Surfers and sunbathers had their fingers crossed for a bus-sized whale as it moved sluggishly up the Perth coast yesterday.
From Fremantle to Cottesloe, the whale drifted within metres of the shore, leaving some onlookers fearing the worst.
But there was no reason to worry, said State Government whale expert Doug Coughran. "During early winter and spring, southern right whale cows come in close to shore and will often lie around like logs at the surface," he said.
Before the whale spent the afternoon captivating crowds at Cottesloe, marine science student Sanjai Santos spotted it near Leighton beach just after sunrise.
Looking to catch some waves, the 20-year-old ended up catching stunning images of what he thought was a sick whale."It was just kind of floundering around," he said. "The surfers close to shore were splashing water on it, trying to get it to move away."