Close encounter with 30 tonnes of whale at Snapper Rocks

Humpbacks heading south came within metres of Snapper Rocks.
Humpbacks heading south came within metres of Snapper Rocks. Blainey Woodham

NEVER would I have expected to have seen what I did on Monday at Snapper Rocks.

I have been surfing most days for well over a decade and have had plenty of close encounters with marine life, from sharks and dolphins to manta ray and turtles, but I have never seen surfers so close to 30 tonnes of whale as on this day.

I was on the rock wall right next to the road that runs parallel to the beach, watching surfers about 30m out to sea, when I noticed a huge black object or shadow moving up the beach on the inside of several paddle borders.

A large humpback within metres of surfers and swimmers at Snapper Rocks.
A large humpback within metres of surfers and swimmers at Snapper Rocks. Blainey Woodham

I looked up to check if it was a cloud's shadow; that is how big this thing was.

A fully grown humpback was taking a tour of the Snapper surfers' line-up, lounging about 20m from several young surfers and exhaling his or her lungs full of air, which I could hear from the rocks. It was that close.

Casually surfacing a few more times, the huge creature made a sharp right hand turn and stuck even closer to the rocks on the far tip of Snapper before continuing south on its journey home.

I have been out whale watching on charter boats several times to view the massive humpbacks breaching the surface with the sound of thunder,r but never been as close as I was on this occasion. Bizarre to say the least considering I was still on dry land.

Topics:  fingal beach

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