By Jasmine Kazlauskas
This is the unbelievable moment a gigantic humpback whale glides upside down directly underneath a boat full of stunned tourists – as an excited dog looks on.
Wildlife photographer John Goodridge, 54, witnessed the majestic display while on a cruise boat sailing out of Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia last Friday [5 OCTOBER].
UK expat John, who moved from Yorkshire to Australia 24 years ago, said it was the first time he had ever seen a whale appear from directly underneath a boat – as well as being completely upside down while doing so.
He added that the dog in the photograph, an Australian kelpie Rosie, seemed to make the enormous 40-tonne, 16 metre [52ft 4in] humpback whale ‘appear’ by barking into the waves – and said it was like the two were ‘communicating with each other’.
John said: “We had been out whale watching, when the boat owner’s dog, Rosie, began barking into the waves.
“All of a sudden, this giant whale appeared out of nowhere from underneath the boat. It was incredible.
“Everyone rushed over to have a look. It was so exhilarating and an amazing thing to see up close.
“Rosie the dog seemed happier than anyone to see the whale. When it appeared, you could tell how excited she was.
“The more she barked, the more the whale seemed to move around and become more curious.
“Rosie might be Australia’s first ever whale watching dog. She goes nuts when she spots the whales and starts barking like crazy.
“This marine behaviour is called mugging. It’s when the whales come over to check out the boat.
“I was very excited about the whole thing. It was amazing to witness how gentle the massive animals are. I’ll never forget it.”
The whale watching cruise was operated by skipper Simon Millar on his small family business ‘Merimbula Marina Ocean Adventures’ that has operated out of Sydney’s South Coast for over ten years.
Australia’s eastern coastline comes alive each year between April and November, as pods of humpback whales make the 10,000km (6,214 miles) journey from Antarctica to Australia in order to mate and give birth.