Tuesday, 9 July 2013

‘I’ve never seen a whale that close’

A Sydney surfer survives a thumping from a 15 meter whale, knocking him unconscious in a brutal tail slap at Bondi Beach. 08/07/13

Left unconscious: Surfer Bishan Rajapaske recovers in St Vincents Hospital.

THE MOMENT OF IMPACT:  the 10-metre whale (right) moves its mighty tail with the surfers around it at Bondi Beach on Sunday.

Bondi beach whale photos.
Whale slaps man. It's a story that could be set only at Bondi Beach and it happened under a clear cobalt Sunday morning sky before hundreds of strollers, joggers, skateboarders, posers and coffee drinkers.
Out on the water, Bishan Rajapakse, a 38-year-old Bondi doctor, had been peering into the eye of an amicable whale, thought to be a southern right, when he was given the slapdown to end all slapdowns.
Dr Rajapakse was knocked out but, supported by other surfers, lifeguards came out and he was taken to St Vincent's Hospital where he spent the rest of the day with a sore head.

When the whale first pulled up to play among 15 or so surfers, the entire beach watched fascinated as the animal gambolled just 40 metres offshore.
But when the mammal slapped the Sri Lankan-born New Zealander medico, they became instant celebrities on social media with some spectators turning into their own Herman Melvilles and putting a 21st century spin on Moby Dick's opening line ''Call me Email''.
The incident reopened debate about how surfers and swimmers around Sydney routinely disregard guidance to keep a safe distance from whales when they appear off beaches during annual migrations.

Video here


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