UPDATE: IT COULD well have been a scene from Herman Melville's Moby Dick.
The moment a vessel carrying two recreational fishermen collided with a whale 5km off the coast of Evans Head, splitting the hull and capsizing the half cabin cruiser within a matter of seconds.
The boat's owner Chris Churchill, a Lismore resident who has been fishing off Ballina and Evans Head for 15 years, said conditions were calm and there had been no sign of whales after crossing the bar about 6am on Sunday morning.
"We had just gone past Chaos Reef probably doing about 40km/h, flat as a tack, beautiful weather, nothing around," he said.
"We were just cruising along and all of a sudden, bang, it was like hitting a brick wall.
"I had about 20 seconds before it (the boat) was completely gone.
"Luckily we saw another boat about 200m away which was the bloke who rescued us."
The other passenger on the boat, Lismore resident Michael Williams, described being thrown from one side of the boat to other when they hit the whale.
"By the time I got up we were ankle deep in water," he said.
"It was lucky we didn't get knocked out."
ORIGINAL: A BOAT hit a whale and sunk off the Evans Head coast yesterday morning, Evans Head Marine Rescue has confirmed.
Acting Unit Commander Kira Hartland said the vessel hit a whale, split down the middle of the hull and sank.
"The Skipper had no time to radio for help or to grab the epirb," she posted on social media.
"Persons on board were wearing their life jackets and were picked up by another vessel who witnessed the event.
"Lucky that there were so many boats out. We had 39 on the log.
"Remember you can use your smart phone, radio or mobile phone to log on and our phones are monitored 24 hours a day.
"The boat was not logged on."
Marine Rescue NSW Evans Head Unit Commander Karin Brown said the incident occurred about 6am Sunday morning.
She said there have been a few incidents where whales have surfaced around vessels recently.