It’s not every day you see a massive humpback whale jump in front of your boat. Yet, every once in a while, nature throws us a bone – showing off the sheer beauty and incredibleness of this Planet we call home.
This viral video along with stunning photos captured on Monterey Bay in California are nothing short of amazing. The footage shows a massive humpback whale jumping beside a fisherman and his boat.
Monterey Bay is home to many species of marine mammals and is along the migratory path for Gray and Humpback whales. Many people travel to this spot for whale watching, but only a handful are lucky enough to see something like this.
The photos and video (which you’ll find below) capture the moment the whale shoots up out of the water in close proximity to a shocked fisherman.
The man was fishing from his modest-sized boat called Baja Sueno when he got the surprise of a lifetime.
“The whale is huge! If I’d been the fisherman, I’d probably need some new underwear,” joked Douglas Croft, the lucky photographer who captured the incredible moment, while speaking with the media.
The fishing boat looked so tiny in comparison to the massive whale.
Croft was able to capture the images from the porthole of a nearby boat. He shot from an upward angle, which made the whale look even larger.
“I went below deck to shoot from a porthole close to the water line. That’s what gives this amazing perspective of looking up at the whale,” Douglas explained to a news agency.
By Croft’s side was whale watcher Kate Cummings, who was able to capture video footage of the whale in action.
“It was fun capturing this video. The whale had already breached multiple times much further away from the fisherman. But sometimes when whales breach multiple times, they’re also heading a specific direction when they’re underwater building momentum for the next breach,” Kate Cummings shared.
“I figured the next breach would be around the fisherman because the whale was heading that way and sure enough! Though I didn’t expect the whale and the boat to line up so perfectly.”
The average adult humpback whale weighs between 25 to 30 metric tons, that’s 55,115 to 66,139 pounds. They measure between 39 and 52 feet (12 to 16 meters) long.
Humpback whales are well-known for breaching, which is when a whale rises and breaks through the surface of the water. That’s what makes them so much fun to watch in the wild, hence the popularity of whale watching.
Watch video footage of the moment the whale leaps from the water right in front of the fisherman’s boat
Whales breach when they pick up considerable speed and leap out of the water, exposing up to 90% of their body above the water’s surface. Following the massive jump, whales typically land on their side or back, which produces a large splash.
In addition, whales often slap their tails and fins in a repetitive fashion. Scientists believe they use these sound-producing tactics as a way to communicate messages to other whales.
Researchers at the University of Queensland in Gatton, Australia studied 94 unique groups of humpback whales who were migrating south between 2010 and 2011.
The team found that humpback whales were more likely to breach when the closest group of whales was over 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away. Humpback whales were more likely to slap their tails and fins when the nearest whales were in closer proximity.
From this information, researchers gathered that whales used breaching, which is louder, to communicate with whales farther away.
In addition, researchers noted an increase in this behavior right before new whales joined or split from a group.
Migrating whales must conserve as much energy as possible because they do not eat during migration. Therefore, the fact that they use energy to produce these sounds signals the importance of the act.
Want to see more? Check out these top 5 amazing whale spotting moments
More information: Blue Ocean Whale Watch