I have been fortunate to have been been able to paddle in many different areas around the USA. I have paddled down the coast of Maui and Kauai. During that time Humpback Whales and giant Green Sea Turtles approached me to within 30 feet of my kayak (it's against the law to paddle toward those animals). In the Northeast of the USA, a 1,200 - 1,500 pound Leatherback Turtle emerged about 10 feet from my boat. The head of the turtle was enormous. I have even paddled near 40 Tall Ships when came here for the celebration.
Unfortunately, not all my stories have a happy ending. About 4 years ago, I paddled off the coast of Wellfleet, MA (Wellfleet Bay) trying to save 51 Pilot Whales. After 10 hours of trying to move the pod of whales out to deeper water, they all perished on the sandy beach.
I will try to answer all your questions on kayaking to the best of my ability. I have a diverse knowledge in paddling gear and paddling techniques. Please don't ask me questions about specific boats as it is very hard to know about each and every model. I hope I see you on the water.