"Since the boat is closer, it should look bigger, but the whale is huge! If I’d been the fisherman, I’d probably need some new underwear," the photographer recounted after capturing these stunning photographs
Imagine you are in the middle of the ocean and you manage to spot a humpback whale. Well, as scary as it sounds, many usually fancy looking at the majestic sea mammal. That was also the case for 60-year-old photographer Douglas Croft who had quite an enthralling and yet terrifying encounter with a humpback whale in the Pacific Ocean near Monterey Bay, California. As reported by The Sun.
In a moment that was beautifully captured on camera, a humpback whale can be seen narrowly missing an unsuspecting fisherman's boat and as expected, the photo has now gone viral. "It was quite exciting! Salmon season coincides with the time when humpbacks are returning to Monterey Bay to feed for the summer and there were hundreds of boats on the bay fishing," Douglas Croft told The Sun during an interview.
"I went below deck to shoot from a porthole close to the water line. That’s what gives this amazing perspective of looking up at the whale. That the breach was directly behind the fishing boat really shows the size. Since the boat is closer, it should look bigger, but the whale is huge! If I’d been the fisherman, I’d probably need some new underwear," Croft recounted but he was unable to give the estimate of its size and just described it as "huge".
Croft was accompanied by whale watcher Kate Cummings when the incident took place. Kate, who was on another boat was fortunate enough to capture the exact moment on camera. She said: "It was fun capturing this video. The whale had already breached multiple times much further away from the fisherman. But sometimes when whales breach multiple times, they're also heading a specific direction when they're underwater building momentum for the next breach."
She added: "I figured the next breach would be around the fisherman because the whale was heading that way and sure enough! Though I didn't expect the whale and the boat to line up so perfectly."
Meanwhile, Croft had also taken the pictures and revealed that he had been noticing the whale breach a "couple of times before". And based on the mammal's behavior, he had expected the humpback whale to continue doing so. So it was not exactly a lucky shot but indeed years of understanding whale patterns.
Witness the breaching, spy-hopping, back-flipping, tail-slapping and lob-tailing antics of the humpback whale, seen from either land or sea between May and September #islassecas— Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge (@IslasSecas) May 14, 2019
📸: @Panacetacea pic.twitter.com/6zJTlG5onO
"But sometimes when whales breach multiple times, they're also heading a specific direction when they're underwater building momentum for the next breach," Cummings told the publication. "I figured the next breach would be around the fisherman because the whale was heading that way and sure enough! Though I didn't expect the whale and the boat to line up so perfectly."
Despite the rising numbers in the humpback whale population in recent years, the World Wildlife Fund still considers the mammal as endangered. There are only an estimated 60,000 humpback whales swimming in the oceans. These whales are known to travel distances as much as 5,000 miles for breeding purposes. They are also known for their singing ability and their distinctive hump.
Check out the video here: