Life-Changing Encounter With Whale Inspires Paddle Boarding Flute Player To Save Threatened Species

From the Juilliard School to Carnegie Hall, Grammy-nominated musician Viviana Guzman was no stranger to a large audience - but this was different.

"Everyone thought I would be scared, but no," Guzman said. "They are such gentle creatures."

Last summer, Guzman had a once-in-a-lifetime encounter while paddle boarding off the coast of Half Moon Bay: a juvenile humpback whale bumped her board while shooting out of the water.

Bryant Austin says following his dream was ruining his life. That is, until, he got a nudge in the right direction.

The encounter, captured on GoPro cameras, was watched - and rewatched - more than one million times and nudged Guzman onto an unexpected path.

Guzman, who has traveled the world playing the flute, started doing research on whales and other cetaceans. It was then she learned about the plight of Vaquita porpoises, the world's most endangered marine mammal.

"Last month, I heard (the population) was down to 30," Guzman said.

Guzman decided she needed to do something to help. She is dedicating all the proceeds from her next album to saving the Vaquita.

"This is hugely important to me," Guzman said.

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