When people go whale watching it can often be a fruitless adventure, with hours spent watching the horizons while drifting out at sea. And most of the time you will have nothing to show for it at the end of the day. This was not the case when this film crew set off on a trip recently, where they got much more than they had bargained for.
They thankfully released all their footage for the world to see and it is absolutely awesome. Not only did they film a whale swimming near their vessel, they recorded the whale performing a full breach (this is where a whales jumps fully clear of the water) just feet away from them.
The film crew also included four scuba divers was close to the shore of Mbotyi Pondoland, Eastern Cape province, South Africa, in their small inflatable vessel. Thankfully the seas remained very calm that day and they were blessed to be able to record a full breach in the Indian Ocean. They were hoping to seize outstanding and interesting marine behaviour in action during very well-known South African Sardine Run in which pilchard fish pile up in a mass migration alongside the east coast of Africa. Dolphins, birds and sharks will swoop into the long line of sardines to feast on them.
Unknown to them a female humpback whale was in the vicinity with her calf and decided to make her presence known. Female Humpbacks weigh up to 40 tonnes, and as she slaps her fins on the water and then leaps clear of the water her sheer mass is clear to be seen.
As she splashes back into the the ocean, she sends water flying in every direction. Apparently the reason humpback whale’s breach is in order to gain attention!
One marine biologist explained, “If there’s a lot of noise, it might be easy to drown out,” he said. Who knew whales preferred the spotlight? “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.”
The noises generated by the splashes they create makes other marine life recognize they are in they area. Capturing a fully grown humpback performing a breach is quite a rare event, luckily this cameraman was in the right place at the right time. So rare in fact that it has never before been caught on film.
Now we can see this once in a lifetime experience thanks to the lucky camera man who caught this footage. I do not doubt we will see this footage one day on Planet Earth with Sir David Attenborough narrating the scenes. Take a look for yourself in the video below: