I had a friend sail with me off the coast of Georgia. We were only offshore about 25 miles, but he had never been in the ocean in anything smaller than a cruise ship and was very apprehensive. When NOAA got on the radio and talked about avoiding migrating whales in the area, he damned near panicked. "We have to get out of here - we shouldn't even be out here. The boat could sink if one decides to ram us." I tried to explain to him about how unlikely that would be when lo and behold a whale tail rose about 1/4-miles ahead and slipped beneath the waves. He didn't see it, though. A few minutes later, just after sundown, a whale began it's love song. Almost sounded like a loon was sitting in the cockpit with us - it was that loud. You would have thought my buddy had seen a ghost when that first sound echoed through the hull. He was in a true state of panic.
The weather deteriorated as the night progressed, we had following seas of 10 to 12 feet, and maintaining a heading was a full time job. No more whale sounds that night, but at daybreak, I saw another just a few hundred yards ahead of the boat. My buddy was half asleep and never saw that one either, so I never bothered to mention it. To this day, two years later, he says he never experienced anything like that in his life and never wants to.
Now, I've never feared a whale encounter, and have been right next to them on several occasions. The only wildlife encounter on the water that scared me was just inside Ocean City, Maryland Inlet, where my wife and I had dropped anchor to take a break and fish for flounder. We managed to catch a few flatties for supper, then some pesky, snapper bluefish came in, fish that were much too small to keep. We merely unhooked them and tossed them over the side to swim off. Just before sunset, I unhooked a tiny bluefish, tossed it over the gunwale, and watched a harbor seal rise within a foot of my hand and grab the bluefish. Then it just sat there, staring me eye to eye for the next 30 seconds, then slowly slipped beneath the surface. My wife and I were both shocked to see a seal that close, especially in that part of the world. The following morning, it was still just a few yards from the boat, swimming in the shallows, looking for another easy meal. Unfortunately, I never thought about taking a photo.