High School Sports

Former Atascadero, Cuesta athlete gets cozy with Avila whales

Alyssa Palma snapped this photo of a humpback whale and its calf near Avila Beach.
Alyssa Palma snapped this photo of a humpback whale and its calf near Avila Beach. Courtesy of Alyssa Palma

Former Atascadero High and Cuesta College basketball standout Alyssa Palma knows how to spend a summer. Palma, who will graduate from Cal State East Bay this fall, returned home to visit family and decided to go kayaking with her brother Brett in Avila Beach on Thursday. While paddling near Poly Pier, she met some famous local guests – a massive humpback whale and its calf.

"Played in the ocean with humpback whales today, it was riveting!" Palma wrote on Twitter along with some up close photos of the encounter.

"It was pretty awesome, one popped up about 15 feet from me. That was ridiculous," she told The Tribune. The whales have been drawing plenty of attention on the Central Coast in the past few weeks. The Tribune's Laura Dickinson captured video of about 20 humpbacks feeding in the same spot.

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