By Tui Benjamin
This huge whale definitely appeared to have the hump as it flashed a moody expression while throwing itself out of the water just FIVE METRES from a boatload of tourists.
Snapper John Goodridge captured the bizarre sight on Tuesday (June 13) near Australia’s Sydney Heads, just outside Sydney Harbour, at about 2pm.
And the 53-year-old expat said there were screams when the 45-tonne mammal hurled itself into the air and came straight towards the small whale-watching vessel he was on.
John, who has lived in Sydney for the past 23 years, said: “You never quite know what is going to happen out on the water, it is different every day.
“This one just came out of nowhere – as we were watching it jumped out of the water straight towards everyone, just five metres from the front of the boat.
“Some people didn’t see because the waves were pretty rough so a lot of them were inside the boat. But from the people who did see there were lots of screams.
“It was amazing to see a whale come at the boat like that – it was unusual – and it was pretty unusual to see it from that angle straight on.
“You can never tell whether they are happy or sad but from this one’s expression it definitely looked grumpy.
“No one is entirely certain why they breach, but it is thought sometimes they do it as a bit of a warning to the boat as they seem to do it more when there are lots of boats in the area.”
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.
John, who was on a Whale Watching Sydney boat, also captured a rare double breach in the same location at 11am on Monday (June 12).
The 53-year-old said: “It was a very active day that day, there were a few boats around and a couple of the whales started breaching and then they just kicked into the double breach which was very unusual to see – it’s quite amazing.
“It is the first time I have taken a picture of a double breach. Now I want to try and get a triple! The most breaches ever recorded in one go is five at the same time.”