Whale frolics with surfers

  • Apr. 27, 2007 5:00 a.m.

When surfers see a big black fin-like thing swirling toward them through the waves what is the first thing they might think?
Seal, maybe orcaÂ… but “Shark!” is what Chris Ashurst yelled to the rest of his friends bobbing in the waves on North Beach last Monday (April 16).
Mr. Ashurst said he’s been in the water with a lot of different sea creatures, but this one, which was swiftly moving toward the space between the surfers and the shore, was one he’d never encountered before.
The shark call got everyone’s attention and into shore, but as the five surfers waited in the shallows two tell-tale plumes blew from the animal.
That’s when Mr. Ashurst realized it was a humpback whale and what they were seeing was a flipper, not a fin.
The whale was swimming on its side in less than 10 feet of water, likely scooping up its feed in the shallows, said Mr. Ashurst.
Mr. Ashurst paddled out again and watched as the whale moved east and away. He even took a few pictures, but had to send them south to get developed. He doesn’t know how they will turn out.
As for the whale, he said others saw it around the beach for a few more days.