By Jasmine Kazlauskas
This is the unbelievable moment a boatful of lucky tourists were treated to a rare close encounter with FOUR friendly humpback whales that began playing directly in front of their ship.
The unforgettable display was captured by photographer Jonas Liebschner while on a whale watching cruise operating outside of Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, Australia, yesterday morning [12 SEP].
German-born Jonas, 33, said it was a special experience to have four humpback whales come right up to the ‘Whale Watching Sydney’ boat – which has around 50 people on board at the time.
The spectacular footage captured by Jonas shows four massive humpbacks majestically gliding and breaching just metres from the delighted boatful of lucky tourists.
He said: “It was incredible to have these four curious humpback whales circle our boat for two hours checking us out. They also breached occasionally right next to us.
“At this time of the year, whales are typically further of the coast as they are now going south back towards Antarctic waters where they will spend their summer to feed.
“We do see humpback whales come up past Sydney on their annual migration going north for winter to give birth and to mate. This is now finished, and whales are going south again.
“We had about 50 people onboard and they all loved it. It was unforgettable.
“It was not just us watching whales, but actually interacting with them as we look at them and they look at us.”
Australia’s eastern coastline comes alive each year between April and November, as pods of humpback whales make the 10,000km (6214 miles) journey from Antarctica to Australia in order to mate and give birth.
The whales then travel back past Sydney with their calves in October and November, with the annual spectacle over by early December.