By Tui Benjamin
Two brothers taking their new boat out fishing for the first time were amazed to accidentally capture the moment it was nearly capsized by a huge humpback whale.
Jason Cullen got the shock of his life when the mammal unexpectedly breached just metres in front of him while he was trying to film another whale in the far distance.
The 27-year-old and brother Ben, 26, believe the 15-metre (49ft) humpback calf was ‘showing off’ when it deliberately launched itself from the water near Keppel Island, Queensland, Australia, yesterday (TUES) – leaving their five-metre vessel rocking wildly and full of water.
Diesel fitter James, from nearby Rockhampton, said: “It was supposed to be a normal morning fishing.
“I was actually trying to film another whale we could see in the distance about 60 metres (197ft) away, so we turned the engines off.
“That exact moment this huge whale jumped out of the water, it must only have been about a metre (3ft) from the boat. We think it was the calf of the one we could see in the distance.
“It was just complete luck that I was filming at that exact moment – it was unreal timing.
“It just completely drenched the both of us. At the time it was like it happened in slow motion, so we didn’t really have time to be scared.
“But the boat is only a 5.5 metre (18ft) aluminium vessel so he was probably three times the length of us.
“Once he breached we realised his trajectory was that he was going to come right at us so we were just more concerned with making sure we didn’t get crushed.
“We are lucky to be here though, it could have turned out way worse for us.
“Luckily he was well aware of us and knew exactly where we were. He was definitely just showing off – I think he had a big rush of energy and was trying to prove who was the bigger man.”
Keen fishermen James and Ben filmed the footage after setting out on Ben’s boat for its first fishing outing at about 7am yesterday morning.
Because both brothers work in a mine they work one week on, one week off and so enjoy spending time on the water whenever they can.
And they now have bragging rights over younger brother Clayton, 25, who usually accompanies them but missed yesterday’s spectacular show.
Their amazing footage has racked up thousands of views on social media – but the brothers were more pleased they also caught two 20kg Spanish Mackerel the same day.
James said: “There are a lot of whales around this area, especially at this time of year, and we do see them regularly when we go fishing but never this close up.
“You’re not allowed to approach them, you have to stay more than 50 metres (164ft) away, which is why we turned the engines off when we saw the other one in the distance.
“People have said the whales seem to be coming a lot closer this year and being more inquisitive.
“No one can believe the video and how close the whale came to us, even after watching it over and over. It is amazing.”
Ben added: “It was the boat’s second trip, but its first fishing trip.
“It really was incredible, usually fishing stories are just tales, but we have the proof.”