Two incredible photographs the first being a humpback whale lunging through a ball of herring directly toward the boat. A perfect photo showing the herring in the spray, the baleen along the lower jaw and the growth on the pectoral fins. The second shows a female orca coming out of the water on its back with a calf on its belly. A unique photo that I have never seen duplicated or heard of from another guide in the area. Comparing the two photos one would say the humpback is much clearer, more close-up and would win as a photo until you were told that the orca photo was taken twenty of more years ago on 35mm film. So no second chance or multiple digital shots just a once in a lifetime photo.
Wikipedia offers a good explanation of spyhopping: “When spyhopping, the whale rises and holds position partially out of the water, often exposing its entire rostrum and head, and is visually akin to a human treading water. Spyhopping is controlled and slow, and can last for minutes at a time if the whale is sufficiently inquisitive about whatever (or whomever) it is viewing.
Generally, the whale does not appear to swim to maintain its “elevated” position while spyhopping, instead relying on exceptional buoyancy control and positioning with pectoral fins. Typically the whale’s eyes will be slightly above or below the surface of the water, enabling it to see whatever is nearby on the surface.
Spyhopping often occurs during a “mugging” situation, where the focus of a whale’s attention is on a boat rather than on other nearby whales. Spyhopping among orcas may be to view prey species. For this a spyhop may be more useful than a breach, because the view is held steady for a longer period of time.”
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