Giant fin whale makes rare appearance, misses tourist boat by inches (VIDEOS)

© Eric Mouellic
A group of whale watchers were treated to a rare sight when a fin whale emerged from the waters off the coast of Quebec, Canada, missing their boat by inches.

The second-largest animal on the planet, after the blue whale, it was spotted in the St. Lawrence River near Tadoussac by a group of tourists on Sunday.

The dark grey whale, which was around 18 meters long and 50 tonnes in weight, can be seen in the distance before then approaching the boat, where it turns over and swims under the raft, missing it by mere inches.

Eric Mouellic, who posted the videos online, described the close encounter as “an unforgettable experience… magic.”

The whale’s striped belly can be seen as it dips below the boat, which Mouellic told CBC was nerve racking as the whale could have hit the boat, throwing the passengers into the water.

This was unlikely to happen though as whales “don't like to hit anything on the surface,” the education director for a non-profit marine mammal research and interpretation center in Tadoussac, Patrice Corbeil, says.

“That's why the whale turned on its side,” Corbeil said, adding that it “was probably feeding on krill” at the time.

"The finback needs to eat 1 to 2 tonnes a day," Corbeil explained.