Photographer Captures Second 'Extremely Rare' Blue Whale Sighting In Weeks
Just a few weeks ago, Sean Keenan captured the first verified blue whale sighting off the coast of Australia. Now, he's gone and spotted another. You can watch his amazing drone footage here:
The 31-year-old photographer, from Belfast, was left speechless in August when the largest animal on the planet caught him by surprise in in Maroubra, Sydney, while he was watching humpback whales.
New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) said it was the first verified sighting in the state, but at the weekend, lightning struck twice for Sean.
Recounting how he defied the odds for the second time in a matter of weeks, Sean - who moved Down Under six years ago - told LADbible: "I'm still coming to terms with the first sighting so to try and explain the second sighting in a month is hard to describe, I'm full of joy and in complete shock.
"To see another blue whale in a matter of weeks is just crazy, I was suppose to be home in Ireland getting married now, so it's a good thing to come from Covid.
"The second sighting wasn't too far from where I saw the first one four weeks ago, actually only 600 metres from the cliff I was sitting on, near Maroubra beach in Sydney.
"This whale seemed a bit smaller compared to the last with different markings and spent a lot more time near the surface, which was incredible to watch."
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Photographer 'Speechless' Following First Ever Verified Blue Whale Sighting Off Australian Coast
You might think that blue whales would be one of the easiest marine animals to spot, being so massive and all. But despite this massiveness, the creatures are seldom sighted - especially off the east coast of Australia.
Speaking to 9News after Sean's first sighting, NPWS project officer Andrew Marshall explained: "The blue whale is the largest animal on the planet yet despite its size it could have easily slipped by Sydney's coast unnoticed.
"Blue whales are largely 'invisible' even to the most avid whale watchers and researchers as the creature is very rarely seen around the world.
"They are not often seen because they tend to live very far out to sea, their populations are widely dispersed and we have very limited data on its migration and critical habitat.
"We have unofficial records of blue whales near Sydney from observers at Cape Solander in 2002 and 2013 but this recent sighting is the first verified record of this species off our coast."
He continued: "Opportunistic sightings like this one are so incredibly valuable.
"They improve our understanding of where these species live and suggest if there are measures we need to consider to try to protect them."
Sean now has his sights set on photographing a killer whale - though no doubt he'd be happy to complete his blue whale hattrick.
You can follow him on Instagram here.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/seansperception