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 “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