Humpback whale wows Kaikoura whale watchers breaching 20 times alongside the boat

A humpback whale puts on a spectacular display off the Kaikoura Coast. Photo / Tehlia Richardson
A humpback whale puts on a spectacular display off the Kaikoura Coast. Photo / Tehlia Richardson

Whale watchers off the Kaikoura Coast were treated to a stunning display as a juvenile humpback whale breached repeatedly alongside their craft.

Images have been posted online of the barnacle-encrusted 10m mammal capturing the awe-inspiring moments it rears its giant body skyward out of the sea before crashing back under the water.

Photo / Tehlia Richardson
Photo / Tehlia Richardson


Photo / Tehlia Richardson
Photo / Tehlia Richardson

In one shot the juvenile humpback is shown seemingly standing upright with half its body out of the water, both long fins in a streamlined position.

Whale Watch Kaikoura marketing manager Lisa Bond said the breathtaking encounter was a rare treat for tourists and crew alike.

"Everyone was buzzing, even the crew.

"Everyone was getting their camera out," Bond said.

The close-up encounter came as a complete surprise with the whale breaching alongside the boat at least 20 times.

It was taken on Saturday before conditions in the area deteriorated.

Photo / Tehlia Richardson
Photo / Tehlia Richardson
Photo / Tehlia Richardson
Photo / Tehlia Richardson

Bond said humpback whales normally appeared in the area between May and September as they migrated north to warmer tropical waters. However, a couple of younger humpbacks had been spotted in the region in the past month well ahead of timetable.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 25 May 2017 23:06:06 Processing Time: 376ms