When Jodie Nelson set off on her 40-mile paddleboarding journey from Catalina Island to Dana Point on the mainland in California, she knew she was going to have a big day.
But Jodie had no idea just how monumental her day would ultimately turn out to be. She also didn’t know how massive the friend she was about to make would be, either.
About three hours into her nine-hour journey, a 30-foot minke whale came to visit Jodie. She named him Larry, and he swam by her for two whole hours. When Ellen saw footage of the encounter, she had to invite Jodie to the show to hear more about it.
Jodie explained to Ellen that she was paddleboarding to help raise money for breast cancer charities. The event was in honor of her friend, who’d been struggling with the disease for over a decade.
Impressively, Jodie is the first woman to take on this particular 40-mile paddleboarding trip. Jodie also is (probably) the first person to make friends with a whale along the way!
In the moment, she says she knew there was something in the water nearby, but then admits to Ellen, “I kind of was scared to look back at what it was, because I have a terrible fear of great white sharks.”
Luckily, it was just Larry. “[He] took my breath away,” Jodie says.
Watch Jodie tell Ellen more about her amazing encounter, and see Larry in the video below. And make sure to SHARE this with someone who’d love to befriend a whale!
Photos: The Ellen DeGeneres Show
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