WATCH: Inquisitive whale metres from Whitsunday swimmer
A WHITSUNDAYS photographer and videographer has had a 'euphoric' encounter with a humpback whale off the coast of Hayman Island, capturing incredible close-up footage of the whale on its annual migration.
Digital marketing co-ordinator/videographer for Prosail Whitsunday Sailing Benny Crisp was lucky enough to be in the water when the whale came toward him for a "closer look".
The Whitsundays are reknowned for whale watching experiences during the winter months when humpbacks come north from Antarctica, with Mr Crisp saying he was excited to be able to say "the whales are here".
"We were out near Blue Pearl Bay filming Reef Ecologic's coral planting," he said.
"We finished up filming and saw a bit of a commotion and then this huge whale was just there.
"He came over and was looking right at me, it felt like he was looking into my soul. He rolled over in front of us, it was a moment of sheer euphoria."
Mr Crisp said people should never approach whales and they could do little but film the incredible moment the whale swam toward them.
"You know you should never approach them, but in this situation there was nothing we could do, we were in the water already and he came up to us. Getting that close to nature was just unreal," he said.
"Any encounter I've had they've been really placid, so I didn't feel scared in any way, but what was really amazing about this was he was really inquisitive.
"I've been close to whales before but not like this, he came right up to us and was just watching us I think wondering what we were. I think he was a juvenile and he was just interested in us.
"If you watch the video to the end, my little brother Matt comes up and asks 'what whale?', he somehow missed the whole thing."
Mr Crisp has lived in the Whitsundays for three years, saying although he works on boats and films the ocean daily, he has never had an encounter like this before.
"I have been waiting three years in the Whitsundays, and to have an experience like this....the whole thing was just amazing," he said.
"I've had incredible experiences on board the Prosail boats, I think the whales kind of like the bigger boats, I think they wonder what they are."
After Cyclone Debbie and seeing the devastation first hand, Mr Crisp said he'd been lucky to also witness the regrowth and watch the reef steadily repair over the past three years.
"The guys from Reef Ecologic, they've been providing the structures, and it's been amazing to watch just how many fish there are and watch the growth of coral," he said.
"The Restoration Science going on in our backyard in the Whitsundays is amazing. I do believe there's a lot to do, but it's a step in the right direction.
"I think it's really important to showcase what the Whitsundays have. It's really quite untouched up here."