Photographer captures ‘oh wow’ moment as whale breaches close to boat off Coffs Harbour

An amateur photographer says she is “stoked” after capturing a photo of a humpback whale breaching close to a boat in Coffs Harbour.

Carly Adams, 26, said she had never taken a photo like it in the eight years she had been taking photos of nature.

Ms Adams said she walked along the southern wall at Coffs Harbour each day, especially during the whale season.

“I was going down to see if I could get some shots of the whales and I was stoked when I got that,” she said.

“I was like ‘Oh wow, it’s a shot and a half’. I didn’t think I’d get that shot.”

Ms Adams said she was tracking the whale with her camera just after 11am on Sunday before it suddenly breached four times.

“I just happened to get the shot and I was just so shocked about it,” she said.

“I managed to get a few other shots but that was definitely my great shot.

“It just came out of the blue and I thought the people [on the boat] would have had a massive shock.”

Ms Adams couldn’t say how far the whale was from the boat because she was using a long lens zoom.

“It made it look like it was really close to the boat but it mightn’t have been as close. It definitely looked like it was close.”

Ms Adams was surprised by the interest after she posted it on social media.

“It’s definitely gone viral, people were sharing it and I’m getting interviews, it’s going a bit crazy,” she said.

“I don’t know if it’s just because of the angle or what, but it made the whale look ten times bigger than the boat.”

Breaching multiple times
Jools Farrell, vice-president of the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia, said the best thing to do if a whale breached near a vessel was to stay put.

“Whales breach when they want to breach and they don’t really know that there’s a vessel very close to them or near them,” she said.

She said sometimes whales, especially younger ones, could breach multiple times.

“I’ve seen an adult whale breach three to four times within minutes,” she said.

“You just don’t know. It’s just part of whale behaviour and the whale season.”

Ms Farrell said she had also seen footage of whales that had breached and landed on boats, but hadn’t heard of any fatalities from such incidents.