have shown that sharks don't typically continue to attack humans after the first bite (either the people manage to get out of the water, or the shark leaves realizing you're not part of their standard fare. Unless their standard fare has not been available and they are inordinately hungry.)
I've never had a problem with any ocean predators. It's usually how you behave and how well you understand their behavior. For example, I know that as long as a barracuda is perpendicular to you, he's just curious and is unlikely to be aggressive. But, as has happened on occasion, if he turns to face you, you'd best beat a path away because he's saying you're in his territory and you could be a snack.
Whales are whole different ball of wax. I've never run into them and if I did, I'd stay in the water. You don't get a chance to hang out with ocean-going mammals often and they will, generally, leave you alone. This seems to be more of a lucky accident. My guess is the whales didn't care there was a boat nearby (and they do know these things) and they certainly didn't consider there might be humans in the water.
The humans, if they felt concern about playing Jonah or being a lunchtime snack for a shark, might have played it safe and gotten out of the water.
If no sharks were evident, then it may have been similar to my experience with the dolphin - you see the baitfish, you don't care until they start going nuts, and by then it's too late to do anything and you just keep your eyes open and be prepared to handle what comes along.
Tee hee. I think the whale knew what it was doing. It missed the line and the divers but still came up on the right portion of the school of fish. Probably didn't want to poop those divers back out or get one stuck in it's baleen (no floss).