Some very fortunate whale watchers were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime show when two humpback whales lingered around their boat for close to two hours.

The group was about an hour out of Prince Rupert near north Chatham Sound on Saturday when a pair of humpbacks started to swim alongside their boat.

Doug Davis, owner of Prince Rupert Adventure tours, said once he spotted them he turned off the boat engine.

In an unusual display, the whales then swam around the vessel for the next few hours, leaving tourists – and even the boat operator himself – in awe.

“People on the boat had never seen a whale before and all of a sudden you have these whales going right up to the boat,” he said. “It’s a bit of a spiritual occasion. It puts us in our place a little bit.”

But the thrills didn’t stop there. Davis said at the same time, a large pod of at least 10 transient killer whales could be seen in the distance.

He believes the humpbacks were intentionally avoiding the orcas.

“If you look at the end of the video, I took the ID’s of the whales,” he said. “You can actually see the bottom edge of one of the tail flukes had teeth marks on it…Obviously this whale had an experience with killer whales before.”

Davis, a self-professed “whale nerd,” said the experience ranks among his best whale watching tours.

“You see this kind of stuff once in a while, not very often,” he said. “To actually experience it – everybody was just totally in awe.”