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A group of students went out for a dive in Otago Harbour yesterday and came back with a whale of a tale.
Dive Otago open water scuba instructor Gina Watt was briefing her six students before they entered the water near Wellers Rock about noon when a southern right whale popped up about 200m away.
''It just so happened I was pointing at the location we were going to descend from and just above my finger was the end of his whale tail going under the water, which was pretty awesome,'' Ms Watt said.
The whale, which she thought was about 25m long, seemed to be interested in the boat and hung around for close to 30 minutes, at one point swimming under the vessel.
Despite its size, the whale moved with some grace and she was never scared it would tip the boat over.
The reaction of the students was one of awe.
''Everyone was whooping and really excited.''
She and the students were still buzzing later in the afternoon and she believed the experience was the perfect introduction to diving.
''They are quite new into their course so I think it's really awesome for them to be able see the things you can witness when you work in the ocean.''