The Acrobatic Humpbacks of Baja (Mexico)

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A couple of years ago, I went on a 10-day Baja (Mexico) boat trip that was simply outstanding. One of the highlights was seeing the incredibly acrobatic humpback whales of the southern Baja region. When we reached this area (near Cabo San Lucas), we ran upon a pod of ~12 Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) that began breaching, tail lobbing, and fin slapping, non-stop, for well over 30 minutes. With so many of them, there was barely a second that there wasn’t at least one whale out of the water! I have seen breaching Humpbacks and Orcas before, but nothing like the display we witnessed that day in Baja!

The images were extremely difficult to get of these magnificent creatures. When we found them, the water was very rough and it was a major job just to stand still, let alone trying to “pan” with the movements of both the boat and the whales! And when we left the whales, the boat’s captain explained to us that the water was getting to be “unsafe” for our 100-foot boat. Nevertheless, this has got to be one of the grandest experiences I have ever witnessed with marine animals … hope you also enjoy their performance!

 

This guy was soooo close to being 100% out of the water!

 

Just as this whale hits the water, a dolphin emerges (and you can see the fin from a second dolphin, behind this one)

 

As this whale emerges from the water, you can see the splash of another one, on the lefthand side of the image

 

This whale is twisting as he breaches. Note the head twisting in a clockwise direction.

 

This Humpback lifts his tail high out of the water and prepares to slap it against the water surface, an activity called “tail lobbing”

 


And this whale is about to land on another Humpback that has just breached!

 

And “Synchronized Breaching” was observed (almost missed this one as they are nearly in the water)

This Humpback breaches with a “salute” to us

Another total breach out of the water

And one final, good-bye breach!


Hope you enjoyed the Baja Humpbacks. I enjoyed them so much that I have just scheduled a return trip to Baja in 2013!

Posted by Jim Braswell of Show-Me Nature Photography

Jim Braswell

Jim Braswell

Jim is a professional nature photographer, specializing in capturing wildlife behaviors and prairie wildflowers. Much of his local photography is shot from a kayak or on local, native prairies. He is a member of NANPA, the Great Plains Nature Photographers, the Missouri Prairie Foundation and is a Master Gardener. Jim is a photography and Photoshop teacher in his local high school's career center. Most recently, Jim has begun showcasing his work at Art Festivals around the Midwest. You can see more of Jims work at www.showmenaturephotography.com

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Jim Braswell

Jim Braswell

Jim is a professional nature photographer, specializing in capturing wildlife behaviors and prairie wildflowers. Much of his local photography is shot from a kayak or on local, native prairies. He is a member of NANPA, the Great Plains Nature Photographers, the Missouri Prairie Foundation and is a Master Gardener. Jim is a photography and Photoshop teacher in his local high school's career center. Most recently, Jim has begun showcasing his work at Art Festivals around the Midwest. You can see more of Jims work at www.showmenaturephotography.com

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Carol Duke
Carol Duke

Fabulous photographs Jim!! What an incredible experience! 

Margaret Adamson

Wonderful shots and fantasic experience.  Did you get any video of the action at all?  That would have been exciting.  Do do so well getting those shots considering the tate of the waters.

Nic Slocum

Lovely images Jim

Glenn Bartley

Jim, outstanding images – these are the best action shots of whales that I’ve ever seen. Did you set up the trip yourself or go with an organized tour?