Whale watcher has close encounter

Skydive Coffs Harbour pilot Dave Sargeant took this remarkable image in the shadows of a humpback.
Skydive Coffs Harbour pilot Dave Sargeant took this remarkable image in the shadows of a humpback. DAVE SARGEANT

IT’S easy to have a whale of a time off the Coffs Coast but sometimes out of the blue, these majestic monsters of the deep can get a little too close for comfort.

Suddenly awestruck in the shadows of a humpback whale, local pilot Dave Sargeant said he didn’t know whether to retreat or click the camera shutter.

This amazing shot shows Dave chose the latter as the humpback burst from the water just metres from the boat.

“It was an absolute fluke. I had no time to focus or adjust the camera let alone frame the shot, I’m just amazed at what I captured,” Dave said.

“Within a few split seconds I got two shots away. I fired one as the whale was rising in the air, and then another as it towered above me, breaching in mid-air.”

Dave, his wife Uzma and their 11-month daughter, Aisha, had been on a leisurely cruise with Coffs Harbour’s Pacific Explorer – Whale Watch Experience.

The boat was stationary at the time as passengers watched a pod of whales off in the distance.

Then without warning, this humpback swam under the back of the boat and breached.

Understandably, Dave has since been convinced by friends to enter the shot in wildlife photography competitions.

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