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One paddle boarder in Australia just had the whale sighting of a lifetime.

And no, we’re not talking about the new Airbus Beluga XL.

A 28-year-old German backpacker named Alex was paddle boarding off the coast of Australia when suddenly he bumped into a pod of humpback whales (his board literally bumps one of them). The three whales were likely in the middle of migration — the window of time between June and August when humpback whales travel up Australia’s north coast to mate and give birth.

Luckily, he was wearing a GoPro camera and got the entire rare encounter on video. The pod of whales swam right around him for several minutes, Travel + Leisure says, and then Alex paddled back to the beach.

Alex was staying at Surfaris Surf Camp in Crescent Head, Australia, at the time of the encounter. Humpback whales migrate north in the summer months in Australia, and they will head back south again to feed in September. Anytime from June to September is a good time to spot them Down Under.

However, for whale watchers in other parts of the world, Hawaii for example, the opposite stretch of months is ideal. Humpback whales migrate down south from Alaska to Hawaii to give birth in the winter months, so tourists are likely to see whales anywhere between November to May, but January to March is the peak season for whale watching in Hawaii. Likewise, the best times to spot Orca whales off the coast of Seattle is the during the summer months from May to October.

But, even if you book the perfect time and place to spot a whale, it will be hard to beat the incredible close encounter Alex had in Australia.

Featured image by M Swiet Productions / Getty Images.

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