A video featuring drone footage of a massive pod of humpback whales, shot off the coast of Cape Town, was only caught due to a series of fortunate events, according to the videographer.
Kieran Donnelly says he was walking in Sea Point, where he'd recently moved, when he noticed a commotion out to sea. "I thought it was a bunch of jet skis or a huge number of people who'd paid to have some recreational fun out there," he told HuffPost SA.
He walked down to the Sea Point promenade to get a better look and says it quickly became clear that there was some kind of marine activity not far off the coast.
Donnelly is an electro-mechanical engineer who designed and built a photography drone for his final year thesis and now runs a video production house called Sky Reel, which specialises in property footage. He dashed home to fetch his drone and quickly sent it out over the water. About 500m in, it came across the massive pod of whales.
"There were a couple of people around who said they'd love to see the footage. I gave them my details as well and now as you've seen, it's gone viral," he says.
Donnelly says it's the most viewed video on his YouTube channel to date.
"It's very exciting," he says. "A whale biologist called me and said it's certainly humpbacks, on a migration south to the Antarctic."
Asked why he thinks the video went viral, Donnelly says it's probably down to a combination of factors.
"It's rare footage, in that you don't often see that many massive animals together. It would typically only happen a lot further out to sea, as I understand," he says.
The video also shows that while drones are now widely sold and more accessible, good drone footage is still fascinating to viewers. "The novelty of good drone footage has not worn off yet," he says.
Watch the video below.