The dazzling footage was captured by Jaimen Hudson, who told local news outlet ABC Esperance that he rushed to the shore with his drone and camera equipment as soon as he caught wind of the majestic whales' presence.
His sense of urgency definitely paid off.
Plainly visible through the crystal clear water, the gentle giants approached Hudson's acquaintance Dave Price, who had paddled out to meet them. In an entrancing juxtaposition of man and nature, both parties respectfully eyed each other for several minutes until the whales depart the serene scene, the still-airborne drone in tow.
"There was one time when the whales lifted their heads up looked up over Pricey's board, they were so inquisitive and wanted to know what he was. I don't think it was dangerous, the whales moved to where he was and the whole time they were very slow moving and peaceful," Jaimen told ABC.
The southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) is a social creature known to regularly interact with humans. Found throughout the southern hemisphere, the whale can grow to be approximately 50 feet long. Southern right whale populations plummeted from approximately 60,000 to a low of 7,000 in 1997; the species has been slowly recovering in recent years. The animal is protected under Appendix I of the CITES treaty and the Endangered Species Act.
Article originally appeared on Discovery's blog Discovrd.