VICTORIA -- A pair of whale researchers from the small B.C. community of Hartley Bay have seen a lot of interesting behaviour in their years on the water, but Thursday left their jaws dropped.

While out on a routine monitoring tour, Nicole Robinson and her partner spotted a well-known humpback swimming towards them.

After cutting their engine and pulling their motor out of the water, the two were treated to a nearly half-hour close encounter with the whale, and witnessed something they’d never imaged they’d see.

“I was quite shocked. You could see his pecks on both sides and him pushing,” Robinson told CTV News Vancouver Island.

After bobbing its head near the surface of the water on both sides of the vessel, eventually the pair noticed the whale was starting to lift the bow of the boat out of the water.

The large humpback then positioned itself directly under the metal-hulled research boat, with its pectoral fins outstretched on both sides.

Then, the truly shocking behaviour happened. The cellphone video shows the bow of the boat lift slightly out of the water and the whale start to swim.

“This I’ve never seen before,” said Robinson in the audio of the cellphone video.

“In one part of the video I was trying to focus on the back of the boat to show the wake behind us, (to show) that he was actually pulling us,” she told CTV News.

Robinson and her husband are part of a local First Nation group called the Git Gaat Guardian Watchmen.

The organization tracks and monitors local whale migrations and behaviours and often collaborates with scientists and government organizations like the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

After towing the Robinsons boat for several minutes, the researchers say the gentle humpback happily swam away.