The first time you see a breaching humpback whale is something you are unlike to ever forget. In my case, we were sailing towards a large glacier from Seward, Alaska when we found ourselves right in the middle of a group of humpback whales going for an early morning snack of fresh fish.
Next, we saw a mom and her young one taking several jumps out of the water. I was still carrying my D4S/500mm combo and all of a sudden these humpbacks decided to jump right next to our boat… what are the chances! So I grabbed my (then) D610/70-200mm combo and ran from one side of the boat to the other to get some shots of these humpbacks jumping out all over the place. Something I have not seen again anytime, anywhere afterwards; the captain actually said the same: something he had never seen before.
This little one was making 180 degree turns after jumping out of the water: (s)he was doing on left turn (left for the whale ;) ) using the tail and fins for balance and rotation, and ultimately landing on its belly. Still, scientists do not fully understand why whales breach. And the only reason I can think of after witnessing these pirouettes, is that they simply enjoy it! What an experience…
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