Monday 19 August 2019

'I've never seen anything like it' – father and son (14) capture amazing up-close encounter with humpback whale off Kerry coast

Tomás Deane pictured at home on his RIB in West Kerry (Photo: Domnick Walsh) Inset: The duo captured the amazing encounter on their phone
Tomás Deane pictured at home on his RIB in West Kerry (Photo: Domnick Walsh) Inset: The duo captured the amazing encounter on their phone

Gabija Gataveckaite

A Kerry father and son had an incredible, close-up experience when they came face-to-face with a humpback whale off the south-west coast.

Terry and Tomás Deane, from Camp, have been going whale and dolphin watching on their boat for the last four years.

But they've never had an experience close to this one, and they were lucky to capture the footage.

The duo were delighted when three humpback whales circled their boat on a regular trip last month, with one rising above the water in a face-to-face encounter.

"I had never seen anything like it," Tomás (14) told Independent.ie.

"I was very surprised."

Proud dad Terry said they were "shocked".

"There were three surrounding the boat and we just didn’t know where to look.

Tomás Deane pictured at home on his RIB in West Kerry (Photo: Domnick Walsh)
Tomás Deane pictured at home on his RIB in West Kerry (Photo: Domnick Walsh)

"They’ve never been so close to the boat," he said.

Terry and Tomás decided to check out the spot, 15 miles northwest of Brandon on June 21 as they has seen dolphins and mink whales there before.

They had previously fed a single humpback whale and took little notice at first as humpback whales are not unusual in the area.

However, the whale then vanished underwater and returned some time later, with two fellow whales by its side, surrounding the boat.

Tomás Deane pictured at home with his mum Noirin on his RIB in West Kerry (Photo: Domnick Walsh)
Tomás Deane pictured at home with his mum Noirin on his RIB in West Kerry (Photo: Domnick Walsh)

In the video, Tomás can be seen mere inches away from one of the majestic creatures.

"It was absolutely fantastic for him," said Terry.

"We go out all the time and it’s lovely if you get the right weather and there’s no wind and calm as then you get to see dolphins and other marine life.

"We’ve seen humpback whales a good few times but never like this," he added.

Tomás added; "I love seeing the whales and dolphins."

The duo have been heading out to the sea for four years together on their whale-watching trips.

"It’s our activity that we do together, our getaway," explained Terry.

"It all depends on the weather, normally we go out until November and then don’t go again until April.

"We mostly head out during the summer, whenever the weather is good," Tomás added.

"It’s important that there’s no wind," he said.

The pair were lucky to capture the underwater video on a GoPro camera and the video of the whale above the water on a phone.

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