Graham Holley and Georgina Asumae have a whale of tale to tell.

In fact, 70-year-old Holley has been sailing since he was a young boy and reckons he's never experienced anything like he did heading from Napier to Opua last month.

First a rogue wave struck his 38ft ketch, causing it to roll on its side before it quickly righted itself. Five minutes later an eight or nine metre whale burst two metres above deck and collided with the bow of the ship, leaving a huge dent.

"I said what's next, what could be next?" Holley said.

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Holley, who is