A paddle boarder in Australia had an extremely close encounter with a pod of humpback whales.
Australia is a pretty amazing place once you get past the fact that every animal there is trying to kill you. Things aren’t much better in the waters either, where various shark and jellyfish species will do you in just as quickly as whatever you might find on land.
Luckily for one guy attending a surf camp in Southern Australia, he ran into some of Australia’s gentler denizens: a pod of humpback whales.
When we say ran into, we mean it almost literally. It was a pretty calm day at Surfaris Surf Camp in the small town of Crescent Head, New South Wales, so 28-year-old Alex decided to paddleboard instead of attempt to surf on nonexistent waves. He had his Go-Pro recording while he was paddling around the coast.
At first, Alex was following a small pod of dolphins that he’d spotted earlier, but then as he was paddling to catch up he ran straight into the breaching face of a humpback whale.
You can practically hear the “hey, watch it bud!” as the whale blows a waterspout and dives down after the impact.
To be fair to Alex, there was zero warning before the humpback’s head came above the waterline. Although there’s no sound in the recording, it seems highly likely that Alex might have screamed just a little bit. His camera was certainly jostled at the very least from his surprise visitors.
A spokesperson for Surfaris Surf Camp gave the whole story in an interview with The Daily Mail:
"Alex then sat there filming them while they swam around him for three or four minutes. He then paddled south to back beach Crescent Head before turning back to Crescent Head point."
It’s not uncommon to find Humpback whales around this time of year with newborn calves. Humpback whales breed in the warm waters off the coast of Australia during the summer months and then spend their winters near the Antarctic feeding. Humpbacks migrate over 5,000 miles annually from breeding to feeding grounds.