There Be Whale Here!

From “the”, wonderful photos of a humpback whale. Exciting! Click for full size.

1) What one sees most of the time: just a large, humped back after it surfaces, blows, inhales, and does a shallow dive.


2) Showing its flukes – normally (always?) seen just before a deep dive (when it will feed). This is one of the species’ signatures, almost no other large species shows the tail consistently before sounding.


3) …and, every once in a while, a tour will be very, very lucky, and see the whale perform a series of saltos like this; it did this about 7-8 times in a row, this was the only one I caught clearly (despite the evidently calm seas, it wasn’t entirely flat – the boat was doing irregular “pitches” of about 50 cm in amplitude).  Just breathtaking.


Photos taken off St. Anthony, NL, Canada, July 28 2016.

© “the”, all rights reserved.


  1. blf says

    Sushi! screams the mildly deranged penguin, and heads off at high speed. Fortunately, she manages to miss the wall, going out through one of the existing penguin-shaped holes.

    I wouldn’t be too worried about the whales. They’re smart enough to have a cache of cheese ready to deflect incoming penguin.

  2. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Very cool. I have some similar shots of killer whales breaching off Victoria BC. It’s kinda cool when they spy hop and seem to be eyeballing the people on the boat to see if we’re food….

  3. quotetheunquote says

    @ Crimson Clupeiae

    Not much concern about the Humpback “eyeballing the people… to see if we’re food” happily; they don’t eat anything bigger than a herring. Actually, I doubt if it looked our way at all, although I don’t doubt that it was perfectly aware of our presence, just by ear (I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it could track the boat from the moment it left the harbour: “Oh, bother, here come those bloody tourist again!” I imagine it thinking, as it perceives the distant rumble of twin diesel engines).

    As for all the displaying, the motivation for that is still a bit of a mystery. The guide said it may be a way of dislodging barnacles from the skin, or perhaps a threat display (again, sonic) aimed at other whales. My own impression was that it was just a lot of exuberant showing off.


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