By Tui Benjamin
These lucky tourists had front row seats when a jumping-mad whale breached more than 100 TIMES in an hour and a half – just yards from their yacht.
Photographer Jonas Liebschner captured this unbelievable footage of the young humpback whale’s frenzied leaps out of the water outside Sydney Harbour on Sunday (June 25).
The 31-year-old German, who works for cruise company Whale Watching Sydney, said the 45 tonne whale was just metres from a yacht carrying stunned sightseers.
Jonas, who lives in Sydney, said: “We are seeing so many whales at the moment – the second you leave the harbour you are already spotting a whale or two.
“On Sunday we watched them jumping for a good hour and a half non-stop. Between 10am and 11.30am the whale was jumping the whole time – it must have jumped 100 times in a row.
“It does happen that you will see them jump this frequently, but not often at all.
“Usually it happens with the younger juvenile whales as they are the ones which tend to be full of energy, but for one to be jumping the whole time like this one was happens very rarely.
“It was very close to the boat in the photos – probably only about five metres away – so it was very lucky for all the people on board.
“It is the peak of the migration at the moment, so people are getting a show and we are seeing a lot more whales than ever before.”
Humpback whales – who measure 15 metres long on average and weigh 45 tonnes – are currently passing past Sydney as they make their annual northern migration from their homelands of Antarctica to warmer waters near northern Queensland, Fiji and Tonga to give birth.
The migration begins in mid-May and the whales travel back past Sydney with their calves in October and November with the annual spectacle over by early December.
Jonas, who has been photographing whales for 10 years, added: “What makes whales so special for me is the hunt for the perfect picture.
“They are so unpredictable, they can do anything at any time and getting the perfect shot of them is my motivation.
“Getting the picture all depends on where you are and where the boat is at that moment in time. Even after 10 years I still see things I have not seen before.
“You just can’t predict anything out there – anything is possible.”