June 29, 2014

Large whale swims near surfers in Sydney (VIDEO) - @NatGeo

A group of lucky surfers had a very close encounter with a large whale on Sydney's northern beaches on Sunday.

However they were warned to steer clear of the southern right whale as they were spotted just metres from the huge marine mammal at Freshwater beach.

Footage from the Nine News helicopter showed the group surrounding the creature as it slowly swam and splashed near the surface.

One surfer can be seen trying to make a quick escape when the whale made a sharp turn towards it, while others hung back and watched the whale from a distance.

The southern right looked to be in a playful mood, rolling around in the water and flicking its tail.

According to government guidelines swimmers should not be closer than 30 metres to a whale, while surfers and boats are required to keep a distance of at least 100 metres.

Freshwater resident Ian Hansen told Fairfax he first noticed the whale because it was surrounded by surfers.

'To be honest they were harassing it a bit. They were so close and it had no room to move... If I was the fish I'd be harassed too. It'd move a bit and they'd back off,' he said.

The surfers were reportedly told to increase their distance from the whale over the loudspeakers at Freshwater Surf Lifesaving Club.

The club president Wayne Frankly also spoke to the publication, and told them he was worried people were so close as a surfer was hospitalised last year after a run in with the same breed of whale at Bondi.

'The whale was within the confines of our beach, just having a sticky beak and some riders went out to have a look,' Mr Freakly said.

Southern right whales usually measure between 14 and 18 metres long and can weigh up to 80 tonnes.

They are often found in shallow water, are known to have encounters with surfers and are spotted on the NSW coastline at this time of year during migration.

#Large #whale #swim #surfers #Sydney #australia #NatGeo

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