A man from South Africa has captured the incredible moment when a whale mum and her calf swam near him while he was kayaking in the open sea.
Aljazeera News video editor Alexander Kohler, 30 – from Doha, Qatar – had reportedly celebrated his birthday a day before he witnessed the amazing sight on 26th September.
The South African native from Johannesburg told of his astonishment when he found himself close to the humpback whale mum and her calf.
Alexander, who has been exploring the sea since he was a young boy, said in an exclusive interview with Newsflash: “I guess it was my present from Mother Nature.
“I paddled out to sea with my kayak and I could hear whales blowing as I paddled out further I realised it was a mother humpback whale and her calf.”
The South African School of Motion Picture and Live Performance (AFDA) in Cape Town graduate continued: It felt amazing to be so close to these creatures of course I did not want to get too close because I did not want to startle the mother whale.
“Now that my YouTube channel has qualified to become a partner I earn some income on my home made videos.
“I enjoy editing my travel videos of exploring different parts of the world and especially beach holidays like my trip to Zanzibar.”
He explained: “Whales do not attack people but I did not want to put it under threat.
” It was amazing just to see the whales so close and also I was able to experience this for free without paying a whale tour.”
The 30-year-old explained that female humpback whales come to the warm waters of the South African coast to give birth as the calves usually do not have much body fat.
He added: “When the calves develop enough body fat to keep them warm they will venture down to Antarctica.”
Alexander explained that he was able to practice his passion for water sports as his family owned a holiday home in the town of Zinkwazi Beach in the KwaZulu-Natal province on the North Coast of South Africa.
He said: “Zinkwazi allowed me the opportunity to learn how to surf, swim in the sea and waterski.
“Zinkwazi Beach boasts a variety of small rock tidal pools and they very accessible during low tide so when I was young I could take my snorkel and explore the rock pools.
“As I got older I swam out to sea to deeper reefs where I explored and I swam with dolphins.
“Now it’s second nature for me to swim far out to sea and do some exploring.”
The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a species of baleen whale, which is the only species in the genus Megaptera.
As a target for the whaling industry, the species came to the brink of extinction as its population fell to around 5,000 individuals by the 1960s.
But while population numbers have partially recovered to approximately 135,000 animals worldwide, entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with ships, and noise pollution continue to affect the species.