Animals

Tourists Get Surprised By A Giant Humpback Whale

September 2nd, 2018

Tourists on a Go Whale Watching cruise at Sydney’s Bondi beach definitely got their money’s worth during an excursion on the Australian waters.

It’s not every day that you get to witness a majestic 20-to humpback whale do a breach just yards away from your tour boat.

And wildlife photographer John Goodridge was at the right place at the right time to capture the event on camera.

swiggle1 dot pattern2 humpback
John Goodridge via The Science News Reporter Source: John Goodridge via The Science News Reporter

Goodridge, a visitor from the United Kingdom, commented what he witnessed that day was “one of the most spectacular breaches he had ever seen” although he was also a little frightened as the giant whale almost seemed to swamp the boat they were on.

To give you a better idea of how close it was, here’s the event from another angle.

swiggle1 dot pattern2 humpback whale
Unilad via The Science News Reporter Source: Unilad via The Science News Reporter

Just imagine how simultaneously scary and exciting seeing this is in person!

A good day for whale watching

Goodridge estimates that around 30 whale breaches where recorded that trip.

swiggle1 dot pattern2 breach
Unilad via The Science News Reporter Source: Unilad via The Science News Reporter

“The tourists picked a great day for it, with some thirty whale breaches recorded in just a little over an hour. The whales were really playful. Sometimes you can sit out there and not even see one, so we were really lucky.” he said in an interview.

Another very close encounter

Meanwhile, in Alaska, a pair of kayakers were also treated to a close encounter with a breaching humpback whale.

Cara Wallschlaeger and guide Andrew Smith were kayaking off the coast of Seward, Alaska when they saw some whales in the distance.

They eventually swam closer to the where the pair were giving them the opportunity to capture video.

“Thankfully, I had my phone ready as can be seen in the video as he maneuvered sideways through the water right in front of me in my kayak. My heart was definitely pounding!” – —

-Wallschlaeger

Why whales breach

If it’s the first time you’re hearing the term ‘breaching’ in relation to whales, here are some theories on why they do it.

One prevalent theory is that they do it to help remove barnacles and parasites from their skin.

However, scientists from the University of Queensland, who have been monitoring whale activities, have another explanation.

After observing groups of whales, they concluded that breaching, leaping, and slamming themselves on the water is a way of communicating with other whales through the sound waves they make when hitting the water.

swiggle1 dot pattern2 fin
Unilad via The Science News Reporter Source: Unilad via The Science News Reporter

American biologist Chris Parsons affirms this conclusion in an interview with Hakai Magazine by stating that it makes sense:

“Even though these whales can produce calls that travel great distances, if there’s a lot of noise, it might be easy to drown out. Leaping up in the air and splashing down is equivalent to the really keen kid in a classroom jumping up and down waving his arms.”

An abundance of whales

Sightings of whale breaching aren’t uncommon along the Australian coastlines.

It is estimated that around 33,000 whales migrate near the coastlines of New South Wales in Australia during the months of May until November.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

swiggle1 dot pattern2 whale
Unilad via The Science News Reporter Source: Unilad via The Science News Reporter

During these months, local businesses and tourists take advantage of the migration by offering whale-watching cruises.

Source: The Science News Reporter

Advertisement