A boat-load of tourists aboard a whale-watching cruise in California got a more intimate experience than expected when a whale breached just metres away from their vessel.
Passengers aboard a Sanctuary Cruises boat tour in Monterey Bay watched awestruck as a large humpback whale hurled itself out of the water and crashed back down so close to them, it caused the boat to pitch.
Jodi Frediani, who was on a nearby boat and captured the moment, says the whale breached about 60 times over an hour time span. The whale also tail-lobbed, which is when a whale lifts its flukes out of the water and smacks it down to make a loud slap noise.
“It was coming toward us, pointed right at us, and then it shifted direction before it breached right between us,” Frediani told GrindTV.
Frediani pulled out her camera and began snapping photos of the breaching.
“We first saw it at 12:06 p.m. and then at 1:06 p.m., it was still breaching,” Frediani said. “I was getting tired jut trying to follow it with my camera.”
Whales usually breach while in groups as a way to assert dominance, which makes this lone humpback’s series even more exceptional. Scientists also believe that whales breach as a way to warn other whales of nearby danger, as a courting method, or to stun and scare prey.
We’ll never know what this particular humpback whale’s motives were—was it scared of or in love with the ship?—but at least we got a spectacular show out of it.