While on a whale-watching trip, a photographer had a remarkable surprise as he managed to capture breathtaking photos of a massive humpback whale leaping out of the water just beside an unsuspecting fisherman in his boat.
Back in 2019, photographer Douglas Croft found himself in California’s Monterey Bay on April 27th when this memorable moment took place. Recounting the experience, Croft shared, “It was really thrilling! The salmon season happened to align with the time when humpback whales were returning to Monterey Bay for summer feeding. As a result, there were numerous boats out on the bay, engaged in fishing activities.”
Humpback whales are known to perform a series of breaches, so when Croft noticed the whale engaging in jumps, he ensured he was prepared to capture the moment.
“The whale had already breached a few times prior to this moment, and often they continue to do so,” explained the photographer, who was 60 years old at the time.
Unlike most whale watchers who capture photos from the deck in the open air, Croft was able to capture this unique perspective by getting lower and showcasing the impressive size of the whale next to the fishing boat.
“I went below deck and positioned myself near a porthole close to the water line,” explained Croft. “That’s how I was able to capture this incredible perspective of looking up at the whale, which gives a truly amazing view.”
“The fact that the breach happened right behind the fishing boat really emphasizes the size of the whale. Despite the boat being closer, the whale appears massive! If I had been the fisherman, I would probably need to change my underwear,” Croft humorously commented, highlighting the awe-inspiring presence of the whale in such close proximity to the boat.
Initially, Croft felt disappointed that the fishing boat had obstructed his shot. However, upon reviewing the results, he realized that the presence of the boat actually added to the uniqueness and impact of the once-in-a-lifetime photo.
“When this breach occurred, I was initially annoyed by the presence of the fishing boat obstructing the view. However, when I looked at the image on the back of my camera, I realized that it had actually turned out to be a fortunate and serendipitous occurrence,” Croft remarked, acknowledging the unexpected and fortunate outcome of the shot.
Another whale watcher named Kate Cummings managed to capture a fantastic video of the same breach from a higher vantage point:
“The whale had already breached several times, but at a considerable distance from the fisherman,” shared Cummings. “However, sometimes when whales breach multiple times, they are actually heading in a specific direction underwater, building up momentum for the next breach.”
“I had a hunch that the next breach would occur near the fisherman since the whale seemed to be heading in that direction, and as expected, it happened! Although I didn’t anticipate the whale and the boat lining up so perfectly,” Cummings explained, expressing her surprise at the remarkable alignment of the whale and the boat in her video.