It wasn’t Nessie, but it sure was a beast.
This giant black bear gave one curious kayaker a fright when he saw it swimming in a New York lake ― at one point within a few feet of his boat.
Matthew Garrity said he was paddling around Hemlock Lake near Rochester on Saturday when he observed something strange moving in the water ahead.
“I told my buddies, I’ve got to check this out because this is going to bug me if I don’t figure this out soon,” the local man told WHAM-TV.
Once he was near enough to see exactly what it was, he said he whipped out his phone and started filming.
“I realized what it was as soon as I heard this big gasping, grunting sound of it breathing,” Garrity told the Democrat and Chronicle.
He said he came within 15 feet of the bear. At which point, common sense kicked in, and he put down his phone and began paddling away to give the animal some room.
Since Saturday, his 13-second Facebook video has been viewed more than 321,000 times.
“It was absolutely crazy,” Garrity told WHAM of his remarkable encounter. “I loved it and I’m so glad I got it on video.”
Art Kirsch, a senior wildlife biologist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, told the Democrat and Chronicle that the sighting of a black bear isn’t unusual for the area this time of year.
He added that black bears are generally docile and rarely attack people. But if one does appear threatening, Kirsch recommended that you make yourself appear as big as possible, speak loudly and back away slowly.