Animals

By Tui Benjamin


These Aussie sailors had an extremely close encounter with the ‘last migrating humpback of the year’ when the 30-tonne whale jumped just metres from their yacht.

John Goodridge snapped one of the last of the mammals to travel down Australia’s coast – this one a mother with her newborn calf – as the animals head back to Antarctic waters.

ic by John Goodridge/ Caters News

And the 53-year-old expat said the 15-metre humpback couldn’t resist putting on a farewell show for an unsuspecting yacht in Sydney Harbour on Friday (Nov 10) to say goodbye – breaching less than 50 metres from the vessel.

Yorkshireman John, who has lived in Sydney for more than two decades, said: “Coming to the end of Sydney’s southern whale watching season, these sailors got quite a surprise as 30 tonnes of adult whale launched herself in their direction.

“This mother humpback whale was heading back to the Antarctic with her newborn calf to end their yearly migration along the East coast of Australia.

“She breached very close to this unsuspecting yacht – it must have been less than 50 metres.

 John Goodridge/ Caters News

“I had an idea it was going to happen but it definitely would have taken them by surprise.

“For this whale, it was a parting shot before swimming down the coast back to Antarctica.

“This is definitely one of the last breaches we will see at the end of the southern migration.”

John snapped the stunning images at Sydney Heads, two points which mark the entrance to Sydney Harbour where it meets the Pacific Ocean.

 John Goodridge/ Caters News

Humpback whales – who measure 15 metres long on average and weigh 45 tonnes – began passing Sydney in May to make their annual northern migration from their homelands of Antarctica to warmer waters near northern Queensland, Fiji and Tonga to give birth.

The whales then begin travel back past Sydney with the calves in September with the annual spectacle ending this month.