Wednesday 21 August 2019

Whale of a time: 'They've never been so close' - father and son circled by humpbacks

Gentle giant: Tomás Deane has an unforgettable close encounter with a humpback whale
Gentle giant: Tomás Deane has an unforgettable close encounter with a humpback whale
‘Shocked’: Tomás Deane (14) at home with his mother Noirin on his RIB. Photo: Domnick Walsh

Gabija Gataveckaite

A father and son had an incredible experience when they came face-to-face with three humpback whales off the south-west coast.

Terry and Tomás Deane, from Camp, Co Kerry, have been going whale and dolphin watching on their boat for the past 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 the Irish Independent. "I was very surprised."

His proud dad said they were "shocked".

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

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

Mr Deane and Tomás decided to check out the spot, 24km north-west of Brandon, on June 21 as they had seen dolphins and minke whales there before. They had previously encountered a single humpback whale and took little notice at first as the mammals 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.

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

"It was absolutely fantastic for him," said Mr Deane.

"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 said.

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

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

"It's our activity that we do together, our getaway," said Mr Deane.

"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."

Irish Independent

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