Curious Aussie Meets Super-friendly Humpback Whales up Close in Viral Video
New friends come in all shapes and sizes. For Skipper the Australian shepherd, that includes mammals that weigh some 40 tons and measure more than 50 feet long.
Yes, the 1-year-old pup recently met some friendly humpback whales who visited his boat Oct. 31. Video of Skipper's remarkably calm interest in the whales has since gone viral, with the original video earning more than 237,000 views on Facebook. We don't even hear him bark, and I know I wouldn't be that tranquil if I was approached by a krill vacuum the size of a school bus.
"He seemed to really enjoy watching them. … It's funny that he didn't bark," says Nancy Black, Skipper's owner and a longtime marine biologist who runs Monterey Bay Whale Watch in California.
Black—Skipper next to her in the wheelhouse—was captaining the boat that day and taking her customers back to shore when they spotted the group of whales. She put the boat in neutral so everyone could get a look.
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The whales "quickly made a beeline" toward the vessel, Black tells Daily Paws. Not only friendly, they were quite playful as well. They circled the boat, exhaled, and even spyhopped—sticking their heads vertically out of the water to get a good look at the boat.
With all this activity, they were getting what Black calls "whale breath" on everyone, so Skipper could hear and smell what was going on from the wheelhouse. Someone took him out to get a look.
Black says that was the first time he'd seen whales that close. He was "mesmerized." The video shows him being sure to get the best look he could at the whales, even propping his front feet up on the boat's railing.
At a couple points, a whale looks to be just a mere few feet from the curious pup, who, again, is remarkably calm about the massive animal in the bay in front of him.
The whales stuck around for two hours, way longer than the usual 15–20 minutes friendly whales spend hanging out near boats. But if you're ever on a whale-watching cruise, don't assume you or your dog will enjoy such a close encounter.
"Can't promise that," Black says. "Just have to be lucky."