Southern right whales greet paddleboarder in close encounter caught on video


Dave Price finds himself face to face with two large southern right whales.

A stand-up paddleboarder experienced a magical outing recently off Esperance in Western Australia, when he was approached by two southern right whales that seemed to be mildly curious about his presence.

The accompanying footage, captured via quad-copter by Jaimen Hudson, shows Dave Price paddling alongside the endangered cetaceans, which were said to have approached the paddler after he ventured beyond the breakers.

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"Dave Price, who lives close by, was just making his way over to the whales on his stand-up board and they were really inquisitive and came over to meet him," Hudson told ABC Esperance. "There was one time when the whales lifted their heads up [and] looked up over Pricey's board. They were so inquisitive and wanted to know what he was."

Southern right whales, which can measure about 55 feet and weigh up to 60 tons, were once hunted to the brink of extinction.

The present population off Australia numbers about 2,500. The global population is about 12,000.

Paddleboarders and kayakers are often criticized for closely approaching large whales, because they're powerful creatures and potentially dangerous.

Said Hudson: "I don't think it was dangerous. The whales moved to where he was and the whole time they were slow moving and peaceful."

The Jack Johnson tune in the video probably makes the encounter seem more peaceful than it really was.

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